One day in 2015, Saripah, a 22-year-old young girl, said softly: “Mother, I’m having a hard time breathing.” Saripah’s mother, Siti, immediately took her to a hospital, but unfortunately her daughter soon died of lung failure. Her respiratory organs looked dark although Saripah never smoked. Siti said that the smoke from peatland fires had killed her daughter.
For the majority of Indonesians, Ramadhan is not only a month of spiritual journey, but also the time when they experience recurring food price hikes, which are largely caused by skyrocketing demand for certain foods.
To address this annual issue, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo last week assembled his economic ministers to implement a series of actions to curb food prices in the market, especially of beef. In a market mechanism of supply versus demand, a high demand for beef by a large number of the population indeed creates significant economic benefit for some people, but one needs to look beyond that.