There is a famous island in Malaysia called Penang whose capital city is George Town. It’s a beautiful city where futuristic sky scrapers meet old traditional buildings in a mix of Chinese, Indian and Malay style.

However, like most cities, there is a lot of traffic and it’s good to know that you can take a local bus and travel around the island easily to stretch your view and see some areas that haven’t been contaminated by humans yet – or at least that’s what I thought.

One of these beautiful places is actually quite near George Town and is known as Penang National Park. My story is about something that I witnessed on Monkey beach; a beautiful beach on the ocean (see photo above) inside the National Park.

You may expect by the name of it, Monkey beach, to see monkeys everywhere but unfortunately that was not the case. Though it is forbidden to bring plastic containers in the park, there are small shops selling plastic bottles and other non organic food stuff which have turned the other side of the beach, the one which I didn’t photograph, in a sort of a   huge dump of plastic and other things.

Most people in Asia are not used to carry their trash with them and usually leave it everywhere. Plastic and other non organic material are a real issue in Asia and I really hope that the new Asean community will soon deal with it.

My story is about this beautiful little creature who is actually one of the inhabitants of the island and is supposed to be protected by the authority.

She’s not looking at the camera to preserve her identity

There are few monkeys showing up at Monkey beach nowadays. They are not welcome because some humans don’t like them. Even if the brochure I was given at the entrance of the park contained a list of expected behaviours to preserve both the environment and its inhabitants, a group of tourists disturbed the peace of us all by  going jet skiing…

You can imagine the consequences for the fragile marine environment as well as the poor creatures (including other humans like me) living on the land. How did those people get permission to do something like that in a national park?

In the meantime, a shy little monkey saw that the woman who sold me fresh coconut juice, had a bunch of bananas next to the counter. In a sequence of rapid movement, the little monkey came down to the counter, grabbed a banana and ran away.

Yes, she only grabbed ONE banana and the woman at the counter took her slingshot to scary her away. I mean, 1 banana!

We humans have taken most of the precious environment from our fellow earthlings and when they have a chance to claim back a little of what has always been theirs by birthright, what do they do?

They just take what they need!

I was really shocked at the sight of the monkey taking only one banana because that meant something very important:

Greed is human 

We have a lot to learn from animals. If we were courageous enough to admit what we really are, we would no longer consider ourselves superior to animals. What we have done and continue doing is a tragedy for all creatures of Earth including ourselves.

This monkey taught me a lesson that I will never forget:

In this life you must always take only what you need.


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