In a haze over forest fires

“What we know is that there are several foreign investors from Singapore involved. But we can’t just blame them for this since we still need to investigate this further,” said Hadi Daryanto, a senior official at Indonesia’s Forestry Ministry.

In this age of satellite imagery what further investigation is needed to zoom in on the plantations with forest fires and punish them? What fumes is the Forestry Ministry and other Indonesian officials inhaling?

Singapore’s air turns “hazardous” as Indonesian fires rage
20-Jun-2013 00:31

Pollution index tops 300, indicating hazardous air quality Singapore sending delegation to Indonesia on Thursday Indonesia suggests Singapore companies partly to blame

By Kevin Lim and Eveline Danubrata
SINGAPORE, June 19 (Reuters) – Singapore’s air quality deteriorated to “hazardous” levels late on Wednesday as smoke from slash-and-burn land clearing in Indonesia enveloped the city-state, inflaming tensions between the Southeast Asian neighbours.
Singapore, a major financial centre, will send a delegation to Jakarta on Thursday to discuss the smog that has turned its usually clear skies grey, Environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan told a news conference.
The outlines of skyscrapers were barely visible in the central core of the bustling city-state and the smell of burnt wood permeated the air.
“Things will get worse before getting better,” the Today newspaper quoted Balakrishnan as saying on its Twitter feed.
The Pollution Standards Index (PSI) soared to a record high of 321 at 10 p.m., up from 290 just an hour earlier and below 200 earlier in the day. The haze has also shrouded some parts of Malaysia.
A PSI reading above 300 indicates “hazardous” air quality, while a reading between 201 and 300 means “very unhealthy”.
The 321 level smashed the previous record of 226 reached in Singapore in 1997 when smoke from Indonesian fires disrupted shipping and air travel across Southeast Asia.
Operations at Singapore’s Changi Airport, an Asian aviation hub, have not been affected so far but work at some construction sites appeared to have stopped or slowed.
Drug stores and supermarkets ran out of face masks and people queued in long lines to buy multiple boxes of them when fresh supplies came in.
Raffles Quay Asset Management, which manages the Marina Bay Financial Centre complex that houses many of the banks operating in Singapore, said it has issued face masks to security staff.
“They are stationed outdoors for long hours and directly exposed to the haze,” it said.
The illegal burning of forests to clear land for palm plantations is a recurring problem in Indonesia, particularly during the annual dry season from June to September.
Indonesian officials have suggested companies based in Singapore may be partly to blame for the blazes. Singapore has said it wants Indonesia to provide maps of land concessions so it can act against firms that allow slash-and-burn farming.
“What we know is that there are several foreign investors from Singapore involved. But we can’t just blame them for this since we still need to investigate this further,” said Hadi Daryanto, a senior official at Indonesia’s Forestry Ministry.
Singapore-based palm oil companies with land concessions in Indonesia include Wilmar International Ltd WLIL.SI, Golden Agri-Resources Ltd GAGR.SI and First Resources Ltd FRLD.SI.
Wilmar, Golden-Agri and First Resources said on Wednesday they had a “zero burning” policies and used only mechanical means to clear land. Cargill, whose Asia-Pacific regional hub is in Singapore, said there were no hotspots nor fire on its plantations in South Sumatra and West Kalimantan.

Indonesia and Malaysia Truly Garrulous?

Once again Rima Fauzi asks a very pertinent question. This time it’s over the Indonesia-Malaysia spat, triggered most recently by the Pendet dance.

So what’s responsible for the noise between the neighbors? Malaysia’s thieving and disrespectful ways or Indonesia’s hypersensitivity?

09.03.09 | 1 Comment

As a people, Indonesians have become more and more hot-headed by the minute. It is actually something to be ashamed of as hot-headedness is one of the typical signs of being uneducated (thus not being able to keep one’’s cool).

A Chocoholic’s Piece of Mind

Not only are we getting more hot-headed, it seems that we are also falling deeper into ignorance. Which is a shame, because there should be no more excuses for one to be stupid and ignorance seeing as there is almost no restriction on the information flow into the country, nor is there a shortage of ways for a person to educate one’’s self autodidactically (by ways of internet, television, books etc).

We have also become a nation that is stubbornly disrespectful to other nations, people who are different to us and also our own culture. And by our culture I mean our indigenous culture, not the one you see nowadays in Indonesia or television which is full of ignorant telenovelas, gossip shows and rich people/celebrities sporting their hedonistic lives on national television.

The upside of these traits is none, while the downsides are many. By being hot-headed and ignorant, we often miss simple truths and even more often we are easily provoked by the smallest of things. The most recent issue that has taken Indonesia like a storm is how our Malay brothers and sisters from Malaysia are ”thieves”.

We accuse them of stealing this and that from our culture to our cuisine, while in fact we are both Malay people sharing many of the same culture and cuisine that it’’s a little absurd (not to mention difficult) to claim which is whose and so on.

Rest of article here

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What would Christ do about undercover hacks?

This is an interesting case where praise and gratitude should prevail over anger.

The story: Two Muslim reporters pass off as Christians, attend a ceremony and took communion in an effort to check out rumors that young Muslims are bing converted to Christianity. They write the article saying that the rumors aren’t true. This is good for the Church. How much more credible than two Muslim reporters saying that rumors of young Muslims being converted are not true. The Church should be happy, right?

But no. The Church is fuming mad. Why? Because they took communion. They took some bread dipped in wine and the Church feels that this has violated the sancity of the Church.

Unspun has only one question to the Church: what would Christ do if he were Rev. Lawrence Andrew? Say “forgive then Lord for they know not what they do” or get his vestments in a knot?

2 Malaysian Muslims stir

anger over church article

The Associated Press ,  Kuala Lumpur   |  Tue, 07/14/2009 2:23 PM  |  World

Malaysian authorities are investigating two Muslims who sparked complaints after they pretended to be Christians at a church service to write a magazine article, officials said Tuesday.

The investigation poses a fresh challenge for the government in its efforts to reduce religious friction in this ethnic Malay Muslim-majority country, where religious minorities have complained that their rights are being sidelined in favor of Islam.

A churchgoer filed a police complaint last week after reading an article in the monthly Malay-language Al-Islam magazine written by contributor who described how he attended a Roman Catholic mass with his friend and hid his Muslim identity.

The writer said they were trying to confirm rumors that many Muslim teenagers were being converted to Christianity in Kuala Lumpur’s churches every Sunday. He described how they tasted communion wafers to blend in with the crowd, but found no evidence to support the rumors.

Rev. Lawrence Andrew, the editor of the Herald, the Catholic church’s main publication in Malaysia, said the men had “insulted the Christians” through their actions.

“For us, this is a very holy matter,” Andrew told The Associated Press. “They have shown disregard, disrespect. … So we are very upset about this.”

Representatives of Al-Islam, which writes about Islamic teachings and news, could not immediately be contacted.

Police federal crime investigations head Mohamad Bakri Zinin said officials were investigating the two men for possibly causing religious disharmony – a crime that carries a prison sentence of up to five years.

Joachim Francis Xavier, the Catholic man who filed the police complaint, said the men had been irresponsible and that their actions could cause religious tensions.

“If everyone starts to intrude into each other’s services and write about it, there will be chaos,” Xavier said.

He noted that non-Christians were welcome to attend church ceremonies, but they cannot take communion. The magazine article also indicated the men had spat out the communion wafer because they took a photograph of it partially bitten.

Christian, Buddhist and Hindu minorities – who comprise about one-third of Malaysia’s population – often say their constitutional right to practice religion freely has come under threat from Muslim-dominated authorities. The government denies any discrimination.

Religious disputes include a court battle between the Catholic church and the government over a 2007 order banning non-Muslims from translating God as “Allah” in their literature. The government says its use would confuse Muslims, but Christians say the ban is unconstitutional.

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The Malaysian equivalent of Pesta Blogger?

Indonesia has Pesta Blogger, Malaysia has BUM.

The Blogger’s Universe Malaysia event will take place on May 16, 2009 in Kuala Lumpur and their theme is “have they [mainstream media] failed us?

Unspun had an inkling of this event when he bummed into BUM co-chairman Rocky Bru in a mamak stall in Taman TTDI a couple of weeks ago.

Congrats Malaysian bloggers. Maybe you should invite some Indonesian bloggers to the event as guests or observers so that we can have closer ties.

The usual suspects: some prominent Malaysian bloggers who's be at BUM

Bloggers’ Universe Malaysia (BUM) 2009 Takes Off at Starter’sBlog!

KUALA LUMPUR: About five weeks from now, BUM2009 will tap-dance in again at The Lake View Club, Subang Jaya, and the Organising Committee is giving you good notice to keep yourself free for a date at Da Bloggers’ Event of Da Year!

And we will have an extra session on top of last year’s two as we believe the new media scene has attracted a lot of interest after its power and influence and impact at the March 8, 2008 General Elections were duely noted by many quarters, both political and social.

Mark Saturday, May 16, 2009 in your diary. The BUM2009 Organising Committee has gathered at the Starter’s Block, and with these vibrant members all fired up to make the Event memorable for all BUMmers, with many who served at last year’s BUM2008 — does this Logo strike a chord with you? — Keep reading →

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Only one punishment fit for Mahathir

The ever eloquent Patrick Teoh hits home with the latest nonsense from Mahathir Mohammad, who thinks that he can fool all the people all the time that he’s actually a Malay.

Of all the audacious hoaxes and scams perpetrated on the Malaysian people over the years, none has been as audacious and preposterous as Mahathir’s claim to be a champion of Malay rights.

The man is not fully Malay. he is of mixed blood and is an Indian Muslim, what Malaysians call Mamaks. He is so mamak that in the general elections of the late 1950s, if Unspun remembers correctly, his name at the electoral roll as a candidate contained the word Iskandar, which he subsequently dropped. Malaysians will know that that is a sure confirmation of Mamak-ness.

This, however, did not prevent him from hoodwinking the entire Malay community in Malaysia that he is their champion for many years. He did this partly by playing the race card with rhetoric against the Chinese.

These days Mahathir is now retired and ignored by the Government so he has little to do. The prospect of Anwar Ibrahim taking over the reins must surely not appeal to him as well. So he’s shooting off his mouth again to get some attention.

How dare you, an impostor of the Malay race, a self styled champion of the Third World say such things about a major race in Malaysia?

And what’s wrong with a Malaysian Malaysia? because it is not a Malay Malaysia?

Unspun’s though hard and long about Mahathir and have come to the conclusion that there is only one punishment that will fit all the crimes Mahathir is guilty of: If Anwar gets to be Prime Minister he should be given the chance to sodomize Mahathir.

All those in favor say Aye?…

clipped from

What the )*)*(^%%#$^#@!!!

I have received comments that accuse me of being unfair to Dr. Mahathir by using only excerpts of his blog post. You can read the whole thing here.

Today’s big story for me is from the blog of Dr. Mahathir Mohd. …….

“Openly the Malays have not attacked Chinese racialism as manifested by their practical rejection of the use of the national language, their rejection of the national schools, their Malaysian Malaysia slogan.”

When I read that I was shell-shocked for almost 5 minutes. As a Malaysian I couldn’t believe that I was reading something like that from an former Prime Minister of my country.

“……Chinese racialism as manifested by their practical rejection of the use of the national language, their rejection of the national schools, their Malaysian Malaysia slogan.”


So sad when senility takes over a once brilliant mind.
Read the full report of his views here and Dr. Mahathir’s original writing here.


Deterioration of a brilliant mind.
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Ahmad Ismail’s suspension: Give ABB a break

It is easy to criticize, especially when you have a blog handy. But Unspun feels that it is also important to give credit when credit is due.

Prime Minister and Grand Poobah of Umno Abdullah Badawi has led the Umno supreme council in coming to a decision to suspend Ahmad Ismail’s membership for three years and strip him of all his party posts for making racially provocative remarks.

There are some critics who think that this is too little too late (see Kit’s blog) and or just a show. But Unspun thinks that for the soft person he is and the presures from the more garroulous elements within Umno, what ABB did took some courage. He did right and he should be commended for taking a decision that sends a message to other Umno trouble makers.

What now. Some in Malaysia are demanding their pound of flesh of Ahmad Ismail. Some say he needs to be charged under the ISA. Others say sedition.  It would be interesting to examine the motives for those who all for such harsh punishments. Are they motivated by a sense of justice? If so how much of this justice resembles the Nietzscherean definantion of justice being the spirit of revenge. revenge for what? Perceptions of being racially slighted and targeted by the government apparatus, is what Unspun thinks.

There has been so much resentment and ill feeling building up among races in Malaysia that it is the natural inclination of many Malaysians to seize the opportunity to get even. Hence the call to savage Ahmad Ismail, or the inability to give credit where credit is due.

This type of outlook is counterproductive. If anything right minded Malaysians should praise and reinforce good behavior in their Prime Minister. That would embolden him to make more right decisions.

Putting the Ahmad Ismail issue aside as something solved would also be a productive move. The man has been rebuked and his career as a politician tarnished. there is no more need to hound the man and make him a martyr among the more extreme racialists. Perversely, there is no bigger insult or damage that can be done to Ahmad Ismail than to ignore him. People like him thrive on the reaction of others. The reaction gives him reknown, even it is in the form of notoriety. Ignore him and he will be shouting in the wilderness.

Move on, Malaysia, move on.

Blog ban a sign of a more deperate Malaysian government?

They say if all you have is a hammer then all your problems start to look like nails.

So it is with the Malaysian government. With Anwar Ibrahim now beating at the gates the Badawi government has gotten more desperate.

First some low ranking lackey called Saiful was asked to try to frame Anwar by filing a police report of alleged sodomy. Then they tried all ways to win over Permatang Pauh, and failed. Now the Malaysian Government, through the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission has asked Malaysia’s internet service providers to block access to Raja Petra Kamaruddin’s blog, Malaysia Today.

It is an ill-calculated move because the messagethis move sends out is that the Malaysian Government is desperate and that it is now clutching at straws to try to regain control of the political situation. It is ill-calculated because in this day and age you can’t really ban blogs without having egg on your face. Even then it is so easy for bloggers to set up mirror sites, such as this one, that it makes the move an exercise in total folly.

So why is the Malaysian government so steadfast in their own Long march of Folly?

The reason, IMHO, is that they have been in power so long and created an incestuous system of patronage and servility that they know of no other way to handle dissent.

If they had any brains they would get in some really smart advisors and take on Raja Petra Kamaruddin rather than block his site and make a martyr out of him. It is not that hard to do. RPK is passionate but he is also given to exaggerations, overstatements and a cavalier treatement of facts.

It would not take much from a professional to debunk what he says. And if the government can do that they would have merely a discredited discontent on their hands, rather than the martyred blogger, angry and a symbol of defiance against a government unable to restore control in their own country.

Wake up UMNO. The bells are tolling and they toll for you.

A crisis-like situation confronting F&N Dairies in Malaysia?

Students of crisis and issues management as well as crisis communications should find this case interesting. This case came to Unspun‘s attention when Edward Skading posted a comment in this blog that says:

Dear Blogger,


My name is Edward Skading and I am writing to seek your corporation and support to help me uphold our consumer rights against F&N Dairies’ Contaminated Condensed Sweet Milk – Tea Pot brand.

The full information is posted on my weblog If you wish to contact me please send an email to

I would greatly appreciate your support to expose this incident to all Malaysians because it seems like most main stream media is not interested in this horrible discovery. I wish they would take notice.

I am also in the midst of being taken to court by F&N because of my determination for transparency and truth.

Please come forward and help me. I would greatly value it.

Thank you.

Yours truly,

Edward Skading

Unspun does not have all the facts at hand and cannot tell who is in the right or who is in the wrong here, but on reading Edward’s blog and the comments posted there, it looks like F&N Dairies is losing the image war and about to be taught a lesson on what damage one pissed off citizen with access to the internet and a few simple Web 2.0 tools can inflict on a huge corporation.

Continue reading “A crisis-like situation confronting F&N Dairies in Malaysia?”