Do you know why the ostrich wanted to cross the Federal Highway?

I can mow reveal – in the strictest confidence, mind – that said ostrich was of Roman descent and it was afraid that someone would Caesar!

It was the talk of Kuala Lumpur on that Thursday evening. An ostrich identified only as Chickaboo – Italian for “why am I always surrounded by turkeys?” – made a run for it after it leapt out of its truck near University Malaya and pelted down the Federal Highway at speeds of close to 35 kilometres an hour. It was, however, not charged for impeding traffic as it was travelling much faster than the traffic around it.

The fast, feathered fugitive then embarked on a hour-long, flightless frolic of its own. According to this newspaper, the fowl fiend was finally flummoxed and pinned down at around 4.15pm by two rescuers, identified only as the heroic Agus and Shunmugavael.

The bird had, apparently, belonged to an ostrich farm in Semenyih although no one can explain what it was doing driving a truck near University Malaya.

Agus and Shunmugavel should be considered for medals of valour in the face of overwhelming might. Ostriches are the largest and heaviest birds on the planet. They are between seven and nine feet tall and can weigh up to 350 pounds.

OK, the poor fellows cannot fly but, on the other hand, you don’t see them getting sucked into jet engines either. You have to put these things in perspective. The sinking of the Titanic, for example, was both a tragedy and a triumph – a tragedy for its passengers but a triumph for the lobsters awaiting the chef’s ministrations.

Listening to the radio then, I was struck by the number of people calling up to profess concern for the feathered fugitive There is no doubt about it: human beings generally do care about the creatures on this good earth especially when they are not eating or wearing them.

What, you might ask, will happen to Chickaboo of no last name, that defiant Italian chick with long legs and massive sprinting ability, now impossibly stuck miles away from Rome and in the green, bowels of Semenyih?

Nothing apparently. We have been told that it belonged to an altruistic farm peopled by brave but benign gentlemen with no last names – Agus and Shun, for instance – and the mighty Chickaboo will live out its speedy life, eschewing pasta, and getting used to Malaysian cuisine. 

In short, Chickaboo was born free and, much to the chagrin of red-meat lovers the world over, would never be a candidate for the cooking pots of Asia.

In short, like the sheep that gives us steel wool, Chickaboo had no natural enemies except for disease, old age and high cholesterol associated with an unvarying Malaysian diet.

It was free to roam the meadows of Semenyih and do whatever it was ostriches do when they are left free to roam the meadows in Semenyih.

I can almost hear you sigh, dear reader. Was that a sigh of contentment, of things ending up in their proper place and of happy endings fading into the sunset?

Or was that a sigh of vexation at bleeding-heart, animal-lover liberals who had risen to the top of the food chain only to become vegetarians?

Meanwhile, back at the farm in Semenyih……

This first appeared in June 2016