Does Anyone Really Think That A Girl’s Boobs Caused An Earthquake?
The Debrief: Ellie Hawkins has been arrested for public indecency, not earthquake brewing…
UPDATE: Eleanor and three co-defendants have been sentenced to three days’ imprisonment and a fine of 5,000 Malaysian ringget (£858) each, the BBC reports.
If you consider that ‘The Naked Rambler’, Stephen Gough, a 56-year-old man who just wants to walk around the UK’s natural hills and valleys and coasts completely naked has spent a total of eight years in prison, and that’s right here in the UK, the sentence seems pretty reasonable for what was, Eleanor admits, a ‘stupid’ mistake.
In bizarre news, five tourists have been held by Malaysian authorities who apparently believe that their stripping off nude (for a photo opportunity) atop a sacred mountain caused an earthquake which killed 18 people.
One of the tourists is 23-year-old Ellie Hawkins, from Derby. Her story is pretty troubling. After posing naked in a photo taken at the top of Mount Kinabulu (with nine other people), the photo was uploaded to social media. Ellie was then arrested at Tawau airport in Sabah on Tuesday and has appeared in court to have her remand extended to Saturday while investigations are made.
While three Canadians and a Dutchman (three boys, one girl) have also been arrested, the tabloids have gone for headlines like: ‘NUDE STUDENT FACES JAIL FOR “CAUSING DEADLY QUAKE”’ and ‘YOUR BOOBS HAVE ANGERED MOUNTAIN GODS’.
Maybe this is because they’re simply focused on Brits abroad, but maybe it’s because it plays into the idea that a woman’s nudity is somehow much worse than a man's.
So what’s going on? You might well ask.
Well, the mountain is sacred in a socially conservative country where both men and women are expected to wear a certain level of clothing. It’s also alleged the tourists urinated on the site where the Kadazan Dusun tribe believe their dead ancestors’ spirits live. It’s like a bunch of tourists pissing on Westminster Abbey or something. And you remember what happened to that student who drunkenly weed on a war memorial, right?
Locals might make their own requests – according to The Mirror Sabah’s chief tribal priest Aman Sirom Sumbawa has said: ‘The spirit of the mountain is very angry. The tourists who angered the guardian of the mountain should pay for their mistakes by giving sogit. This fine, called sogit in the native tongue, should be in the form of 10 male or female buffaloes.’
And according to Sabah’s deputy chief minister, Joseph Pairin Kitingan, the group showed ‘disrespect to the sacred mountain’. He was also quoted as saying: ‘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.’
But there’s no explicit blaming of Ellie or any of her nude cohorts for the earthquake here, it’s just a guy talking about how sacred the mountain is to these people.
Ellie faces no charges of angering any gods or causing any earthquake, reports the BBC. She – and the others – have been arrested because, well, getting naked at a sacred site carries a charge of committing obscene acts in a public place.
We’re not defending Ellie’s arrest, and a potential jail term of three months seems very steep, but as Ellie’s dad put it, perhaps the arrest has been done for her own safety from anyone who might want to seek revenge on her.
‘She is obviously upset. She’s pretty scared. It is not the kind of situation you envisage when your daughter goes travelling.’
Did her boobs cause an earthquake? No. Does anyone think they did? Nope. No-one apart from the British papers, that is.
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Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson
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