Friday, August 18, 2017

Guess who tops Myanmar’s rich-list?

If people say I’m the kind of guy who is not even worth as much as an animal, I tend to feel slightly offended. Nevertheless, it has become a fact that a human does not cost as much as an animal.

I’ll explain why. Recently I read in a news journal about a deal in which someone paid K1.7 billion for a 3.5-foot (1.05-metre) gecko, known as a dauk de in Myanmar for the distinctive noise they make at night. Yes, that’s more than US$2 million for a lizard. The journal also carried a photo of a man cradling the gecko in his arms. After the deal was done, another person apparently offered K5 billion but it had already been sold.

If only I could have known that geckoes would fetch such a good price one day, I would have bred and sold geckoes instead of pursuing an education. I regret to think of the many times I caned geckoes to death when they managed to get inside my house. When I was a child, one-foot-long (30-centimetre) geckoes weighing at least 25 ticals (406 grams) were abundant. Now people are scrambling to buy those weighing as little as 20 ticals (325 grams).

When I ask why a gecko, of all the species around us, is worth millions of dollars, nobody can say for sure, except that it must be able to perform miracles in fighting HIV or cancer. Nevertheless, the fact is geckoes are worth more than a human – that’s why people are trafficking geckoes rather than humans. (Trafficking the latter could also land you in jail.)

Of late I’ve been conducting thorough searches of my house at night for geckoes, to the point where I’m panting heavily. When I was praying I used to wish that I would win the K100-million lottery prize but now I have changed my wish to keep up with today’s circumstances. Instead I wish to catch a gecko in my house that is more than a foot long and weighs at least 25 ticals.

If you listen carefully, you’ll notice you can barely hear the sound of geckoes anymore. Each and every hollow tree has been searched thoroughly by gecko hunters and as a result there are no geckoes left.

I think selling drugs that lengthen or fatten geckoes would be more profitable than catching them. You could print before and after photos of the geckoes as advertisements in journals. “Gain 10 ticals in just one month,” the ad would read.

You may ask how I can make these drugs, given I’m not a veterinarian. But it’s quite easy: I will mix pig and chicken weight-gain drugs with chilli powder into a pill. (Even some young women knowingly take weight-gain drugs made for pigs.) If that doesn’t work, I’ll offer intravenous glucose injections made especially for geckoes. I will also suggest to my veterinarian friend Dr Khin San Maw, a veterinarian, that she puts up a sign at her clinic reading: “Specialising in geckoes.”

– Translated by Thit Lwin