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April 6, 2009 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]


If this is the first time you’ve heard of Pingu, I pity you. This clay-based animation has touched the hearts of many. Following a family of penguins residing in the South Pole, it does what any good children’s program does: it teaches us lessons. For example, who knew that seals could be our friends? Or that penguins can fly to the moon? Not I, not I. Oh, Pingu! We love you.

Pingu only ever says one thing: “Noot-noot”. But he enlightens us with universal truths. You have to ask yourself, why else do we keep coming back for more? Why else would David Hasselhoff write a song about him? No, it’s not just because he’s a penguin. It’s because we all see a little of ourselves in those blackened eyes and bright red beak.

Pingu teaches us important life lessons. During my high school years, it was Pingu who consoled me at my lowest points. When I was down, all I’d have to do watch an episode. He let me know that if I had a fish, I’d be happy. He was right (of course). So, in the name of research, I watched a few episodes to extract this worldly wisdom. It brought back my yearning to be a penguin.

Here are some episodes that really spoke to me:

“Stinky Pingu” emphasised the power of being smelly. If you want time alone, just cover yourself with fish bones and other foul substances. It worked a charm for Pingu. However, be warned. If you have a sibling, they can and will create aromas even more potent.

“Pingu’s Lavatory Story” told a very poignant truth: if you desperately need a toilet, you can be assured that it will almost always be in use. If push comes to shove, just piss on the floor. If Pingu did it, why not?

“Pingu’s Bouncy Fun” showed that penguins with deep voices command respect. Enough said.

“Pingu’s Pancakes” illustrated the sophistication of penguins. One can’t help but admire their modern living; igloos for homes, ovens to cook, working toilets and even cutlery. That’s fine living right there. What’s fascinating is that they love pancakes. Pancakes and fish… Mmmmmm.

If you think Pingu is some adolescent penguin, confined to the narrow-mindedness of the South Pole, you’d be wrong. He is also a pop star. He made his fame in the much talked about ‘Eskimo-disco’. It’s rather exciting. There are cheerleading crabs, motorbikes and some funky moves from Pingu himself. Sad to say however, no other music videos were made ever again.

Everyone knows that poetry is the language of love. So I wasn’t surprised to find pages of Pingu odes. Here is a small sample, which I feel, exemplifies Pingu’s popularity as well as illustrating why we love him so much:

Oh anthropomorphic penguin,
Thou is great,
And if you would let me,
I’d be your mate.

Haunting, haunting words. I also found this one:

Pingu, when you cried at that mysteriously sad letter,
My head exploded with walrus farts from planet xorb,
Your tiny clay tear froze fast to the ice,
Every injustice ever done to humanity was meaningless. …

My first born will bear your name.¹

(I decided mine will too)

In my own attempt at poetry, I only got as far as this:

I love you.
Will you marry me?

However, instead of scarring you for life, I thought it best if I end with the words of David Hasselhoff:

OK everybody, this is the Pingu prance
All everybody have to do the Pingu dance
My name is Pingu, come on dance to the beat
It’s easy if you try just watch my feet

Or… you could just stick with the Wong view. Noot-noot!


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