Monday, October 3, 2022
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‘converse softly and carry a giant stick’


With overseas affairs dominating the information for the primary half of the yr, now interrupted by incessant protection of the self-inflicted native difficulties going through the UK authorities, the doctrine of ‘Converse softly and carry a giant stick’ had many an airing. That has all the time been my motto when strolling previous teams of habituated or feral monkeys which have the status of generally attacking passers by or stealing meals from their baggage or palms. I’ve questioned up to now if the dictum arose in part of the world that needed to take care of monkeys in addition to with evil people of one other primate species.

Once I regarded it up, I discovered that its famous adopter and promoter, Theodore Roosevelt, President of the USA from 1901 till 1909 as effectively a eager and really well-read beginner zoologist and pure historian, had certainly recognized the proverb as having originated in West Africa: 

I’ve all the time been keen on the West African proverb: “Converse softly and carry a giant stick; you’ll go far.”

The final time I had the chance of Roosevelt’s dictum was strolling within the New Territories of Hong Kong the place giant bands of macaques (the origins of which I’ve mentioned beforehand right here) collect to await picnickers, walkers and joggers. Initially and finish of a preferred stroll alongside a water catchment the place monkeys have a tendency to collect near and on the trail, there are piles of sticks gathered from the timber and shrubs, picked up after which discarded by walkers and joggers.

The next quick video is of a big troupe of monkeys—round 50 people—on a preferred path alongside a water catchment close to the Jubilee Reservoir within the New Territories of Hong Kong in December 2017. Once we first noticed them they had been descending a steep hill, coated in concrete at decrease ranges, to achieve the trail. They needed to paddle by the trickle of water within the catchment and fairly clearly didn’t like getting their toes moist. Later, they lined the trail for about 100 yards. I had the best implement for the day—a strolling pole was my large stick.

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