Hunted Hill

Large signboard by the entrance of Penang Hill, a hill resort in Penang, Malaysia clearly warns visitors not to feed the monkeys. I visit the resort once every year, so I know what it’s all about.

This time however, my visit was a special one as I was acting as a travel guide to my ‘first time in Malaysia’ friends. I just couldn’t resist.

I bought some boiled peanuts and handed them over to my friends. Approaching one of the nearest monkeys, I told them how cute the monkey was and said why don’t you give him some of the peanuts?

He replied that that’s not allowed, but I said “Oh, go ahead, no one cares”. When my friends started giving the peanuts, I started to distant myself without my friends noticing, and before the action started, I got my camera ready.

Sure enough, one seemingly friendly monkey came after another. Soon, the place was swarming with monkeys. They started to become agitated and my friend started to show the first sign of panic. I was sure by that time, he was thinking: ‘what am I going to do when I ran out of peanuts?’

Then the monkeys stopped taking the peanuts. When my friends tossed them, they just looked at it uninterested and turned their attention to my friends. ‘Here we go,’ I said to myself.

What had happened was, the monkeys had traced the source of the peanuts, and they wanted the whole bag. Realizing this, my friends started throwing everything they had and ran in panic. I was running after them and snapping their pictures.

People started to watch as my friends cried and shouted as the gang of monkeys surrounded them. My friends had an idea of picking up some peanuts from the ground and throwing them farther in a desperate attempt to fool the monkeys into breaking up, but these are no dumb kittens!

In the height of tension, one heroic friend of mine told us to run and let him ‘sacrifice himself’ to hold them back. It might have worked had not one of the monkeys grabbed and held on to his backpack and he started to panic himself.

Now, can you outrun a group of wild monkeys? Well yes, you can. But only it’s going to be really hard if you’re running on a hillside and the only way you can go is up.

To make a quicker escape then, with heavy backpacks on your back, and while in a state of mindless panic, yes, you climb on all four, dropping your tickets, hats, and other stuff.

My friends managed to get away unharmed, but the damage was done. The monkeys had robbed them of their dignity and pride.

My friends could only watch as the monkeys went over their stuff and drank from one of the tumblers they left behind (yes, the monkeys were really that smart!).

People around us laughed as one of my friends cursed and uttered angry words to the gang of monkeys, particularly to the head of the gang (oldest among all the monkeys).

As the monkeys were having their victory drink, I just couldn’t help myself and burst out laughing.

We move on to check out the rest of the hill resort and afterwards, although we were really tired (we did not expect a hillside marathon), my friends were quite pleased by the pictures that I took, and were glad for the experience.

Dane Hawari
True Story?: