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[Opinion] Bats and Seasonal Birds

Posted January. 19, 2003 22:57,   


As I was relaxing in a scenic rural area one day in last summer, I heard out of sudden a series of thunderous bang. When an old man got startled and looked around remembering his wartime memory, a villager explained that he was just firing into the air to scare off magpies, which are ruining crops. Magpies had long been considered birds carrying good news and returning people`s kindness. They were once a national bird with beautiful black and white color, and now have become an uninvited guest.

▷In fact, we have many fixed ideas about animals, which are mostly wrong. For instance, we say that bears are slow and stupid, but in reality they are very sensitive at smell and often make smart moves. For most of us, foxes have been representing evil characters - their howling is a sign of death, they dig into graves and eat corps, and in many folk tales they use trick to cheat people. These are not all true. Still we call dull people `bear-like` and shrewd people `fox-like.`

▷Bats are the only mammals that can fly. It is because their forelegs evolved into wings. Their wings still have the traces of finger bones and the evolution seems to have stopped when they started to fly. Yet, bats are just bats. They neither pretend to be birds nor act like animals. `A person of bats kind` is, therefore, an insult to bats. Birds inhabit this country across rivers, the sea, mountains and fields. Some of them stay here all around a year, but some others travel in certain times of a year. Seasonal birds travel orderly in a group according to the law of nature. It is not right to compare unfaithful politicians to seasonal birds, therefore.

▷We cannot but wonder how come mankind can be the lord of all creation, whenever we turn our eyes from the work of nature - beautiful creatures like birds and the mystery of the food chain - to the secular world filled with lies and greed. Bears, foxes, bats and migratory birds have lives of their own. They lead their lives by complying with the law of nature. It is outrageous to compare ugly sides of people to those beautiful creatures. And we hope to see no more lip-servicing self-justified politicians insult innocent bats and seasonal birds.

Bae Kyu-han, Guest Editorial Writer, Professor at Kookmin University, khbae@kookmin.ac.kr