A very difficult 2014

January 30, 2014

If the freaky weather we have been experiencing lately is anything to go by. It seems 2014 is likely to be one of those epic fuck years that everyone is going to struggle through – I have all but given up on trying to predict the weather. As for the weather bureau they’re none the wiser either as mother nature seems to be throwing out harbingers and curve balls galore of late.

The freakish weather presents many unforeseen problems to commercial farmers – since time immemorial those who have turned the wheel of life from the grace of the good earth have relied on an almanac to guide them when to sow, harvest, winnow etc. Now it seems, everything is right up in the air, even the birds are confused – saw a flock of cranes flying the wrong direction last evening. Even the rambutan and durian trees have begun to flower, 6 months off season – as for the palm, yield has dropped by nearly 50% lately and most farmers are starting to wonder whether perhaps the specter of hard times has reared it’s evil head – as it hasn’t rained in the last 14 days and the spell of dry and cool weather that has been brought by the Northesterlies is causing crops to take longer to ripen.

I am very worried for the welfare of my community. Last night I went down to the kopitiam and played a round of mahjong with the elders – I told the towkay’s we all need to prioritize the welfare of kampung folk and consider giving work to only the locals and not to Bangladeshi’s who seem to be flooding in from the city in lieu of the crackdown on illegal workers – I told them that hard times are coming and if we don’t wean ourselves from the narcotic of cheap foreign labor, we are likely to sow the seeds of discontent and reap a whirlwind of grief. But if we make sure there is enough money to circulate in the pasar malam, warungs and local community, the pain can be cut considerably – I did not get very far with them…none of the plantation owners seem to share my sentiments…or maybe they just bochap…I am starting to realise I can no longer work with these people. We are so far apart on the basics, there is no basis to even forge common ground. All we can really do is agree to disagree. I will do my own thing from now onwards. Meanwhile I need to work secretly to undermine their influence.

For the short term, I have to work on a new methodology to bump up yield amid freakish weather patterns. I am currently experimenting with a few ideas, but I have been experiencing a lot of problems with regard to resolving some of my scientific farming equations – as since the weather has been so siaow (erratic) it’s hard to impossible for me to come out with any reliable working assumptions – can’t rely on historical rain fall and temp tabula data, cannot even assume past events is a reliable indicator of what is to come… in truth, I don’t nearly have what it takes to crunch the numbers to come out with a confident strategy – I would need to improvise by taking small steps and just monitoring the results…small…careful….ginger steps as I try to go thru as best I can what seems to be like a very difficult year…..I must work harder. Above all this year will really test my mettle in the craft making a living out of the land.

I remain hopeful….


“Due to lack of rain which is extremely unusual this time of the year. Fertilisation strategy would be tweaked as follows: batch per palm limited to 1.3 kg (NPK) with 150 grammes of Fertibor Boron – Magnesium will hold till it rains / crinkled young pinea and White spot has appeared – pruning of older fronts will be effected to trick palm to fruit.”

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