The day the Spectre of Famine hangs over the countryside
October 25, 2012
I struggle with my confidence. Yesterday, I had to had to sit through six excruiting hours of meeting trying to balance the interest of my little community as a farmer alongside the larger interest of oil mill owners.
We are all supposed to find a solution to solve the pressing problem of depressed prices of oil palm. Lately the price of palm oil has been plummeting. This has had a dramatic impact on the rural economy. The mood is nervous and already I can see that many in the community are beginning to tighten their belts.
It didn’t take me very long to figure out many of these people really only care about their own interest – there are so many things that I want to do. So many things where we simply have to come together and reach a consensus. But it seems everyone is just concern about how best to protect their own interest and welfare – all I can really do is watch quietly. Yes, I am still struggling with my confidence. Yes, I feel small. Yes, I even feel like a small tiny sampan sailing in blue waters with supertankers. I want to stand up and say that this is all wrong…but it seems the noise they all make only seems to drown out what I have to say.
I realize this is all my fault. If I had a bigger hectarage, perhaps I wouldn’t be so weak and ineffectual. Yes, I need to work harder to acquire more land so that my sphere of influence increases.
Meanwhile, I have no answers. Only plenty of questions. Yes, I struggle with my confidence. I even know what I am confronted with is so big that it can probably crush me like an ant – and all I can really do is watch it go by, like something that is so big and powerful moving along – how does one even begin to stop such a thing? Where does one even begin to apply the brakes and will it stop?
"The most painful thing for any man to bear is to watch helplessly as something begins to unravel right before him. At first, he may well believe he can do something. He makes a few calculation. He tries. Then he discovers there is more. He fights it. And tomorrow again more comes his way. It's relentless. And very slowly reality begins to chip at the man bit by bit – till he finally realizes that he can do absolutely nothing but watch it all unravel in utter horror."