Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Another smoking kid in Indonesia


Ilham, who lives in Sukabumi, located in West Java, started smoking when he was four years old and now smokes around 25 cigarettes a day.
The young boy's habit was allowed to spiral as there are no age restrictions on purchasing cigarettes in the country, while his poor family have little awareness of the health risks involved.
Ilham said his mother, Nenah, gives him a small amount of money that he spends entirely on his smoking habit.
"My mother gives me 5,000 rupiah," he said, and, when asked if all the money was spent on cigarettes, he nodded.
Ilham's mother revealed that he no longer attends school as teachers do not allow him to smoke in class. She said the eight-year-old is liable to fits of rage if he is not allowed to light up.
"I have to let him smoke, otherwise he will get mad. He smashed the windows five times because I told him he could not smoke," she said.
Government statistics show that in Indonesia, cigarettes account for the second-largest household expenditure, after food.
Nearly one in three people in Indonesia smoke, in a population of 239 million.
[Source]

Forgive me for making a political point about this... but this is why I'm always skeptical of libertarians and the like whose dream is a society of pure capitalism unimpeded by the inherent oppression of government regulation.
Indonesia is an example of such an "anything-goes" place, and kids like Adi Ilham are the result. You can point to poor parenting, obviously, but this kid is the product of a society that puts virtually no restrictions on the tobacco industry.

Two other examples of what I'm talking about:

The famous footage of a two year-old Indonesian kid with a 40-cigarette-per-day habit.

The Indonesian abbatoir scandal.

The ineffectiveness of government and the police force make Indonesia something of a free-for-all. It's no surprise that mob rule is a common part of life. But I actually think it's testament to the Indonesian character that the country is as relatively peaceful, safe and friendly as it is.

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