Everybody will be kung-fu fighting
In getting ready to go to Madagascar, one of the most surprising things Mrs. Angus and I have learned in our reading is that the country is kung-fu crazy!
According to the BBC:
Kung fu primarily appeals to Madagascar's middle class youth of both sexes, with some students beginning as young as four. But it also has a following in the older sections of society.
"Ministers, doctors, lawyers, and especially priests all practise kung fu," explains Charles Andriamihaja, the president of the AAKUFUMA Kung Fu Society of Madagascar.
The discipline hit the island in the 1970s and was a factor in protests against the authoritarian rule of President Ratsiraka, who banned its practice.
Current President Ravalomanana is a whole other story though. He has his own voluntary kung-fu security detail (at least he did in 2002). Here's how one local practitioner describes his prez:
"Ravalomanana reflects the ideology of the kung fu and that is why we must protect him,"
Ellie Rajaonarison (a Malagasy poet) breaks it down for us:
"The kung fu movement was about protecting people,"
"Kung fu fighters today occupy something of a mystical space in the Madagascan psyche because of their strength and power and for what they stood up for during the 1980s."Thank goodness me and Mrs. Angus practiced Tae Kwon Do for a couple years. We'll be aiight.