Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Oh Crikey!

We just came back from watching Snakes on the Plane and began to talk about dangerous reptiles. Inadvertently, the conversation turned to the death of Steve Irwin- the Crocodile Hunter yesterday. It was all over the news yesterday and all over the newspapers today. The Straits Times being the Straits Times once again showed how brilliant it was when it commented that it was great irony for Steve Irwin to be killed by a sting ray.

Whoever taught the writer irony in school, when reading this, must have been a) turning in her/his grave, b) burying his/her head in the sand, c) cussing and spitting at the newspaper and feeling like a royal failure for having produced such a goof. Kid! It would be ironic if Steve Irwin met his death while wrestling a croc, realising that it was for real this time and muttering "Oh Crikey!" for the last time.

But it definitely is surreal, to know that it isn't a practical joke. More than one person I knew asked if it was an April Fools' joke 5 months and a few days late.

According to a friend in Oz, her radio alarm woke her up yesterday by repeating the news that Steve Irwin was dead and she took a long time to figure out that it wasn't some strange surreal dream. And it's almost as if there's national mourning happening over there, with news on the hour giving updates and all the free to air channels paying tribute. Even John-the furrowed bettled eyebrowed-Howard stood up in parliament and offered his condolences to the family of the hero of the hour.

I say that because I remember it wasn't too long ago when most of the Southern hemisphere saw the guy as a big joke. I remember he was on Channel Ten on Sunday evenings and I couldn't bear more than 2 minutes of him. I think it was more the accent than what he was actually saying or doing, but that's a different story for a different time. People thought he was an embarrassment. Afterall, here was a guy perpetuating the myth that all Aussie blokes weren't very much different from Crocodile Dundee and all insanely thought that they had more lives than a cat.

But he did raise awareness for the wild and played a large part in Australian conservation projects. So much so that he started a zoo. Some would say this bloke made it good. He had a tv series and a zoo, a beautiful wife and 2 children- he's got it made. The truth, though, couldn't have been more different. Yup, he did have the wife and the two kids, but he was no where near successful. Sure his tv series made him a ton of money but man that he was, he didn't keep a cent of it. He used whatever he had to further his cause and he lived the life of a poor man. None of the money he made went to buying himself a fancy car and his wife some diamonds. All this was for a greater cause.

And yesterday, he died doing what he believed in and enjoyed the most. No doubt many counsellors have been despatched to the schools in Australia to deal with the emotional fallout of losing such a cultural and pop icon in Austrlia. But that's how one could most definitely be comforted, knowing that while Steve Irwin's life was taken from him quite unexpectedly and suddenly, it happened in the open, in the ocean, in nature and by nature. In words that children may understand, he was doing something that made him really happy.

A much better and more dignified way of dying rather than being senteneced to death by a million papercuts.

God Bless Steve Irwin's soul. By now, his battle cry should be resounding all through heaven. And Mr Crocodile Hunter, you can now enjoy battling the largest of crocs and not fear.

Oh.... Crikey.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 23:10

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