ALL over the world, sea turtles are considered an endangered species.
The reasons are many and varied, ranging from over-fishing, poaching and the destruction of its habitat to the fact that men, since time immemorial, have always loved turtle eggs, lovingly fried with onions, olive oil, a touch of garlic and a drizzle of truffle oil.
“You don’t say?” gasped Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri who was a conservationist with the best of them and worried constantly about the fate of sea turtles. Were turtles without a shell homeless or simply naked? he worried, and these were questions that kept him awake at nights,
So it came as something of a shock to hear that Ismail attended an August dinner in Sandakan where the fare had included turtle eggs and lobsters.
Under heavy criticism from conservationists, the rural and regional development minister denied consuming any of the turtle eggs and served up a cast-iron alibi to prove it.
Ismail told Malay Mail Online that his “high cholesterol level” and the medication he took to treat it did not permit him to consume such products.
“Of course not,” Ismail said indignantly. “I wasn’t sure there were turtle eggs there because no one ate it, maybe because I didn’t eat any,” he said in as clear as a bell to anyone who might understand the English language.
“I haven’t eaten any turtle eggs in a long time,” he continued with a sad and reminiscent smile. “The doctor doesn’t allow me to because of my high cholesterol. Turtle eggs are among the things I am prohibited from eating, including cow brains,” he clarified, adding, helpfully, that he only ate fish.
Ismail did not elaborate on the fate of the lobsters that accompanied the meal as that would be bad form insofar as lobsters were also high-cholesterol fare.
True to the noble Malaysian tradition of opening up investigation files with a less than even chance of closing them some time in the foreseeable future, Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) director William Baya says his officers will be questioning the operators of the seafood restaurant as well as the event organisers to find out how turtle eggs made it on the restaurant menu.
It is to be hoped, says oppositionist Lim the Younger gravely, that the investigation “will go faster than the pace of a turtle whose eggs have been stolen.”
Apparently, these creatures moved even slower than a snail. You had to hand it to Lim the Younger who knew the difference between the speeds of snails, glaciers and turtles. His father was even better because he knew that when one was over the hill, one generally picked up speed.
But high cholesterol was no joke and one had to sympathise with Ismail. It, apparently, even accounted for the Mona Lisa’s mystic smile.
According to Dr Vito Franco of the University of Palermo, the Mona Lisa’s intriguing smile was due to excessive levels of cholesterol. Dr Vito said that the Lisa’s facial expression showed a build-up of fatty acids around the eyes.
The model for the painting, arguably the most famous in the world, is thought to be Lisa del Giocondo, a member of a Florence family who married a cloth and silk merchant who could, apparently, afford masses of turtle eggs.
Ismail should thank his lucky stars that he was born at the time he was, when men knew that turtles were endangered and that its eggs were great repositories of cholesterol.
Now he didn’t have to go around life with a perpetually enigmatic smirk which would suggest to other politicians that he knew something that they didn’t and was, therefore, a surefire way to lose elections.
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