Sunday, August 10, 2008

Squeal Like A Pig

The expression "squeal like a pig" has always made me think of the book Deliverance by James Dickey. Well, that's officially changed as of the other morning.

At around 8AM in Tam Dao I heard the most awful noise I've ever heard in my life. The noise sounded like a combination of Freddy Krueger's nails going across a chalk board mixed with that ear-piercing screech that sometimes results from a microphone being too close to it's transmitter (actually I don't really know why mics screech but that sounds like it makes sense).

I instinctively winced and said out loud, "What is that?" Huyen looked at me and said, "I think they're killing a pig." I got up and looked out the window and indeed they were killing a pig. THANK GOODNESS we were four flights up (FUN FACT: The Vietnamese fourth floor is the fifth floor in America) which I imagine helped conceal some of the gruesomeness of the scene. Basically two people were holding down a pig as a third slit its throat and drained the blood into a basin. The pig was clearly alive and suffering terribly. Two thoughts ran through my mind:

1. Why can't they just kill it fast and then drain the blood?

2. I answered my own question based on a recent re-reading of the Thomas Hardy book Jude The Obscure. There is a scene in the book where Jude has to kill a pig. He desperately wants to kill it quickly but his wife makes him do it slowly because it makes the meat more delicious and tender. In the end, Jude kills the pig fast because he can't stand hearing/seeing the pig in pain.

Did I mention this was all happening at my HOTEL....fifteen feet from the front door! Imagine being woken up at the Ritz to them killing your breakfast in the lobby.

Well, I shot a video of this scene but you really can't see anything -- thankfully. That said, I'm still not gonna post it.

For those of you who are wondering, I ate pork this afternoon for lunch. And well, it was delicious.