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tyki road

asheville, North Carolina, United States


Member since June 25, 2013

  • Haze_in_kuala_lumpur_177_

    Having just arrived in Jakarta for a joint CSIS-CFR workshop on emerging Indonesia and rising regionalism, I was greeted by hot and humid weather conditions and horrible traffic. However, this is nothing compared to the severe haze that has blanketed Indonesia’s Sumatra Island, Malaysia and Singapore, sending air pollution there to record high levels. The haze problem is nothing new. To those who live in Singapore and Malaysia, this has become an annual blight caused by farmers in Sumatra clearing forests to make land for crops. The last major regional haze outbreak occurred in 1997-98. But this time, the thick haze has broken the Pollutant Standards Index records and hit “hazard” levels in the region, and Singapore has threatened to take action. (

    The slash and burn cultivation can be traced to when agriculture was first developed thousands of years ago. According to historian William McNeill, this cultivation method multiplied breeding places for mosquitos and gave malaria a new, epidemic intensity. It is no wonder that malaria and dengue fever—both of which are transmitted by mosquitos—are such a major concern in Southeast Asia. The farming practice is not confined to Sumatra, either. Indeed, a similar practice is becoming a growing contributor to severe haze in some Chinese provinces. Two weeks ago, when travelling on the high-speed train to Beijing, I was struck by the sudden drop of visibility, which was caused by farmers in central Anhui province b...