Hazing the argument


In rhetoric it is a common but cheap trick to introduce an extraneous point and try to make it the issue instead of the one at hand. Smoke and mirrors stuff, you might say.

Indonesia’s House of Representatives members are particularly skilled at this art, as they have recently stalled ratifying the ASEAN agreement allowing our neighbors to help us fight the haze that’s choking neighboring Malaysia and Singapore.

The reason? Lawmakers would not ratify the agreement until illegal logging provisions are included. They feel that unscrupulous Malaysians  are camped along the border waiting to buy illegal timber. Since the harvesting of illegal timber also contributes to the haze, they reason, they would not ratify it until the Malaysians promise to be good boys and include a provision saying they’ll not buy illegal timber and punish the evil illegal timbermen.

This is just BS. The agreement is about fighting fires to stop the haze. It is about getting negihbors to lend a hand since Indonesia does not have its act together in resources to put out the fires whose smoke is choking our neighbors and causing them millions of dollars in health of their people and disruption.

The issue of illegal logging is one of enforcement by Indonesian authorities since the harvesting, though it may be done by Malaysians and others, is carried out within Indonesian soil. The Indonesian authorities have that onus, no one else.

The problem is that the Indonesian authorities just haven’t got their act together when it comes to enforcement of the law, which seems to be an alient concept. All one needs to do is have a look at the traffic in Jakarta, where  busses can stop in the middle of the road to let down and pick up passengers,  and in the process cause massive unnecessary traffic jams,  to see what Unspun means.

3 thoughts on “Hazing the argument

  1. Indonesia wants to be the first country in South East Asia to have nuclear power station. One shudders to think what would happened to all the provinces and countries near Sulawesi when there is any accident. Imagine if the haze that South East Asia is experiencing now is radioactive.

    Can Indonesia handle nuclear energy? She can’t handle the haze situation. She can’t even handle the mud flows. She can’t even handle the tsunami devastation. What makes Indonesia think she can handle nuclear fallout?

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  2. ^^ This is not meant to be insulting but.. Since when does long-term thinking ever enter the Indonesian political sphere?

    This is a government that can’t fit 14 million people into a city without the whole thing being gridlocked and incredibly polluted, can’t stop a governor from overloading a plane with durian so it crashes, and can’t stop 3,000 people dying each year in road accidents in a city where most of the traffic can’t even move, let alone move fast enough to kill someone.

    Illegal logging ain’t going to stop if Malaysia stops buying the timber, and the haze sure as hell isn’t going to go away by itself. They’re separate problems, why does this country insist on lumping them together and solving none of them?

    Indonesia’s problems are fundamental, not peripheral. There’s enough natural resources and manpower in this country to make everyone rich if used properly. Indonesia needs to stop focussing on myopic solutions to problems that it can’t handle and deal with the real issues one by one.

    Indonesia needs to take responsibility for itself for once.

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