06 Feb If the Borneo rainforest burns and we go back in time
With SY Esper safely moored, we took a scooter tour around the island of Siantan. The local people carry on traditions passed down through generations, like kids playing with home-made spinning tops and food production methods out of the Middle Ages
But all the time we were there, smoke from neighbouring Borneo’s rainforest fires drifted across the sea blanketing the island in an eerie pall. It’s something the islanders have become used to seeing every year, but it doesn’t make them any less angry about it.
This was a day we will remember for the spontaneous welcome we received from people who rarely encounter overseas visitors. How many wedding parties in the UK would invite odd-looking foreigners wearing inappropriate clothes to come and join in the dancing?
There were children running around the villages and tracks playing outside together. The internet is sparse and few people have phones in the Anambas, so kids make their own entertainment. Are children in more developed nations missing out by staying inside their own homes?
When we were growing up the only advice when we went ‘out to play’ was not to talk to strangers. We invented games out of our imaginations and were allowed to let our minds and bodies run wild. Is progress always a good thing?