The Grumpy Naturalist

Bat Luck (50 second read) 
by Farriz Mashudi 22/06/2020

It used to be that bats brought good luck. Adorning a pewter plaque received as a wedding gift, the word in Mandarin “Fu” being homonymous, symbolised good fortune for our Chinese friends.

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From the Royal Selangor’s Auspicious collections, a customary gift for newlyweds.

Bats depicted in a circle, or better still, with succulent peaches are said to represent a multitude of peachy blessings:

#1. Long life; #2 Health; #3 Wealth; #4 Love of virtue; and #5 A peaceful death

Not one wrought by painful disease.

Now they’re billed as mini Draculas, mutant spreaders of a new coronavirus. What’s happened with the ancient symbol of happiness? Were Chinese ancestors not so wise after all whilst bat colonies bided their time hanging-out in caves waiting to outsmart the world?

The science, it seems, is finally catching up with genus chiroptera. Turns out these five-fingered mammals can carry the virus lethal to humans, but are themselves, unaffected. Like asymptomatic carriers, it’s true bats can boast of long lives, peace and solidarity — if only for themselves.

In a further ironic twist, within the bat family, it’s the horse-shoe species, genus Rhinolophus that’s believed to be the primary culprit behind strains causing respiratory disease such as COVID-19.

Good luck for some, ill-fated for others.

Fate vs. Feng Shui rears its head again in the LATEST POST: Bloom and Tell 22/06/2020

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