By: Our Correspondent

Hobbit

 

 

LIVE HOBBITS HAVE BEEN spotted by jungle rangers in Indonesia. No, it’s not actor Danny Devito on holiday, I checked. The tiny people have been identified as living examples of homo floresiensis, a primitive human dubbed “the hobbit” by scientists.

Rangers say they twice saw a group of about 15 impossibly small humans walking through a jungle swamp at the Way Kambas National Park in Lampung during March.

“The rangers monitored their presence for around 15 minutes from a distance of around 35 meters,” spokesman Sukatmoko, who uses only one name, told theJakarta Post.

homo florensiensis

The little people hide when they saw humans approaching with cameras, apparently averse to appearing on rangers’ Facebook pages. (This suggests greater intelligence than homo sapiens.)

Small hominids are common in Indonesia, local environmentalist Mukri Friatna told the paper: “In Kerinci Seblat, they are known as the orang pendek, in Flores as homo floresiensis, and in Bone as members of the Oni tribe.” (In the West, they’re called Elton John and Prince.)

meet the folks

Some observers described the creatures, who were less than 3 ft (1 m) tall, as “pygmies”, so I phoned an expert to ask.

He said they were technically too small, as “pygmies” was a Western term for populations whose adult males were 5 ft (1.55 m) or less. “Some anthropologists refer to people slightly over 5 ft as ‘pygmoid’,” he added.

This really annoyed me. It means Westerners would classify many Asians as pygmies or pygmoids. In Indonesia, India, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Vietnam, men are about 5 ft 5 ins (Mahatma Gandhi was 5ft 3 ins) while women average 5 ft or less. North Asians (Hong Kongers, South Koreans, etc), are 2 inches taller.

Surely it’s equally valid to think of Asians as being “proper” human-size while Westerners are grotesque giants?

The tallest country in the world is Holland, where pretty much everyone is 6 ft tall, including newborns. (Births are painful and take days.)

I went to The Hague once. It was like being in the Land of Knees. I kept expecting people to look down on me and say: “Fee fi fo fum, I smell the blood of an Asian man.”

1968-Land-of-the-Giants

(Souvenirs from my visit to Holland)

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puffer fish

BUDDHISTS BOUGHT LIVE fish from a wet market to release into a river in China last week, but got there too late. The fish died. Officials took the fish out of the water and gave them proper burials, the Chinese newspapers said. I would have thought that a proper burial for a fish was to have been left in the water, but what do I know?

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handsome shop
DID YOU HEAR about those three guys who were thrown out of Saudi Arabia last week for being “too handsome”? “Commission members feared female visitors could fall for them,” the Elaph newspaper said. This is a genius policy and I pray that it will be adopted by other countries. Good-looking people damage society by making it hard for the rest of us to get in the gene pool.

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sunglasses

THOUGHT FOR the day: When people draw cartoons of the sun, why do they draw it wearing sunglasses? How can sunglasses shade the sun’s eyes? Isn’t the light on the other side?

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