It seems that the new norm of wearing masks due to COVID-19 has made monkeys ponder upon the situation as well. In a rib tickling video going viral on social media, a monkey can be seen making a makeshift face mask from a piece of cloth lying on the road.
The video which has been shared by Indian Forest Official Susanta Nanda on Twitter, shows how the monkey picks up the cloth, wears it like a scarf covering its entire face and walks around with it.
Nanda captioned the 14-second video as, “After seeing head scarfs being used as face mask.”
As of now the clip has been viewed over 21 thousand times and has been liked by over two thousand 500 users.
Different users had different takes on the video. While most thought the video was funny, a person said the monkey’s style of wrapping the scarf was similar to that of veteran actor Mithun Chakraborty. He tweeted, “the way he/she swung that scarf; that was full Mithun Chakraborty.”
Another user who seemed to be familiar with the monkey’s location opined, “Looks like a monkey from ECR road… learned behavior over many years…”
Another person’s compared the monkey with an emoji. He tweeted, “this emoji walking in circles.”
Here are some other reactions for the primate’s ‘monkeying around’ video:
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To Wichita County Sheriff David Duke, the two plastic chimpanzees are simply cute decorations like the garden gnomes, little white pigs, Star Wars figure and other ornaments outside a back entrance to the Wichita County Courthouse.
“There’s nothing at all offensive out there,” Duke said. “It’s a chimpanzee, and he’s swinging on a little rope, and another one’s hanging on a tree.”
The chimp decorations on the tree are part of efforts that began several years ago among Wichita County Sheriff’s Office workers to beautify the patch of ground outside their back entrance, the sheriff said.
To others, the chimpanzees are troubling at the least. At the most, they are obscene symbols of racism that dehumanize Black people while displayed not far from the corner of Travis and Sixth streets in downtown Wichita Falls.
The North Texas town’s population is about 100,000 and is located around 150 miles northwest of the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
“Apparently, the people at the courthouse think they’re all right. I think it’s racist,” said Gene Newton, president of the Wichita County Democratic Association.
A white professor emeritus of education at MSU Texas, Newton said the decoration on the rope nearly looks like a small Black man hanging.
“In a way, it’s almost threatening lynching,” he said. “They call that tree the hanging tree.”
The Rev. Angus Thompson, an African American community activist based in the historically Black east side of Wichita Falls, had not seen the decorations but viewed photographs of them recently.
“They present a troubling picture,” Thompson, pastor of New Jerusalem Baptist church, said.
He hopes the sheriff removes the chimpanzees in light of complaints that they’re offensive.
“That solves the problem. There’s no law that says it has to be there. It’s not going to catch any criminals,” Thompson said. “Just because it doesn’t affect him in a negative way, it might affect somebody else in a negative way.”
UPDATE: Duke said a few people protesting the Confederate monument Tuesday at City Hall showed up outside the courthouse to complain angrily about the decorations after hearing about them.
After discussions with the protestors and other county officials Tuesday night, Duke had the chimpanzee taken off the rope. It will go on the tree — but won’t be on a rope, the sheriff said late Wednesday afternoon.
The latest round of criticism about the yard art comes in the wake of global protests that at times turned violent after the death of George Floyd, a Black man, on May 25 in Minneapolis.
Floyd lost his life after a white police officer put a knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes. His death triggered calls for change and police reform during rallies, including peaceful protests in Wichita Falls.
Duke said Floyd never should have died.
“We don’t do choke holds. We don’t put knees on people’s throats. I’ve never done that in my career,” said Duke, who has been in law enforcement 38 years. “Our law enforcement in this county, all of them are nothing like what happened in Minnesota.”
‘It was all cute things’
The sheriff said the area outside the WCSO back entrance used to be a magnet for trash that would blow there.
For instance, prisoners getting out of the jail in the courthouse would open property bags and throw them on the street, but the entrance where the decorations are isn’t a public one, and jail occupants don’t use it.
“So we put a little picket fence up there,” Duke said. “The first things that were put in there were two pink flamingos and a sign that said, ‘Don’t feed the birds.’”
Then gnomes showed up, along with an alien, R2-D2 memorabilia and small ceramic dolls climbing over the fence, Duke said.
“It was all cute things. There was nothing racial, violent, mean, hurting people’s feelings, trying to degrade anything about it,” he said. “It’s just part of this movement across this great United States of people trying to think that all cops are racist.”
But the Sheriff’s Office is not racially motivated for any reason and treats everyone the same whether they live on the east side of Wichita Falls, Burkburnett, the country club area or Faith Village where Duke grew up, he said.
“The only way as sheriff you need to treat people is treat them right,” Duke said.
But Newton said such likenesses have a long history going back to just after the Civil War of being demeaning representations of Black people.
“What is behind that is, if you can take an ethnic group and make them into animals, … you take their humanity,” he said. “It means that you don’t have to treat them like other human beings.”
What’s more, thousands of African Americans live and pay taxes in Wichita County, he said.
“People should not be taxed to pay for things that basically dehumanize them,” Newton said. “Maybe they just ought to offer an apology to the African American community for racial insensitivity.”
He doesn’t think the chimpanzee decorations reflect well on the community as a whole.
“You don’t have to be overtly racist, conscious of the things that you’re doing to be a racist,” he said. “You don’t have to even perform a choke hold to be a racist. That’s not it. … But the impact of the things that we do on other people can make us a racist.”
Thompson knows Duke.
“He’s a good man,” Thompson said.
If the sheriff gives it some more thought, then he will likely come to the conclusion the decorations should come down, Thompson said.
“I’m praying that the county judge and the commissioners court would give it some thought, and say, ‘Well, maybe we ought to remove that. That could be offensive to somebody,’ ” Thompson said.
Complaint left unresolved
Newton noted that he complained to a county official about the decorations around six months ago, but nothing happened.
The chimpanzees did come off the tree for a time before the Strollin’ for Peace protest June 6. Hundreds marched from the east side of Wichita Falls to the courthouse. It was a peaceful event.
“We took everything down, including a very large rock that this one particular deputy paid for out of his own pocket, that had our sheriff’s badge on it,” Duke said.
That was so no one would throw any of the ornaments through a courthouse window if the rally went south.
“But we didn’t do anything or show any kind of aggressive force about anything during that entire protest,” Duke said. “We obviously believe in the right to voice your opinion, and everybody has the First Amendment right to freedom of speech.”
Some have brought their complaints about the chimp decorations in the small courtyard tucked in an area across a parking lot at the courthouse to the attention of the Times Record News.
In addition, a post shared Tuesday in a local Facebook group, Wichita Falls Area Rants, Raves and Ridiculousness, showed a photo of the chimp ornaments and took issue with them. Many of those writing nearly 200 comments echoed Duke.
“I seriously would NEVER see those monkeys and think racism,” one women wrote.
Duke has noted they are chimpanzees and not monkeys.
In any case, talk of possibly racist decorations at the courthouse irritates Duke, who has weathered foul language on their account.
He said a woman once called county law-enforcement officers “racist pigs” and made other off-color remarks because of them.
The complaints also seemed to rile him because he said he treats everyone equally, following lessons learned from his father.
“My dad used to tell me as far as any person of color, it’s not the color of the skin that matters,” Duke said. “It’s the heart and soul of the man that makes him a man.”
Sheriff Duke is not that David Duke
Duke, whose full name is John David Duke, said he had to set the record straight at times while running for sheriff.
Another David Duke is a well-known neo-Nazi, white Supremacist, Holocaust denier and Ku Klux Klan leader who has served in the Louisiana House of Representatives.
“I had to explain to them, I’m not the guy under the white hood. That’s another guy. He’s a nut. I don’t believe anything in his beliefs,” Duke said.
And he is not related to that other David Duke, the sheriff said.
Duke said he has in fact sought and won the support of Black pastors on the east side of town.
He recalled once attending a Black church service, the only white person there, and hearing the minister pay him the biggest compliment he’s ever had as a sheriff.
“He told his congregation that I’m colorblind because I don’t treat people a certain way because they are any color. He treats everybody the same way,” Duke said. “I just really appreciate it because that’s the way I feel. That’s the way I am.”
Trish Choate, enterprise watchdog reporter for the Times Record News, covers education, courts, breaking news, politics and more. Contact Trish with news tips at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her Twitter handle is @Trishapedia.
Thailand insisted it does not use monkeys to collect coconuts on an industrial scale, the deputy agriculture minister said on Wednesday, after British retailers announced bans on products which campaigners say use the animals in their production. Lauren Anthony reports.
Screengrabs from video shared by IFS officer Susanta Nanda.
Internet is full of amusing videos which go viral now and then. Most of them are clips of animals doing intriguing things. Well, one such video of a monkey is trending on Twitter and Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer Susanta Nanda shared it.
Nanda shared the clip that shows a monkey wrapping a cloth on its face like a mask. Yes, you read that right. With the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic and wearing masks becoming a necessity, the video left the internet impressed and laughing at the same time.
“After seeing head scarfs being used as face mask,” IFS officer captioned the video.
The clip begins with a monkey sitting on a sidewalk holding a piece of cloth in its hands. It takes a look at the cloth, and drapes it over its head. Then, the monkey wraps the cloth around its face and walks off in full swagger. The way the monkey wrapped the cloth on its face and turned it into a makeshift mask, delighted Twitterati.
After the IFS officer posted the video, it immediately went viral and managed to garner over 23.4k views. Many people took to the comments section to appreciate the monkey for doing what many people have been avoiding. Some compared him to Mithun Chakraborty.
See the comments:
the way he/she swung that scarf; that was full Mithun Chakraborty.
The power struggles in an ancient citadel, once home to Sri Lanka’s kings but now ruled over by a new dynasty – monkeys. The jungles are a monkey’s paradise but not all are equal. Anna sits at the bottom of the social ladder – and with a newborn baby, life is getting tougher.
DEERFIELD, IL — Walgreens Boots Alliance has severed ties with several coconut milk producers that use monkeys for hard labor during the making of the product. According to an exposé from PETA Asia, the monkeys are tied to tires and forced to pick coconuts on behalf of Thai companies Aroy-D and Chaokoy.
Headquartered in Deerfield, Walgreens Boots Alliance is the parent company of Walgreens, Boots and a number of pharmaceutical, manufacturing, wholesale and distribution companies. Walgreens Boot Alliance has committed to not selling any own-brand coconut food or drink products of Thai origin in its 9,277 Walgreens and Duane Reed stores in the U.S., and its 2,578 Boots stores in the U.K. and Thailand.
The PETA investigation reveals that monkeys are chained, confined to cramped cages, and forced to climb trees and pick coconuts in Thailand to be used in products like coconut milk. PETA Asia’s eyewitnesses visited four “monkey schools,” eight farms, and one coconut-picking competition, in which chained monkeys — reportedly illegally captured as babies — were forced to climb palm trees and pick coconuts for export around the world, according to the report.
When not being forced to pick coconuts, the animals were kept tethered, chained to old tires, or confined to cages barely larger than their bodies. At the facilities, monkeys displayed stereotypic repetitive behavior indicative of extreme stress. One monkey in a cage on a truck bed shook the cage repeatedly in a desperate, futile attempt to escape, and a screaming monkey on a rope frantically tried to run away from a handler. An investigator learned that if monkeys try to defend themselves, their canine teeth may be pulled out, according to the report.
This week, more than 15,000 stores pledged they would no longer carry coconut milk brands Aroy-D or Chaokoh after an investigation by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia exposed that the brands’ suppliers cruelly force monkeys to pick coconuts. Retail company Walgreens Boots Alliance will no longer sell these products in 9,277 Walgreens and 250 Duane Reade stores in the United States and its 2,758 Boots stores in the United Kingdom and Thailand. Cost Plus World Market will ban coconut products from Chaokoh from its 276 stores nationwide, as well as from its online platform. Retail group Ahold Delhaize will no longer sell coconut products sourced from suppliers that use monkey labor at its 2,000 stores and distribution centers in the US (including Giant Food, Food Lion, Stop & Shop, and Hannaford), as well as its 889 Albert Heijn stores in the Netherlands. The majority of the stores pledged to no longer buy any products made with coconuts from Thailand, where PETA said the issue of monkey labor is prevalent.
PETA Asia investigators visited four “monkey schools,” eight farms, and one coconut-picking competition to discover that chained monkeys—who were likely illegally captured as babies—were forced to climb trees and pick coconuts for worldwide distribution. When the animals were not picking coconuts, they were chained to old tires or kept in tiny cages. According to PETA Asia, the animals displayed many signs of distress and some would have their canine teeth removed if they tried to defend themselves.
“These curious, highly intelligent animals are denied mental stimulation, companionship, freedom, and everything else that would make their lives worth living, all so that they can be used to pick coconuts,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA believes virtually all coconuts from Thailand are picked by abused monkeys and is calling on kind people to buy coconut products that are sourced elsewhere.”
Companies typically do not use monkey labor to harvest coconut water as it comes from a dwarf variety of trees. PETA Asia confirmed that coconut water company Harmless Harvest does not use monkey labor. Products sourced from other coconut-growing regions—such as Brazil, Colombia, and Hawaii—use humane, monkey-free methods of harvesting.
PETA Asia invites all Thailand-based coconut suppliers to provide evidence that they do not use forced monkey labor.
Photo Credit: PETA Asia
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Macaque monkeys have been used in Thailand to pick coconuts for over a century but ecologists and animal rights activists have called for an international boycott of the coconut industry due to the alleged abuse of the animals.
Last week, the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) launched a campaign to shed light on the use of the primates, which are captured illegally and trained to climb trees and pick coconuts used to produce milk, flour and other products that are exported across the world by Thai companies such as Aroy-D and Chaokoh. EFE-EPA
Denial alone won’t help. To disprove the allegations of monkey abuse in Thailand’s coconut business, the Commerce Ministry has no other option but to face up to the matter.
The ministry must clarify where there are misunderstandings and make redress where shortcomings may still be found.
Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit on Monday issued a partial denial to abuse accusations made by the activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) who said young monkeys in Thailand are mistreated and forced to pick coconuts used to make milk, flour, oil and other products.
The claims made by Peta have led to a boycott of Thailand’s coconut products by Western retailers.
In the United Kingdom, Waitrose, Ocado, Co-op and Boots have vowed to stop selling some coconut products from Thailand, the BBC reported.
Mr Jurin insisted that using monkeys to pick coconuts on an industrial scale no longer happens in Thailand.
However, the commerce minister did admit that smaller-scale farmers still train the animals to harvest coconuts, both for commercial purposes and as a form of tourist attraction.
While the commerce minister plans to invite foreign diplomats to observe the harvesting of coconuts and show there is no abuse of monkeys in the process, farmers have argued the use of monkeys to collect coconuts has been going on for more than 100 years.
They also insist that monkeys are more efficient than humans when it comes to climbing tall coconut trees.
But, mere denial with a seemingly self-serving attempt to justify traditional practices that are no longer acceptable to international standards appear inadequate in this case.
In its investigation that caused the uproar and later boycott of Thai coconut products, Peta cited eight farms where monkeys are forced to pick coconuts.
The group also visited several monkey training facilities and a coconut picking competition.
According to Peta’s report, many monkeys are illegally taken from the wild and from their families when they are babies. They are fitted with rigid metal collars and kept chained or tethered for extended periods.
Peta also said the monkeys are forced to collect up to 1,000 coconuts per day as if they are coconut-picking machines. Some are transported in cramped cages and others have their canine teeth pulled if they try to resist the training.
The group backed up its claims with a video showing monkeys being kept in small cages and left in the rain as it was transported on the back of a pick-up truck.
The footage also shows others being chained by the neck while sent to work climbing up coconut trees.
Since the information and video shared by Peta are the origins of the boycott, the government must address them instead of beating around the bush.
Engage Peta and enlighten the group if there are any misunderstandings. Where their claims that animal welfare may be compromised whether for the sake of tradition or efficiency are true, the government must make a serious effort to correct them.
As for companies implicated in the campaign, they simply have to provide evidence that they don’t use forced monkey labour as suggested by Peta.
Mr Jurin said the allegations have hurt Thailand’s coconut milk exports which is worth approximately 12.3 billion baht to the country a year. The government must go beyond paying mere lip service to the coconut industry to shore them back up.
Bangkok Post editorial column
These editorials represent Bangkok Post thoughts about current issues and situations.
We’re loving “Eden,” the new ending theme for the second season of Fruits Basket. The nostalgic rock tune comes from MONKEY MAJIK, a four-person group that’s been present in the Japanese music scene but just under the radar for many. If you like their sound, you’ll definitely want to check out more from them!
The group is fronted by Canadian brothers Maynard and Blaise Plant, along with Japanese drummer Tax and bassist Dick. Besides Fruits Basket, the group has supplied themes for anime series including Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan and the film Cyborg 009: Call of Justice. Here are a few more you’ll want for your playlist:
“Ryuugakusei”: A collaboration with singer Taiiku Okazaki, who himself has performed several themes for Pokémon: Sun & Moon. This is technically two songs in one, as MONKEY MAJIK performs a love song while Okazaki sings and raps about the difficulties of studying abroad. But thanks to the rapper using a heavy American accent (as he did in his viral hit “Natural Lips”), the two acts end up performing two entirely different sets of lyrics in almost perfect unison.
Theme from Lupin the III: A classic never dies, and MONKEY MAJIK put their own twist on this legendary theme tune. If you didn’t know it had lyrics — well, now you do. As a bonus, the band even got an animated music video where they face off against the Lupin Gang. This particular video comes from their 15th anniversary performance at Budokan in 2015.
“Golden Road”: One of the group’s newer songs. If you like the gentle vibe of “Eden” from Fruits Basket, this one might hit right, too. With or without the video, this one is sweet, nostalgic, and a bit of a tearjerker. There’s also a behind-the-scenes cut showing the band putting the new tune together.
“Picture Perfect”: A collaboration with m-flo originally released in 2007. The quirky video plays host to a tune that demonstrates the skills and styles of both groups admirably. They also sound fantastic together. Recently, m-flo has guested at MONKEY MAJIK shows to perform this song live.
“Aishiteru”: One more for the Fruits Basket fans! This gentle love song feels like it would be right at home as an anime ending, too.
For more from MONKEY MAJIK, be sure to follow them on YouTube. And don’t forget, their new single “Eden” comes out this week!