At least I'm not a hypocrite.

In order to kill two birds with one stone you'll need a really big rock and amazing accuracy. It's possible to get more than you bargained for out of a single exchange, and more importantly, no animals need be harmed.

Admittedly, I was less than interested upon hearing of a movie featuring endangered orangutans , but you'd be amazed how quickly things can change. "Attend this film, write a short review and you'll receive extra credit on an exam," said my American Foreign Policy professor. Immediately a rush of environmental activism shot through my veins, and I began to wonder how I could help. The doctor hosting the event is possibly the most motivating instructor I've had in over 6 years of university. I owed it to him, the orangutan community and my flourishing GPA to be a conscious citizen.

A traveler longs to trot the globe, but if he looks closely the globe will come to him.

As it turns out, the sell of orangutans as pets in Asia is a serious issue. The mid fifties saw an increased in public interest for them as entertainment at zoos. Orangutan trade boomed during the 80's, especially from Sumatra and BornBorneoeo, Malaysia, while having them as pets became a common practice. However, the buyers often had no idea of how to care for them and they were neglected once time eroded their cute childhood features. Various efforts including forest protection and shelters were implemented, but it's still estimated that only 20% remain in the wild with mild success from those repatriated.

The film ended and all of sudden I was actually interested in the well-being of Malaysian orangutans. The film brought and insight to ignorance which none of my classes (although very informative) would have taught me. I had to know more about the filmmaker, Ke Chin-Yuan, and his passion, and was the first raise my hand during the Q&A session. However, I had to ask my question in English while his assistant translated.

Without regard for the process I questioned away, and a few moments after she whispered to him. Chin-Yuan looked directly in my eyes and began to answer in Chinese. I know less Chinese than I do about orangutans. All I could do is stare directly at him, the whole time wondering how patronizing it would be to nod as if I understood. Shortly after, the assistant translated, and I nodded the most ardent nod ever nodded.

So, I only know a little bit about orangutans and can't speak Chinese. At least I'm not a hypocrite.

For more information about Ke Chin-YUan visit