Friday, October 13, 2006

Going Beyond Words

Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has a brilliant idea to solve the haze problem. According to a Straits Times report today, he wants South-east Asian countries to set up a fund to help Indonesia curb forest fires blamed for the choking haze in the region. Speaking ahead of a crucial meeting of environment ministers in Pekanbaru today, he said the fund could be used for new equipment and technology.

“We know the source (of the haze) but pointing fingers will not do any good. The important thing is for these countries which are receiving the impact of the haze to agree to collaborate and take positive and effective action to ensure that it does not recur.”

Now I understand what he meant when he said at the 5th Shangri-la Dialogue, in Singapore, on June 4 2006 that "We need to go beyond words."

Doesn’t the minister know that even money donated for victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami disaster have not reached them after 2 years. By the time our money reach the right people to purchase the equipment and technology he spoke about, there may not be any more forests left to burn.

I have a better idea. We should collect all the money in cash, and then burn them in front of Indonesia’s Environment Ministry (if they have one) sometime in June next year; just before the annual forest burning ritual begins. Then when they see the smoke of our precious dollars burning, they will be reminded to do something. This is because, “environmental watchers worry that the issue will be forgotten once the latest haze ends, at least until the problem returns with the next dry season.”

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