Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

So I was walking in KL downtown with my client. My client (an expat) was surprised that I didn't put my mask on.

"Malaysians are used to it. We have four seasons - dengue season, durian season, monsoon season and now hazy season - no worries," I said.

A NASA satellite image showing the extend of the haze
on 24 September 2015
Be honest with me, any of us really put a mask on when we step out of the home/office? Unless you are asthmatic but people are used to the haze and nonchalant about it. We have it every year, so it's okay. I guess the school kids are among the first group of people who are enjoying this pale white sky since they have impromptu school holidays. The second group will be the people who have suicidal intention. Just come to Malaysia and take a deep breath.

But on serious note, my first haze experience is like 20 years ago and it was caused burning forest and peatland fires from our beloved neighbour Indonesia. 20 years later, the haze is still lingering here, forest is still burning and peatlands are still on fire in Indonesia - billowing plumes of chocking smoke across South East Asia.

Do you think enough is enough? Come on, twenty over years and you cannot fix this shit? Is the Indonesian government that ineffective to combat the fires and capture those firms and farmers who were behind this? Okay, don't think about neighbours, look into your heart, Indonesia - think about your own people back home. They are sick of tired of this yearly occurrence.

Meanwhile, drastic action has been taken by Singapore. Apparently, the Singapore's largest supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice had pull toilet paper and other products sourced from Asia Pulp & Paper from its shelves after the company was among those named responsible for forest fires in Indonesia.

Moreover, Singapore has sued five Indonesian companies blamed for farm and plantation fires. Under the 2014 Transboundary Pollution Act, Singapore can impose a fine of about $70,000 each day on a local or local company that contributes to unhealthy level of air quality.

This is the most interesting part - meanwhile back home in Malaysia... nothing. Nothing has been done.  To make the situation worse or rather ludicrous, our beloved Deputy Prime Minister said that we should adopt a more personal approach in resolving bilateral issues with Indonesia counterparts. 

As reported in NST Online- "Certain sensitive issues cannot be solved through conventional diplomacy. It is easier if we forge familial relationships with Indonesia"

So yeah, nothing will be done for us. It's okay if we have a bad neighbour, we just keep quiet. Everyday is a happy day.

BTW, it is reported that the haze might be prolonged to early next year. Tak pe, Indonesia kan kawan baik kita - it's okay Indon, burn your entire country. We will take the smoke.

Okay, enough for this messed up country, let's sleep early alright? Tomorrow will be a another hazy day. 

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