After days of following the Police versus the anti-corruption body, the KPK, that culminated in the public airing of tapped conversations that merely confirms a widely-held belief about our justice system being rotten to the core and that our police and our court can be bought at a price, I decided to opt for a more inspiring and less nauseating spectacle by watching a nature documentary playing in the cinemas called ‘Ocean World’.
It followed the long journey made by a female turtle (and ‘narrated’ her) across the ocean to return to her place of origin where she could in turn, lay her eggs in order to produce her young and thus begin the cycle of life once more.
In her long and adventurous swim beneath the waves amongst breathtaking coral reefs and sea kelps, she comes across many different fishes and a multitude of sea creatures and ocean mammals and gives us a brief description of what they are called, their size and weight, their feeding habit and their unique characteristics.
Here, underneath the vast ocean, these animals live a life seemingly of joy, and boundless energy while being effortlessly and perfectly in tune with their surrounding. Theirs is an existence full of grace and respect for the laws of nature: their survival instinct and needs to feed and procreate always in balance with the ecosystem.
We see how exuberant seals cavort with abandon, a mother whale lovingly nurses and caresses her newborn, dolphins protecting their young from preying sharks, schools of sardines moving en masse with bewildering speed without ever bumping into one another, giant jellyfishes and manta rays being groomed by friendly fishes that feed on their parasites and other innumerable sea creatures engaged in the business of living.
Yet sadly, most of these animals are either endangered or vulnerable species. Some, like the manatees and the different types of whales, are critically endangered. And why else, if not because of that species on this planet, the humans, who is so out of tune with nature and so out of harmony with their own kind, that aliens from outer space would no doubt view us as either the least evolved or the result of an experiment that went wrong.
We are probably the only species that create laws that not only does not take into account the health and well-being of our home planet and the other beings that share the same space, but we are most likely the only specie that wilfully deceive, subjugate and destroy our own kind not for reasons of food or procreation, but merely due to arrogance or greed, or both.
And we need only look at the recent shenanigans in this country’s judicial system should we still need further proof that we are in effect, the lowest of the low, that do not even merit being called by animal names such as the ‘gecko and the crocodile’ that symbolise the ongoing battle between our scandal-prone police force and the beleaguered anti-corruption body.
As a matter of fact, we should cease using the animal reference altogether, not because, as the Chief of Police claimed, the police are not animals, but precisely because we do those animals a disservice by associating them with so much iniquities.
Take a look at a gecko or a crocodile, and we see creatures more or less minding their own business and playing a role in keeping the balance of nature and sustaining the planet’s existence with the least amount of complaint and fuss. They eat when they’re hungry and they fight only if they need to. Most of the time, like the creatures in the ocean world, they live side by side in peaceful harmony.
On the other hand, take a look at the faces that we have been subjected to in the last few weeks, the people whom we supposedly turn to for protection or justice, and what we have is an abject display of never-ending deceits, outright lies, putrid corruption, shameless greed, cynical manipulations, blatant hypocrisy, arrogance, self-righteousness and a host of other deplorable human vices writ large and to such superfluity that renders any daytime soap opera tame by comparison and leaving the viewers speechless.
Seen in this light, one wonders if there is any redeeming feature at all about us human beings, this sorry self-delusional species that succumb so easily to its basest of impulses and desires that other creatures would most likely view either as madness or stupidity.
(Desi Anwar: First published in The Jakarta Globe)