Fighting haze: Keep up the pressure, Singaporeans

Fighting haze: Keep up the pressure, Singaporeans

11 July 2013

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Singapore — It looks like the worst of the haze is behind us. Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has apologised, taken the political heat and mobilised firefighting efforts. We can breathe a little easier.

But as private individuals and consumers, we should not back off on the pressure on the companies responsible. Instead, we should move to punish through consumer and business boycotts those offending companies that will be officially identified.

We should put all the necessary mechanisms for boycotts in place for when the haze recurs.

There are three questions many people pose when a boycott is proposed.

First, why can’t we leave it to the government to act against the companies? Second, will it work? And third, how can we be sure the companies are the ones responsible?

Observing the blogosphere indicates to me that many young Singaporeans have no idea of the geopolitical reality of where Indonesia stands.

It is a large country, so large that there are political factions that see Singapore as a mere dot. If it does not want to be moved, a dot cannot budge a rock.

Until recently, that political will appeared to be absent for all intents and purposes. Laws and treaties had been established and ratified by those affected but not the source, Indonesia.

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