Tip: want to stop the haze?

June 19, 2013

“I can very well understand quick gun Shanmugams frustrations – it seems this haze problem is not an easy problem to get on top of. The way I see it, trying to get the Indonesian authorities to put an end to open burning is as effective as trying to plough the sea.

ASEAN is no good either. As everyone is so careful to come across as Mr Nice guy that nothing can come out of it in the form of a solution.

Let me speak frankly corruption is a problem in the Indonesian archipelago. I will leave the rest to your imagination. Besides open burning has been practiced for mellinia – it’s really a way of life that has permeated traditional farming culture – every season during the Kemarau (dry spell), it’s very natural to slash and burn to nourish the soil before replanting.

The only way to solve this problem is to get China and India to put pressure of Indonesia – as these are the primary consumers for crude palm oil.

Concurrent this strategy should be complimented by having a table talk with Robert Kwuok, the great Arowana.

You see it is really very simple, planters are by nature a rebellious lot – they are people who basically do what they like to do regardless of what governments think, say and do – but if they see that the leader of pack is not burning….then even they will follow the leader.

I did not say this. I was not here. This conversation never took place.”


“Do you know who I blame for this haze? I put the blame on Philip Yeo, the great assassin of agriculture in Singapore. When this fool of fools proclaimed like Pharoah, “there is no such thing as agriculture in Sngapore.”

That was the day the haze was born. As if we still had agriculture, it would be our boys over there in Sumatra instead of those cheap pirates and carpetbaggers – and if it was our boys there, they would NEVER burn. As they know that it will hurt the lungs and eyes of their families and loved ones back home.

I see the world in that simplistic fairytale sense – I see the strategic value for us to pursue agriculture in perhaps the same way a defense analyst would go about the business of purchasing 20 tanks or one submarine – it’s strategic, which is really just another way of saying that if you control that one bridge, then it would allow you do so many things to influence, interdict and in cases even use as a bargaining chip – to me agriculture is not a man whose just digging a hole – it’s cutting edge science, developing new strains of crops, genetic engineering and developing sustainment means to feed the world.

The reason why I see it that way is, if you’re a small country, then it’s not true to say there is NO agriculture – that is not the way sane people go about framing sensible questions to produce meaningful answers – a better way to frame it is in the rhetorical i.e since we are so small and do not have land – we should try to control the know how of farming – do that and you have a stake in your neighbors backyard and that will allow you to influence events – besides, you always need something to hold the nuts of your bigger neighbors.

Be really good at one thing and you will control many things.

Portugal is a very small country. But they have great maritime maps and that allowed them to insert themselves strategically into 18th century politics of the spice wars.

One reality, what your neighbors will always affect you. Even, if they sneeze or fart – it will affect you more, it’s a Laurel and hardy thing, the dynamics of being small – if 30 years ago someone had seen the strategic value of agriculture. If that person had the imagination to look at a map of South East Asia and say to himself, there’s a hell of a lot of virgin real estate around us. Maybe we should put ourselves somewhere in this lush greenery, just in case – maybe we should start a rice institute – research ways to make airplanes fly on palm oil – send men to the field to send home to our universities – then I think, we can very easily put an end to this haze business.

But as it is, we had atomic bomb, there is no agriculture in Singapore. So everyone packs their bags and go back home – we stay small forever – we leave it all to our neighbors. We say this is the good and right way. As we don’t want to be seen as imperialistic. So we end up with the haze.

A thing can be strategic. Everything can turn on the caprice and vagaries of that one thing.

As the skill of arms necessary to control a thing means agriculture will always be the wonder weapon for a small country. Make sense right. Because no land. Go to other people’s land lah – along with the power to splice a cell and change a red tulip into blue. The capacity to send men deep into the jungle without complaining about mosquitoes.

If these things are all there. All our problems will melt away like lemon drops.

Tomorrow will be a clear and beautiful day.

OK, that’s all in the past. What do you do now?”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: