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

Plane carrying aid can't land in Tonga after COVID case reported on board
Aid from Australia that will help people in Tonga.
change of plans

Plane carrying aid can't land in Tonga after COVID case reported on board

The credulous response to Havana syndrome
The US Embassy in Havana.
Picture of Ryan CooperRyan Cooper

The credulous response to Havana syndrome

Zelensky disputes Biden's 'minor incursions' comment
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
in reply

Zelensky disputes Biden's 'minor incursions' comment

CIA doubts 'Havana Syndrome' sustained assault by hostile power
US Embassy in Havana
Havana syndrome

CIA doubts 'Havana Syndrome' sustained assault by hostile power

Most Popular

Florida advances ban on making white people feel 'discomfort' over past racism
Ron DeSantis
Fragility

Florida advances ban on making white people feel 'discomfort' over past racism

California deputy DA opposed to vaccine mandates dies of COVID-19
Kelly Ernby.
covid-19

California deputy DA opposed to vaccine mandates dies of COVID-19

Joe Biden meets the press
President Biden.
Picture of Joel MathisJoel Mathis

Joe Biden meets the press