Saturday, July 02, 2005

Costumed dog causes furor


This recent article caught my eye in the Daily Express. A Kadazan Dusun Chief Bobolian recently made a statement that a picture he saw taken during the Pesta Kaamatan (Harvest Fetival) was sacrilege as the owner of a wiener dog dressed it up in traditional Kadazan Dusun garb as well as placing several miniature decorative baskets (wakid) on the said pup. I can emphatize with his sentiment as he considered that such an act to the Kadazan Dusun people would be unthinkable as he quoted “folklore handed down for generations that those guilty of degrading animals for a laugh and amusement were heavily punished with various calamities”, yet I doubt the owner realize that his simple act could have caused such ire to the whole Kadazan Dusun community.

The said wiener dog has been a common sight in Kota Kinabalu for quite a while. If you happen to take a stroll along Gaya Street on weekends you’ll most likely see this little fellow whizzing around the stalls in a friendly demeanor with his owner an elderly old Chinese gentleman. The unique thing about the pup and owner whereas most people would go unnoticed is that the dog dresses for occasions. For Christmas you would catch him in a cute Santa hat with wreaths hanging by the collar, on Merdeka itself the dog turned patriotic and spotted a miniature Malaysian flag on its back. To many of us dressing up our pets or even animals may seem like nothing but there are people out there that view this as mistreating the animal or even making them look silly for human’s entertainment sake. I can safely say his dressing up was done in good taste and there are people in other countries that dresses their pets in more ridiculous attires than this (aka I can never fathom why in the world a Chihuahua can be dressed up looking like Elvis).

The Bobolian has valid claims and their ancestral pantang (restrictions) and observances must be given thought but the old man should be given some consideration too and not be shot down without being made to understand why. I doubt he set out to dress up his dog for entertainment and laughs, he just wanted to share the joy of the festive atmosphere with everyone present. It can be seen that many people consider them a charming pair, often tourists and locals would ask him for permission to pose with the dog for a picture, others just marvel at the pair as they go about their way. I figure he just didn’t realize his actions would be against some pantang and if told I’m sure he’ll be more careful in future.

Credit given that the Bobolian just wanted to give a warning to the man about his actions and just issued advice not to repeat the mistake again in future. For now I’m looking forward to see what the wiener dog would be celebrating next. Let’s not hope the government would not take charges by saying that they are disrespecting the national flag by putting the Malaysian flag on an animal that is one of the untouchables under Islam nor forbid the pair from going about freely around the market place of Gaya Street. They add colour and flavour to the occasion.

P.s. If anyone had stumbled across this cute little pup (the owner stays near Taman Kingfisher as well) and has some shots of the various costumes it would be nice to post them up or just contact me and I'll load them up for you ;)

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