For those readers who love fireworks and Monas, endless fun is available at the link here by smply tapping the screen and creating your own explosions.
Childish, but somehow fascinating.
H/T to M for the link.
Yes, that time of year again when vast plumes of airborne particulates from forest fires in Sumatra and elsewhere in the region cause choking pollution across much of Southeast Asia.
A very readable background piece offering an understanding of the issue is here.
There was some hope that this year would be different. In 2016 the World Resources Institute wrote here that…
For the last several years, forest fires driven by agricultural expansion have spiked every summer in Indonesia, creating smog and public health crises, including more than 100,000 deaths, throughout Southeast Asia. While fires are once again flaring, they’re not nearly as bad as usual—there are currently about a quarter as many burning across Indonesia this year compared to this time [September 2016] in 2015.
The article goes on to give a comprehensive explanation why.
Sadly however that trend seems not to have lasted a year.
Just a couple of days ago the East Asia Forum here Armida S Alisjahbana, Padjadjaran University and Jonah Busch wrote that “forest fires sweeping across Sumatra and Kalimantan in recent months prompted six Indonesian provinces to declare a state of emergency”.
That may imply the problem suddenly emerged, but as the Jakarta Post report here from January this year indicates, the annual emergency has effectively become chronic and now lasts for much of the year.
The reader can come to their own conclusion on the Indonesian Government’s recent claims to success in fighting fires (reported here), but given a recent Reuters report here that Indonesia lost a million hectares of tree cover in 2016 alone and the disastrous public health impacts from the smog that you can read about here, here and here, I desperately hope the Indonesian Government is right.
Dipa Nusantara (DN) Aidit in 1955
Not quite sure it is quite the “news” that Reuters says it is, but some grim footage from the 1960’s genocide in Indonesia is available here.*
I recognise that this hasn’t been a happy week in the content of the blogposts here.
I am reluctant to seek out “good” news just because what is important is depressing and confronting, but I will look to diversify the topics covered in forthcoming posts.
* I am still learning with Twitter. Apologies if there is a better link or way to do this.
I am aware that sometimes the scope of sources I draw upon is limited, so here is a piece from The Economist on the current unpredictabilty of Indonesian politics.
I don’t consider the analysis particularly deep or insightful, but if you are interested it is a conveniently short read.
Mt Semeru, East Java, the highest mountain in Java
The feature picture of this post is spectactular in itself, but it still only takes the bronze medal in my eyes. In respecting copyright I will not post the pictures here, but if you are interested the gold and silver medal winners you can view them here and here.
The first picture, to paraphrase the caption, captures the Tengger volcanic complex, part of a national park in east Java that lies within a 45,000 year old large caldera. The volcanic cones making up the Tengger complex are at the centre, with smoke coming from Mount Bromo and distant Mount Semeru also apparent. Picture credit for the image goes to EC Tong/Imagelibrary India Pvt.
The second picture, with credit to Firdia Lisnawati from AP, features Mount Agung (also in Java) and captures the emotion and dynamism of life in Indonesia beautifully. How I wish I had those photographic skills.