REMEMBERING: Zen Malang: A hedgehog and a fox

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 28 March) — A Greek parable compares human nature to foxes and hedgehogs, stating  “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”


Isaiah Berlin argued that the foxes pursue many goals and interests at the same time. As a result, their thinking is scattered and unfocused, and ultimately they achieve very little. Hedgehogs, however, simplify the world and focus on a single, overarching vision, which they then achieve.

Zen Malang* achieved his life goals as a humanitarian and human rights advocate in the hotspots and conflict zones of the world as a hedgehog but he was a fox in his other interests, which in his case was not such a bad thing, because it made him even more relatable as a person since his other interests tended to the simple pleasures of life and being in touch with the world around him. Hence, he was an avid adventurer and traveler even if it’s only in his own backyard in Mindanao going fishing or trekking or just hanging out in a favorite beach.

*Atty. Zainudin ‘Zen’ Malang succumbed to a rare cancer in his home in Cotabato City on 20 March 2021. He was 54

Zen will be missed by those who knew him as a hedgehog but also by those whom he journeyed with as a fox for in truth what Zen and we all know is that what makes us who we are is not a separation of our traits but the totality of the person.”

(Lawyer Ishak V. Mastura is chair of the Bangsamoro’s Regional Board of Investments).