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Thursday, November 12, 2015

…NOT REALLY LIKE THE PIG



When a person is referred to as a pig, it usually would mean such a person is dirty, gluttonous and repulsive. There are quite a number of very uncomplimentary sayings and analogies around a pig. A few of them are listed below:

When you wrestle with a pig, you both get dirty and the pig likes it.

…the place is like a pigsty (meaning the place is very messy and dirty).

The pig remains one of the most maligned animals in the world judging by how people (mostly wrongly) associate many things negative including immorality with the pig. Some religions in fact banned the eating of pork (pig meat) because of its perceived filthiness.

It is said that if something is repeated often enough, even when it is utter falsehood, it becomes the truth (sic), and so it is that I was one of those who believed the popular sayings about pigs being dirty. Indeed I was as surprised as some people might be after reading this when several years ago in my second year at the university I read in the general course textbook we were required to read, that pigs were (I believe still are) generally very clean animals if they are bred in a regulated environment. Articles I have read in recent times also point in this direction. The dirty pigs are said to be those in the wild or the stray pigs (like we have stray dogs) which have nobody rearing them. And even for the supposedly dirty stray pigs which seem to enjoy rolling around in the mud, a very good reason has been suggested for this behavior and it is that since pigs do not sweat, they usually roll in the mud in order to bring down their body temperature.

Humans are the highest of all God’s creatures. We are smart, we possess a very high level of reasoning that we may safely say most animals lack. To a very large extent then, we can say that we are in control of quite a number of things we engage in. For instance, the focus of this article is completely within our control as humans. We are fully in control of whether or not we want to litter our environment.

I visited Calabar twice last year on some land-related study and I was very impressed at how clean the place was. No pure-water sachets littering the streets or other such things that come together to make a place an eye-sore. One would in fact be forgiven if one assumes that the good and neat people of Calabar do not join those of us in the South-West in the consumption of pure-water (by the way, do they actually drink pure water in Calabar?). What is even more impressive is the fact that you don’t really see the city cleaners as they go about their duty like we see them here in Lagos. The cleaners come very early in the mornings to clean the city. It is not an all-day affair like it is here in the not-so-clean Lagos.

The fact that the people of Calabar were able to achieve the level of neatness they have, is a pointer to the fact that at least, that aspect of our lives is completely within our control as humans.

In spite of this however, it is a fairly common sight to see drivers and passengers in both private and commercial vehicles throwing all sorts of things on the road out of their vehicles. The first time I saw someone throw a plastic bag and the back of a watermelon out of a car, I was shell-shocked. I have since then seen very well dressed ladies and men driving very nice and expensive-looking cars calmly wind down their windows and throw all sorts of rubbish ranging from the very small to the biggest thing that one can imagine (and even the ones no rational person can imagine! )can be thrown out of a vehicle onto the road.

Where this sort of thing is done by the commercial bus drivers, one may somehow rationalize it by saying that the Indian hemp and kaikai they indulge in have taken their toll on their reasoning ability. But where you find otherwise respectable members of the society who should serve as beacons engaging in this dirty habit…

Some of the articles on pigs go so far as to say that some pigs sometime make themselves ill by holding their urine because they could not get to an acceptable place in which they could relieve themselves. It is in fact said that if a pig kept in a regulated and clean environment begins to defecate or urinate in its bedding, then that pig has a health problem.

Perhaps, one should by the same token conclude that a human who chooses to litter the environment might have some health challenges that makes him/her incapable of doing the right thing.

And so if you are one of the too many supposedly educated people who still litter the city, and you do not have any health challenge which makes you litter, then you are not really like the pig, it would in fact be an insult to the pig to compare you with it.