Monkey Thoughts

13th March 2010: I went up to Bukit Malawati, in an outing by Sony Malaysia for Alpha users!

When we reached the hilltop, we were greeted by what I thought were the former four-legged residents.

They were everywhere!

So many, and yet some were lonely and deep in thought.

I found it interesting to observe them – what do animals think about?

What do they fight about? Protection? Ownership? Territory? They are interestingly communal and yet have a mind of their own. They will follow the crowd but also do their own thing.

So I’m not really sure what makes us humans think we are so far apart from other animals. Animals learn and can be trained, and they can assert ownership over territory. We just have it a bit more advanced to throw in barter trade and the concept of currency.

Animals can make tools – we just do it better.

So we’ve invented a few languages. Do you ever wonder if animals talking among themselves, wonder what we humans are saying?

What defines humans as being more advanced, anyway?

Now I ask this in seriousness, and I don’t want an answer spewed out from a book, but an answer that you yourself have thought about.

Ants can communicate by just touching antennae. Isn’t that advanced? Heck they can walk on ceilings!

What about the Vulcans? (A fictitious race from the Star Trek series.) If they can communicate by mind meld (touching one’s temples to transfer thoughts, emotions and memories), doesn’t that make humans distinctively primitive?

Then how about the Borg? Again, a fictitious race from the Star Trek series, who are cyborgs (half human, half machine) who are all connected together via an electronic network. They share information altogether and if one Borg learns something, every other Borg learns the same thing!

Humans are probably the largest species that is not in random danger of being killed by another animal, intentionally, just because we were annoying. We can kill mosquitoes and cockroaches and ants and they won’t know what hit them. What are the chances of anyone being squashed by an elephant, intentionally?

Meanwhile, this was a stealthy ninja!

Monkey on your back?

Like a boss.

Curious monkeys want to reach out for my fisheye!

Obviously, trained.

A random grab shot that worked in so many ways!

I wonder if they wonder why we stick cameras in their faces.

Shot with the Opteka 85mm F1.4.


A baby.

Cutting queue.

I observed the monkeys – they initially were all at the bottom of the hill, waiting for us to come by bus.

And yet, as I took pictures of them on the railing, they were slowly travelling up the hill. Some would sit around. Some would steal bananas and hop on humans.

And yet, none of them were going down the hill.

So if the monkeys were following each other, how did they all end up downhill? Who started going down?

Following the group is a survival instinct – if you do what the majority does, you think you will be safe. Though following is also not the smartest thing to do – ever joined a long queue to see an empty lane on the right? And there is a person manning the lane, but nobody goes there, for some reason!

So much for human intelligence and being advanced.

Could it be that we led their exodus up, and we called them to come down with our loud buses?

Perhaps, they were bored with us, and went on up to the trees. Yes, Bukit Malawati is where this picture came from!

Ho with his new sports telephoto.

Apparently, across the sea was Indonesia. (The hazy bit, not the nearer river!)

And then, we were led elsewhere.

A self-portrait for the competition where we’d submit our pictures from the trip.

7 thoughts on “Monkey Thoughts

  1. shootkk Post author

    If you want to specified why we are so-called more advanced than animal then I would say this:

    Humans have the ability to create new substances from basic elements. Like how we create plastics, or metal alloys. We can put 2 or 3 basic elements together and create a new substance that does not exist naturally. On whether the creation is good or bad for the environment is another debate.

  2. Albert Ng Post author

    Junyu: Thanks man!

    shootkk: Probably, in a very sweeping relative sense, we are more advanced, but not advanced enough to figure out whether what we are doing is good for the environment or not. For that I don’t think we deserve an elevation of status above all other beings.

    I wonder if life outside Earth would bother to destroy us for being destructive (familiar movie plot, anyone?), or they are too advanced to care, or even if we create a black hole of Earth with the Large Hadron Collider, they don’t care because they know black holes aren’t giant vacuum cleaners. Perhaps we just don’t threaten them all that much.

  3. shootkk Post author

    Haha! I think the aliens would not be bothered. If we doom ourselves, hey, that’s our problem, not theirs!

    We are still not up to the level where we would warrant destruction for being destructive. We are just some localized pests so those advanced aliens would just put us down to being a minor annoyance – too minor to take action on.

  4. Albert Ng Post author

    Indeed, that is probably why they haven’t wiped us out yet (as opposed to the egotistical idea that we are the most advanced species, or else we would’ve been wiped out by aliens.)


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