Monkey See…by amina wadud

amina 2014 - cropped

When I was a little girl the Washington D.C. Zoo did not have that extra security fence between gawking spectators and the cages of certain animals.  My mother used to climb up onto the cage and hand peanuts to the monkeys.  I don’t know, maybe that was the beginning of my lifelong love of monkeys.  When I moved to Malaysia as Assistant Professor at the International Islamic University I was driving down a main roadway and along the side of the road I saw a monkey scurrying along much like we see squirrels in the US.  A new phase in my life began.  How many ways to repeat my mother’s antics?  Could I possibly top that? This introduction might seem silly but I just have to share one of the most sublime experiences of my life and for that I need to give you a feeling for just how much I love monkeys.

When monkeys are in the wild they are not always amenable to such antics as we humans can do or imagine.  I think that’s probably part of survival, don’t you?  Anyway, in Malaysia, even though they were as plentiful as squirrels and just as accessible, like squirrels they are not at our beck and call either.  We were pretty much limited to the evenings at a local park when they would come down from the trees and let us feed them. Like children do with Canadian geese at Merritt Lake Park here in Oakland, or any where they roam.  Once we climbed up more than 1000 stair-steps to the top of the Batu Caves a Hindu temple and tourist spot, to see the sights and feed the monkeys.  That time one wily monkey snatched the whole bag of food from my daughter’s hand while she wasn’t looking and that was the end of it.  No way to go back to the car and run back with more!  Continue reading “Monkey See…by amina wadud”

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