REGINA – A brother and sister from Saskatchewan say they are “deeply sorry” for taking off their clothes on top of a sacred mountain in Malaysia.
Lindsey and Danielle Petersen have released a statement saying they did not mean to offend anyone and were not aware of the spiritual significance of Mount Kinabalu.
“The contents of our hearts and everything else that was laid bare during our summit experience were a reflection of the exuberance and joy we felt for our achievement of climbing the tallest peak in Southeast Asia,” says the statement.
“There was absolutely no ill intent.”
The siblings were among 10 foreigners who stripped naked and took photos on the mountain on May 30.
A local official has said their behaviour was disrespectful and caused an earthquake a few days later that killed 18 climbers.
The Canadians, along with Dutch citizen Dylan Snel and British student Eleanor Hawkins, were arrested and spent three days in jail before pleading guilty to public indecency. They were also fined the equivalent of about $1,600 Canadian each and immediately deported.
The Petersens arrived back in Saskatchewan over the weekend. A person who answered the phone at their parents’ home in Wood Mountain, southwest of Regina, declined comment.
Lindsey Petersen, an engineering graduate from the University of Regina, had detailed his travels throughout Asia over the last seven months on Facebook. When his sister joined him in Bali, Indonesia, in April, he referred to them as the “dynamic duo.”
The story of their detention in Malaysia made headlines around the world and sparked a discussion on respect for cultural beliefs.
“This is an experience that we have learned from and will never forget,” the siblings say in the statement.
It ends with a quote from Mark Twain: “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.”