KUNDASANG, June 6 — The earthquake that has so far claimed 11 lives here was caused by the sacrilegious act of a group of Europeans who stripped naked on the peak of Mount Kinabalu, according to Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan.
The Huguon Siou (paramount leader of the Kadazandusun) condemned the “uncivilised” and disrespectful actions of the 10 Europeans, and called for the culprits to be brought to a native court and charged according to local customs.
Despite how it looks, they’re not on the beach; they’re on a plateau near the top of Mount Kinabalu in the state of Sabah, Malaysia, where a magnitude 5.9 earthquake shook the area five days later on June 5. They are the naked tourists who defiled Mount Kinabalu and brought on the earthquake.
The Kadazandusun is a combined group of two tribes totalling over half-a-million people. Their “paramount leader” says, “Whether other people believe this or not, it’s what we Sabahans believe. When the earthquake happened, it’s like a confirmation of our beliefs. It is a sacred mountain and you cannot take it lightly.” Locals there believe the spirits of their ancestors live in the sacred mountain.
Naked tourists cause earthquake
It turns out that on May 30, a group of 10 European tourists broke away from their group of 27 at the mountain’s summit and decided to get naked and take pictures. A mountain guide reprimanded them, and they allegedly told him to “go to hell.” Now the Kadazandusun people believe the mountain has been defiled and they have to perform rituals to appease the mountain spirits.
Paramount Leader Pairin said he saw a flight of swallows during breakfast one day and knew something was wrong. Well, of course. Everybody knows swallows flying around during breakfast means trouble. Don’t they? “At first I didn’t think anything of it,” he said, “but after it went on for more than half an hour I knew something was not well. I brought it up with my wife and we both agreed that something bad was going to happen.” And sure enough, there was an earthquake the next day that killed at least 11 people.
“There is almost certainly a connection,” he said. “We have to take this as a reminder that local beliefs and customs are not to be disrespected.” He added that the tourists should face action under native laws and be banned from returning. This man sounds like Pat Robertson.
It’s difficult to believe that government officials in a large nation like Malaysia can be so superstitious, until we think of our own leaders. There’s no substantial difference between believing this nonsense about the mountain, earthquakes, and naked tourists and believing the nonsense our officials and (especially) our candidates say they believe about virgin births, resurrections, and creationism. Nonsense is nonsense.
CNN News reports that “The suspects could face up to three months in jail or a fine if convicted.” The ten naked tourists, if reports are correct, are probably guilty of disorderly conduct. And maybe even some version of disobeying a public official. At last report, five of them had been arrested and the other five were thought to still be in the country.
They should all probably get fines or maybe a few days in jail for desecrating a sacred shrine, but they should not suffer worse because of the silly superstitions of the local people.