Singapore Adventure

Friday, September 01, 2006

Macaque Attack
by venitha

Kalyn's shriek echoes through the nature reserve, pierces the calm of MacRitchie Reservoir, and nearly strikes the resonant frequency of the tree-top walk's suspension bridge, sending it crashing to the rainforest floor below. Good thing we already crossed it.

"Oh, dear," the Australian woman beside me says, and we both watch my niece, halfway up the Jelutong Tower, scamper in terror around the platform, a motley crew of in hot pursuit.

"Kalyn! Kalyn! Stop screaming!" my sister, her mother, commands and intercepts her mid-lap. The monkeys stop but don't retreat. I'm happy to be safe on the ground. Kalyn would be, too, if an adorable baby monkey hadn't bewitched her as she followed me down the tower.

"Venitha? They are kind of... threatening. Do you have any suggestions?"

Good thing I aced that ever-popular Living With Singaporean Wildlife: Monitor Lizards, Macaques, and Hungry Ghosts course. Criminy. It's Valerie and Kalyn who just spent an entire day at the Singapore Zoo. Is it so much to ask that the zoo impart some practical information?

"Ummm... They're probably just like dogs. Don't act afraid, and they'll leave you alone. I stomped my entire way down." On the way up the tower, there'd been only one monkey, and he was far more interested in his own genitalia than in any of us. His gang arrived while we were distracted by the view - of the reservoir.

Valerie stands up taller, but Kalyn is clinging to her and, I think, whimpering. They don't move. I exchange a glance with the - she is so glad not to be me - take a deep breath, and boldly stride to the tower. Aunt Venitha to the rescue. I'll probably survive the macaques, but Kalyn's father will definitely kill me if anything happens to her.

I slowly ascend the stairs, stomping loudly. "Fee fie fo fum, I smell the blood of..." Well, I have no idea, but it certainly sounds... confident.

Safe on the ground, Kalyn is uncharacteristically taciturn.

"You've got a pretty good scream."

"I hate monkeys."

"Well, they sure seem to like you, darlin'."

Valerie and Kalyn returned safely to the US from Singapore on 24 August. Valerie took the scary monkey picture above, and she swears he was yawning.