CUNNING OFFICIALS WANTING to evict squatters have hired elephants to bump into their homes. The 12,000-pound beasts “accidentally” nudge shacks and huts, which quickly fall over. The remains are then stomped into matchwood by the elephants’ feet. “Oops, was that your house? Sorry. Heh heh heh.”
Officials are delighted with the success of the sneaky technique. They say the beasts are far better than mechanical bulldozers, which cannot get through the mountainous, thickly forested terrain of Assam, northeastern India, which has as many ups and downs as a Dan Brown novel.
I heard the tale from a reader of the UK Sun newspaper who thought the plan was rather devious.
I agree. Training elephants to get into the habit of knocking down human homes seems like a seriously bad idea to me. What happens when the official finishes work and goes to park his elephant outside his house?
There goes the neighborhood.
This reporter was once sat upon by an elephant. Okay, it wasn’t an elephant, it was a really fat kid at school.
But you know that thing in cartoons where a stomped character goes flat like a piece of paper? Well, this ACTUALLY HAPPENS in real life. I was really skinny for about ten minutes before I popped back to my original 3D format.
Talking of forced evictions, property developers in China have developed a new technique: they provide homes with a free moat.
Tenants go shopping but can’t get back in because property developers have used earthmovers to create an instant river around their homes.
No doubt entrepreneurial neighbors will start offering swimming lessons and the merry dance will continue.
There seem to be a lot of these sort of “Only in Asia” stories around at the moment. I was sharing the tales above with a reader when she recalled seeing an even more strange elephant tale in her local paper in Kerala. An elephant has been charged with murder, it said.
Raman, aged 45, was accused of killing three humans when he ran amok at a festival on January 27.
Prosecutors are confident, since there were plenty of witnesses. The arrested pachyderm was released on bail of 30 lakh rupees, which is US$55,000.
This strikes me as rather a dangerous tack to take. If interactions between animals and humans are placed under legal scrutiny, then pretty much every human in the world could be immediately charged with being accessories to torture, mass murder, false imprisonment, eating sentient beings, etc, which would be ridiculous.
I mentioned this to a vegan friend, who said: “What’s ridiculous about that?”
I told her that everyone in the world would end up in jail except her and her vegan buddies.
“What’s ridiculous about that?” she said again.
Life is complicated. The last time I encountered a charging elephant was when I was on holiday in Yala, Sri Lanka, and a large, lusty pachyderm tried to mate with the car I was in. This has given me a life-long fear of travelling in grey cars.
And if I really have to get into one, I prefer not to sit at the back, thank you very much.
TALKING OF evictions in Asia, here’s the famous Wenling “nail house” in China (right smack dab where they wanted to build a road) and the day they finally demolished it.
TWO OF my best friends in Hong Kong decided to book a last minute holiday this week. Their tour is half in Shanghai and half in Seoul. The front page of my newspaper is split today. The first half basically says “killer bird flu in Shanghai” and the second half says “North Korea Kim to drop nukes”. Great timing.
BUT GOING BACK to animals, this made me smile this morning. Yes, Lucy, old folk like Grandpa and me still do some sports, but check out the dog below. If he can do sports, anyone can…