Monday, February 19, 2007

A Moroccan Animal Miscellany: Cows, Pigs and Monkeys

For the second time in less than four weeks, I offer New Year's greetings to my faithful readers but this time with a decidedly Asian flavour. Given Rabat's lacklustre track record in replicating Asian cuisine in its restaurants, I have no qualms about the lack of originality or authenticity in this blog.

Yesterday heralded the Year of the Pig (red fire pig specifically) or ding hai which is not, as it may sound, a pork dish with almonds & broccoli. I confess that I am intrigued by the Chinese zodiac but I come by this fascination naturally; my Western zodiac sign asserts an almost pathological interest in the occult and all such unholy things. Atlas-like, I straddle two zodiacal systems with the foot of an invertebrate and the other of an ungulate; I am a scorpion and a cow. Scorpio and Ox.

But it was with not a little disappointment that I learned that the Year of the Pig is going to be just so-so for me: no better, no worse than the Year of the Dog. As it was, the Dog was less than stellar for me. This seemed inordinantly unjust to me as I generally like dogs and, unlike the nation that elevated this animal to a zodiac sign, I don't eat them. I have high esteem for pigs too. Babe is one of my favourite films and after a gazillion viewings it can still make me cry unabashedly. Back in my carnivore days, pork was my meat of choice. Did not ancient man hope to imbibe the numena of his prey through the very act of eating? Well, I ate my fair share of spare ribs in my day; ergo, the pig rocked my world even temporarily.

Nonetheless this coming porcine year will bring me 4 craphole favourable months out of 12. Plod on and you might (might?!!) enhance your prospects. You have plenty to do, but there will be obstacles. Rack up accomplishments, but don't expect that promotion this year. Perhaps I should just step in front of a
petit taxi now and put an end to it.

But what about Morocco? How will this Muslim nation fare under the auspices of a haram animal? I think it is fair - on the premise that its official birthday is March 2nd 1956, when it gained its indepedence from France - to assign the Kingdom of Morocco the ruling year of the Monkey. This seems rather ironic considering that the blame for the ongoing destruction of Morocco's oak & cedar forests has been levied on its indigenous monkeys, commonly known as the Barbary Apes.

Generally monkeys are fun, charming and naturally curious. They are quick-witted and clever (see the only Monkey in my life) but can also be boorish show-offs and their morals are often found sadly wanting. But compared with my 42% happiness projection for the Chinese year 4705 (Mr. Rooster in Rabat figures with an equally uninspiring 50%), Monkeys will be swinging from the trees with 6 freaking favourable months (as well as 2 neutral & 4 unfavourable ones)! Clearly the Pig, in an effort not to offend Islam, is offering Morocco a slightly rosier year than the Ox. Nonetheless, take note spunky Monkey:

Fortune tellers say the Chinese zodiac's year of the pig ... will be a good time to have a baby -- but they also warn of rising epidemics, disasters and violence around the world.

Is it any coincidence that this week, in the face of allegations that Al Qaida insurgents have infiltrated Morocco and intend to start blowing things (or themselves) up, the country's security alert was raised to Code Yellow, the second highest level? I think not!

Beware the Pig Morocco-Monkey!

On a happier note, a special set of postage stamps has been issued commemorating the Year of the Pig in Indonesia, whose population is 5% Chinese but is also the world's most populous Muslim nation. Its original concept was to feature all 12 animals but in the end they sacrificed the pig; instead, a Chinese temple will pinch hit for the pig so that Muslims might not be offended everytime they lick a stamp.

According to Yusri Mohammad, President of the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia,
"We shouldn't feel negative about it [the Year of the Pig] as long as the celebrations take into account Muslim sensitivities."

Muslim sensitivities, Al Qaida operatives in Morocco, a decided dearth in oxen career prospects ... this is all too much for a cow like me to stomach (even if I do have 4 of them). Perhaps it's time that I indulge my proclivities for the occult by dabbling in something less sinister. Like Freemasonry. How does that fit in with Islam? According to Muslim scholar Sheikh Ahmad Kutty from the Islamic Scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto:

A Muslim should never fall prey or give allegiance to something which cannot be scrutinized by the firm criteria of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Whoever joins Freemasonry is like a person who writes a blank check; by doing so he agrees to give allegiance blindly to an authority to comply with their wishes no matter what they are.


Happy New Year.


Blogger Sylvia said...

Funnily enough wearing a pig on his chest facilitated MohamedBob's entry into the US. He wore his Arkansas Razorbacks t-shirt through immigration in Atlanta and I guess the authorities figured that anyone named Mohamed wearing a red angry pig on his shirt can't be that dangerous. He also wore it to the mosque here and no one even commented.

1:23 p.m.  
Anonymous Mr. Rooster in Rabat said...

A 50% chance of happiness? Sounds like the Weather Network. Do I have a 50% chance of being partly happy?

I guess I should be more concerned about Al Qaeda operatives in Morocco but I must declare my own war against Happiness Projections. Just another reason for me not to visit China. I feel so uninspired!

1:47 p.m.  
Blogger knarf said...

That'll do, Pig.

That'll do...

3:42 p.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

"... if I had words"

3:52 p.m.  
Blogger knarf said...

Still can't believe it didn't win Best Picture!

5:49 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They call it 'Pork' - the evil Cat (not to be confused with Cat in Rabat). Every couple of months Maggie the Border Collie insists that I cue up the DVD player so she can watch Babe. She would do it herself if she had thumbs...

3:20 a.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Truly the only flaw in the film: did Maggie the Cat have to be evil? Such a tired stereotype.

"I want my Mooooooooooom"

9:11 a.m.  
Blogger knarf said...

Funny how, thoughout history, cats have been reviled, linked with the devil and witchery...

UNTIL mice and rats invade the granaries and literally eat away profits.

Then cats become saviours and gods...

7:00 p.m.  

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