Chickens are everywhere in Indonesia. Even in metropolitan Jakarta they are running around all over the place. Now while I’ve never had anything against them – at least they don’t pose any aggressive threat or crap everywhere like dogs do - it is nonetheless a little bit worrying to see them in front of your house knowing that they could be carrying the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus.
Indonesians you see aren’t really that worried about bird flu. And that’s not really surprising to be fair: many see the deadly dengue fever as far more dangerous. After all, only a handful of people have so far died from bird flu in Indonesia; dengue fever kills thousands every year.
But the risk of a bird flu pandemic in Indonesia is worrying Aus:
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said Australia may be forced to close its borders to people fleeing a human pandemic that could result from the virulent H5N1 strain of the bird flu mutating into a form easily transmitted between humans. Meanwhile, Australia’s Health Minister Tony Abbott did not directly respond to questions on whether Australia would expel foreigners, close its ports or accept “flu refugees” in the event of a pandemic breaking out in neighbouring Indonesia.
Blooming heck! Nice to know who your friends are. Everyone for themselves, I guess.
And it’s going to be very hard to persuade Indonesians to avoid contact with chickens anyway. These creatures are important in Indonesian culture, especially In Bali and in parts of Java, where cockfighting is practiced.
Although the sport may not go down too well with the RSPCA, it is good unclean fun nonetheless:
The fighting goes down with an assortment of birds measured by height, weight, and wing span to make for an even battle. When two birds match, they're fitted for a razor sharp blade that is tightly tied around one foot, with the blade sticking out the back. The birds are held face to face as their feathers are pricked to stimulate aggression. A fury of money changes hands as bets are accepted. The roosters are taken to their respective corners and released. For one, maybe two minutes, roosters fly in the air and that's it. The loser backs off, slowly collapsing to the ground. Their legs are then sliced off or the throat is cut. The losing bird is scooped up and skinned right outside the stadium to get ready for the dinner pot. The winning rooster will be heading there as well, as most times their injuries are just as bad.
Heck – with money to be made on the betting side, I think I should get into this sport. And I think I’ve got just the rooster to win…