Burn, baby, burn!

Burn, baby, burn!

There is a
certain something about writing this,
while watching as the entire area surrounding me burns.
My view from the charred log that I’m sitting on while scribbling this into my notebook.
Right now,
in the days following Sina Mayda about her daily life, I am doing something I
never thought I’d ever do. Ever.
Setting off forest fires. The environmentalist in me is absolutely disgusted
with myself while my inner pyromaniac is basically rubbing her hands with glee,
chanting “burn, baby, burn!”
There’s a rather strange beauty to it. 
Malaysians
have a tendency to roll their eyes and go: “Gah, the Indonesians are burning
again, that’s why the stupid haze lah!” Because obviously everybody knows that
the entire country participates in an annual open burning fiesta for the sheer
heck of it.
Now I am
imagining hundreds of Indonesian families who burn their land so that they can plant crops again. So they can feed themselves, and their families. Sure, it’s
by far one of the least environmentally friendly ways of rehabilitating the
land, but I think I sort of get it now. It is the fastest, cheapest and easiest
way of getting a very necessary job done.

“When used properly, slash and burn agriculture
provides communities with a source of food and income. Slash and burn allows
for people to farm in places where it usually is not possible because of dense
vegetation, soil infertility, low soil nutrient content, uncontrollable pests,
or other reasons.”

Source: geography.about.com

I am still having
extremely bipolar feelings about this, but all I can do is to not condone, nor to
condemn. This is their way of life. All I can do is tell my sina how bad this is for the air as I continue
helping her with my trusty purple lighter…
The heat is
intense and I’m choking every time I inhale a lungful of ash. Every time it
looks like it is about to die out, a gust of wind blows and it flares up again.
Every time a section of the hill is deemed not black enough, more paddy husks
is piled on and set fire to again.
*hides from the environmentalists’ rage*
We’re being
very careful with it and are staying around until it completely burns out to
make sure it doesn’t spread beyond the actual intended area. The area that will
become my sina’s kebun (farm) on one
of the hills that surrounds the valley her paddy field is at. The same hill that
they one day hope to build a guesthouse on.
A few days
later we go back and drop around six different types of seeds directly into
the ash…
A few days
before I leave, we visit the hill again… And there are tiny leaves sprouting
from the ground.
This is
life.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have the foresight to take a picture of the tiny leaves growing from the ashes,
but this is the closest to the memory of them that I can find on the net.
Source: shanassecretgarden.com

 ~alicia nicholle aka Ruran Ricky

P.S. The
irony that Ai Jin who was following Aunty Dayang was helping to put out forest fires that day while I was off somewhere else starting them is
not lost on any of us.

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