Dear SBY – Indonesia On Fire And Singapore In Smoke

Dear SBY: I am a huge fan of you.  I voted for you to be the next Indonesia president – in my heart.  The same thing I did for Obama years later.  Guess what?  Both of you have won.  I knew somehow, by the power of the invisible universal linkages, my vote counts.  Anyway, back to the purpose of this letter.  As you may know by now that Indonesia is again on fire.  And Singapore is hence in smoke.  In Spanish, there is a saying: no hay mal que por bien no venga.  That roughly translates to without bad things, good things won’t come.  Or in English, every haze has a silver lining.  It is true.  The other day, my wife and I got into our car, drove out of our condo, and under a thick blanket of haze I pointed at the sky and exclaimed, “Look at that orange salted egg yolk in the sky!”  It was beautiful.  National Geography should visit Singapore for a special tour.  Just like what they did for Australia when the sandstorm appeared not too long ago.  We debated what it could be.  Cynthia said it was the sun.  I said it was the moon and later on corrected myself that it should be the planet Mars.

I read with great interest that in your world, your people set fire on land in order to create land space for agriculture and what not.  I turned to my wife from Indonesia one evening and asked, “Why not chop the trees and sell the wood instead of burning them away?”  I am a big fan of deforestation.  I think we have way passed the point of no return as far as global warming is concerned.  Cynthia’s immediate reaction was that it is much effective and efficient to use fire.  In normal days, if Singapore was 10,000 km away from your country like we to Spain, I would not even care the why and the how.  Like Madagascar that has lost 90% of the original forest due to human activities such as slash-and-burn farming.  Do you care?  Do I care?

I cannot argue with the fact that this haze that lingers despite the heavy downpour we have in Singapore has created some of the most romantic atmosphere.  This dusk, while I was driving on the highway, under the orange color street lamps, I could see rows and rows of orange spheres floating meters above the ground diffused onto each other.  What a beautiful yet unusual sight!  Some cars turned on the fog light, which in normal days I would have cursed upon their inconsiderate act of hurting my eyes while trying to look cool.  But today, I felt the necessity, for better road safety.  Still, there was a terrible accident on the highway.  One car was sandwiched by two taxis.  Was it something to do with the haze?  Nobody knows.  When will the haze disappear?  Nobody knows.  Will your people finally try other ways to create fields?  You tell me.  Nobody knows.

On a lighter topic, I am often intrigued by Indonesia politics.  I like the president who could not see.  I also like the president who was a housewife.  Out of all the presidents you have, the picture of Habibie holding a shoe inside his car is my favorite.  It was featured on the newspapers around the world.  If I remember correctly, he had visited a local market, bought himself a pair of Indonesian made shoes, and the message he was trying to convey was: buy local.  I wish Singaporean could do the same.  The other day, I was eying on the World of Warcraft Headset proudly produced by a Singaporean based manufacturer called Creative.  It features a – allow me to quote from the brochure – professional grade microphone, ensuring everyone can hear your shout of “Heal Me! Heal Me!” in all of its resonant glory.  I want it bad.  But when I compare the price in Singapore with the same headset that is sold in America, it is still cheaper to import from US than to buy local.  Imagine the carbon footprint involved!  Whenever I ponder upon this, the imagine of Habibie pops up in my head, with him holding out his shoe inside his car mouthing: buy local.  What do you think?  Shall I import the headset from US, save some money, and screw the environment?

Where was I?  Oh, I remember.  I am writing to petition on behalf of all the residents including my mother-in-law and my relatives who live next to Bandung Supermal.  Ever since the arrival of a mall – which I must say, it looks grand and suiting to the most beautiful city in Indonesia – the residents have been under severe water shortage problem.  I sincerely hope that you could personally look into this matter and have it resolved asap.  Because Cynthia and I are planning to visit Bandung later this year.  I still wish to shower with water, twice a day.

17 responses to “Dear SBY – Indonesia On Fire And Singapore In Smoke”

  1. I am amazed by how you are able to convey a frustrating situation with humour. I sure hope you will get a reply from SBY and let me know what are his thoughts about your purchase from US. 🙂

    • J – Wow, the hazy situation has worsen today! Perhaps I shall change my tone after all and gang up with our Malaysian neighbor who also suffers a lot if more more due to this Indonesia fire.

      Sure thing. If SBY writes back on what I should do with my purchase from US, you will be the first to know! Hehehe.

      • Wilfrid, how’s the haze now? Perhaps you could put the purchase of the headset on hold and invest on an air purifier instead? 😛

        • J – Ha ha ha. The haze condition is now pretty much gone. I think Malaysia and Singapore have collectively made enough noise that Indonesia has sent extra fire fighters to handle the situation before it escalated.

          On a side note, the first reaction from Indonesia was something like: Hey, over the years, we have supplied you with so much free oxygen, now that you have a bit of smoke coming your way and you complain so much?

          Something like that … he he he. Quite funny.

          • Right, thanks so much for the air and the extra ingredients in the air lately. Must be a bonus for accepting the air from Indonesia all these years. 😀 I was born and raise in family. Used to stay in a condo on level 15 and I can see how much the malaysian air deterioate over the years. It is not all Indonesia’s fault though the forest burning do caused the air quality dipped even more. My family and alot of my dear friends are in family, so I do have concerns over their health and you guys, make more noise and save the people. 😀

            • Geez, not sure what’s wrong with me. Must be the coffee….I meant to say I was born and raised in Malaysia……and my family and alot of my dear friends are in Malaysia…..let’s see if I’ve got this right, Malaysia, Malaysia, Malaysia, Malaysia. 😀

            • J – Ha ha ha … I hear you. Ah, I didn’t know that you are born in Malaysia 🙂 Now that you are in … Canada? The air must be good there eh?

              I used to have very bad sensitive nose when I was in Hong Kong. But after I studied in UK, that seems to have gone away – by and large.

              How often do you go back to Malaysia may I ask?

  2. The haze has put a stop to my outdoor runs 🙁
    But to be honest, I am so used to this, I am not even upset by the situation anymore.

    Seriously?! The same headset is cheaper when imported from US?!
    Wow! Would never have expected that!

    • G – You better not joy outdoor! The haze is getting worse. Very bad for health.

      Good to hear that you are getting used to this. As for me, I have been coughing and sneezing. Last night, I woke up choking, could not breath for a moment or two.

      Yes. The headset is sold in a retail shop here for S$199. Buy direct from Creative online is S$189. US is selling at $120 (which is about S$150-ish). You would have thought that it should be much cheaper to buy in Singapore since Creative is based here eh?

    • Cynthia – Do you think SBY is interesting in playing WoW? I suppose I could send him an invite via email and get my one month free subscription!

  3. Very interesting post 🙂
    I like the way you write about politic and environment without makin’ it sound terrifying like we always heard here in Indonesia. I also vote for SBY and start questioning my sense because he turns-out well…so so.

    Wow I didn’t know you have relatives in Bandung. I also lives there. You’re right, most of commercial building in Bandung include apartments deliver some sort of problems. Water, electricity and contribute to Bandung traffic problems as well. nevertheless, Bandung still a save place to live than many other country in Indonesia

    And i really really hope one of those guy sitting in the cabinet (if not SBY himself) would read your post, you had a very nice point of view 🙂

    • Renata – Thank you for dropping by! Yes, I visit Bandung at least once a year. Bandung is by far the prettiest city in Indonesia. So much to offer. Just that infrastructure-wise, I am wishing that things will get improved progressively. Like the highway that connects Bandung with Jakarta.

      I am not so sure how SBY would react if he is to read this … ha ha ha. Anyway, looking at SBY or Indonesia today, the country is certainly better under his leadership – foreign affair included. My humble thought as such 🙂

      • I agree 🙂
        They mentioned about a monorail and more city highways to help fixing the traffic in Bandung. There’s even rumor about cable car few years to come, interesting :p

  4. Hopefully I will get to go home for the first time next year. Just moved here 6 months ago with my husband and baby. The air quality is good in Edmonton, where I lived. I was told Edmonton is the city with the lowest population density in Canada. I believe air quality in big cities like Toronto and Vancouver will always be compromised. Read this if the contents and ranting interest you. 🙂 –

    • J – Interesting! I thought most people desire to migrate to Toronto or Vancouver. Edmonton! You must be enjoying the low population density then 🙂

      Very interesting link you have dropped here, from first glance. I will certainly pay another visit soon … hehehe.

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