Feb 9, 2008

Goodbye Ah Meng

I've been trying real hard to think about what I'm gonna say. This post is a tribute to an icon of Singapore. This special lady has touched the hearts of many. She is known throughout the world as an ambassador of the Singapore Zoo. In many aspects, I think she's an ambassador of this great country I call home.

My foreign readers might have heard of her. If you have, great! If you haven't, it isn't too late. The late Ah Meng is a Sumatran Orang Utan. She came to the Singapore Zoo in 1971 after she was confiscated from a house. Ever since then, she has been given the best care and love from some of the finest keepers this country has seen.

Ah Meng passed away yesterday at the age of 95 (48 human years). She has been mother to some of the most beautiful orang utans. She has two sons, three daughters and six grandchildren. That's a feat considering orang utans are on the endangered list.

In her time, she has met the who's who of the entertainment industry, world leaders, prominent wildlife conservationists and the common man. From Michael Jackson to Prince Philip of Great Britian to the late Steve Irwin, she has touched these individuals in one way or another. Need I say that Ah Meng is the most popular celebrity in Singapore. Besides Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, who else has gained world wide popularity? The name Annabel Chong comes to mind but I shan't go there...

In was in 1985 that the late Ah Meng decided to bite my mother on the knee. Needless to say, my darling old mother isn't too fond of Ah Meng. At least my mom has a nice little scar on her knee cap to remember this grand old lady.

I'm worried about how my friends at the zoo are taking her death. A good number of my drinking mates work with the orang utans. I'm especially worried about Sam. He loved Ah Meng like family. He was exceptionally close to her and it's gonna be real tough for him to get over this. Lots of love and hugs to everyone that is affected by her passing...

Through the eyes of Ah Meng, she has seen the Singapore Zoo evolve from a simple little zoo in Asia to becoming one of the top zoos in the world! She saw first hand what it's like for her fellow orang utans to wander free with the Zoo's new free ranging orang utan exhibit. This diva has seen a lot in her time. I'm sure she's happy where she is now and I'm equally positive that she's proud of all her archievements.

Ah Meng, thank you for being a part of our lives. Thank you for everything that you've done for the zoo and Singapore. You were more human than some of the people I've met in my time. And that my friends, says a whole lot about this beautiful primate...

A memorial will be held tomorrow, 9am to 11am at the Singapore Zoo. The public will be able to view Ah Meng for one last time before she is buried at the Garden With a View.

A link to a previous post where I mentioned about Ah Meng and her family of orangs.

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