I remember the days I envied our neighboring countries like Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, IndoChina (Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos), Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Philippines, Indonesia — these were the rice-bowl nations.

I was fascinated and loved the sights of rice fields — often times wishing I was there. I knew it was hard work…from the little chorus we sang — “planting rice is no fun…bent from morn till the set of sun…cannot sit even for a little while…”

I envied because Singapore was not blessed with fertile soil to plant or land space. We were the tiny dot which could not even be seen on the world map.

Unfortunately over the years, these very countries had gone through political setbacks and strifes…where politicians lined their own pockets instead of building the nation for the people.

Many of the resources and assets the nation was endowed were not fully utilised.

Today, the price of rice has rocketed sky high. Why? Who sets the price of rice? Is this the result of manipulation in the international commodity market?

News aired there is shortage of rice in Thailand due to climate change?!

Planting rice requires time…this cannot be produced overnight unlike processed foods or manufacturing commodities…

Rice, the carbohydrate-complex, is the staple food…especially for the poor in Asia. This is consumed at least twice a day. Without rice, this means hunger and without hope; in severe situation, death. Rice is life. The poor can only afford to buy so much each time and if there is no rice available to buy when needed…hell breaks loose!