Thursday, March 1, 2012

What makes us human then?

This incident almost slips off my mind until I was reminded of it recently. It happened during the Lunar New Year holidays. 

I had wanted to get papers from the near-by 7/11 when I saw a few stray dogs roaming around the neighbourhood.

They all appeared thin and bony and they were poking around. I had the feeling that they were looking for food.

I didn’t pay much attention to them and continued my journey.

At the shop, my conscience was pricking. We were so well-fed during this festive season, to the point of overeating but these poor stray animals were hungry to the bones.

I couldn’t bear the thought and so went on to buy them some food.

Not sure why, but that particular 7/11 didn’t stock up pet food. The next best meaty canned food was spam.

I know, I know. Spam is salty and they aren’t good for dogs. But I rather see them full than being hungry for the rest of the night. And a can of spam aren’t cheap either. It came from Dutch and cost a whopping $6.

To reduce the saltiness and to bulk up the food, I bought some bread and milk to feed them.

It feels almost like a picnic when I sat down at the bench laying out all the food stuff.

I did sacrifice a lot for doing this. You never know how many dirty looks and murmurs I had to endure when people walked past me.  Who can blame them? I also think I looked like a freaking lunatic who is trying to stuff self silly with bread and spam in the middle of the night.

And if I didn’t mention, I had a phobia of dogs since young. I get very nervous and panicky when a dog comes near me. This feeding dog operation wasn’t really easy for me. 

Armed with a pair of wooden chopstick and big cups, I mixed the expensive spam, milk and bread to form a comforting mushy paste.

I carefully place the mash on a near-by grass patch and retreated to a safe distance to observe them.

Minutes later, one of the dogs came by. It moved faster and faster as the nose picked up on the savoury meaty scent. I was so excited when it finally found the food.

The dog smells a bit more and took a few bites. To my surprise, it flee off immediately after those few bites.

I was quite sad, thinking what is wrong with the food.

Isn’t it hungry at all?

Just as I was puzzling away, the dog came back and this time round with a companion.

It had then became clear to me.

The first dog had ran off to alert its partner about the food! It even let the partner eat first, while it waited hungrily at the side. The other one took a few bites, then moved back to allow his partner to take a few bites as well.

I was so touched at that moment looking at them.

All these while, science has taught us that human is human because we have compassion and humanity, but animals don’t.

At that point, I am not sure if this is still true.

I have seen a lot of times of how animals have more compassion and humanity than humans.

From body language and everything, you wouldn’t see a fake thought or feeling from them. They are always genuine and they treated others like so.

And then you looked at how we communicate with our own species. We are supposedly more superior than the animals. We have our own languages and some of us bilingual even but it is so hard to communicate clearly with one another. Worse, people lie literately and sometimes undermining others as if the other party couldn’t tell apart…

That is why it is in fact easier to “communicate” with animals than with humans, I sometimes find.

So what makes us human then?

I think we should take a good moment to ponder over it. Who know, it may be time to redefine humanity or find out what lacks of it.

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