Feature

Singapore: Choking on our neighbor’s indifference

Singaporeans are gasping for breath because of the smoke wafting over from forest fires in Indonesia.

Chua Mui HoongStraits Times

Singaporeans are gasping for breath, said Chua Mui Hoong. The smoke wafting over from forest fires in Indonesia has polluted our air for weeks, sending the air toxicity index to historic highs and forcing us to hide indoors, where the smell still penetrates. But our discomfort goes beyond the smog. Singaporeans are also “smarting from and choking on the callous indifference of Indonesian ministers and officials” and their “shameless attempts to shift the blame.” When Singapore complained, one Indonesian minister said our government was “behaving like a child” by fussing about a weather event. But illegally setting a fire to clear land is not an act of nature. It is “a willful act of greedy company executives and irresponsible farm owners, condoned by officials who close an eye to such practices.” Another Indonesian minister was even more insulting, saying that the biggest offenders were Singaporean owners of big palm oil plantations, and suggesting we rein them in. Frankly, Singapore would be only too happy to take action against any of our own companies that might be causing the haze, but we have to rely on Indonesian officials to tell us who the offenders are. Once they do that, we citizens can spring into action, launching “consumer protests and boycotts.” For now, we have to protest by email—because the air is too hazardous for an outdoor rally.

Recommended

Great Britain has its 1st Catholic prime minister. Surprise!
Boris Johnson, Carrie Symonds
Things that make you go hmmmmm...

Great Britain has its 1st Catholic prime minister. Surprise!

Biden suspends Trump's 25 percent tariff on Scotch whisky
Scotch
Slàinte mhath

Biden suspends Trump's 25 percent tariff on Scotch whisky

Almost all operations shut down as COVID-19 outbreak hits U.S. Embassy in Kabul
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul.
coronavirus crisis

Almost all operations shut down as COVID-19 outbreak hits U.S. Embassy in Kabul

Biden's Putin meeting rehabilitated his image in Russia
Joe Biden
Image upgrade

Biden's Putin meeting rehabilitated his image in Russia

Most Popular

Bernie Sanders wants to know if cannabis reporter is 'stoned' right now
Bernie Sanders.
Sounds dope

Bernie Sanders wants to know if cannabis reporter is 'stoned' right now

Georgia election workers reportedly received a 'torrent' of threats
Trump rally.
The big lie

Georgia election workers reportedly received a 'torrent' of threats

Late night hosts pan Marjorie Taylor Greene's Holocaust apology
Trevor Noah
Last Night on Late Night

Late night hosts pan Marjorie Taylor Greene's Holocaust apology