There’s a lot to be said for distance learning.

For instance, I can go online and learn about animals I’d never heard of a few minutes before. I can look up articles and I can watch videos. I can find out, for instance, that there’s a creature in Indonesia that looks like a badger but is really related to skunks.

I could also go to Indonesia and have someone tell me about these creatures there, at some distance from them. Maybe I could see one a little ways away in the forest. That might still be distance learning, sort of.

Or I could come closer and closer. And then, within a certain radius of the badger-looking beastie, I could discover just how much like skunks they really are. I would get a direct personal experience of their scent-spraying abilities… still at a distance from them. Which, I guess, would also count as distance learning. Not only because I’d be learning at a small distance (and a greater inconvenience), but because I’d be learning to keep my distance.

Such are the dimensions of teledu.

No, teledu is not formed from tele, as in television, referring to distance, and edu, as in education (from Latin e, ‘out of’ – as in e pluribus unum – and duc– ‘lead, draw’). It is not a word for distance education. The du is pronounced like “do” or “doo,” not like “due” or “dew” or “d’you” (actually, in the speech of a Canadian like me, do, due and dew all sound the same, but I know there is a difference for many other people). The word, as a whole, is taken from Malay.

Yes, teledu is the name of that badger-looking skunk relative from Indonesia. It’s not the only name of it. It’s also called the Sunda stink badger, Malay stink badger, Javan stink badger, and Indonesia stink badger (there’s another kind of stink badger, the Palawan stink badger, or pantot, which is native to an island in the Philippines).

I can’t give you a direct experience of the smell of the teledu – just as well, I’m sure. But I can give you a look at it. Just turn on your television – ha, I mean click on the video below – and see one wandering around in the night, harried by a flashlight and video camera, though not quite to the point of spraying. And there’s your teledu distance education.

One response to “teledu

  1. Teledu’nt! Aww, what a cute lil feller.

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