Crazy Hazy Singapore

Everyone I know has learnt to appreciate the clear air and blue skies most of us take for granted here in sunny Singapore.

Why?

Well… Simply because we have an awfully inconsiderate neighbour. *glares*

I personally believe that as much as Singaporeans love to complain – and I mean, love with a great passion. It has become practically a national skill to be able to complain with vigor about anything and everything that might displease you one way or another.

Despite that; Singaporeans are generally rather tolerant people. If we see nonsense happening on the street, we are too pai seh (shy) to even really do anything about it. Naturally we have a few different people who decide to blow things up a little.

So one morning I woke up and the world is sort of in a blur.

Pretty common thing to happen – I’m shortsighted and have a tendency to cultivate a significant amount of eye booger in one night.

After washing up, the view from outside my washroom hardly seemed any clearer.

For a moment, I thought my degree went up… but like every other sensible Gen Y mammal, I immediately scrolled through my Twitter feed to see if there were any updates.

I refused to really rely on things my friends wrote… (Sorry, guys). Then I saw Straits Times and NEA (National Environment Agency)… Which I think are a tad more reliable in such circumstances.

The thing is – Singaporeans are used to the “burning season” of Indonesia.

It is practically an annual tradition – they decide they need to boost their moolah through some form of agriculture blah blah, so they burn down forests; hoping that the dead trees and other organisms would fertilise the soil there, thereby allowing them to have abundant farming.

So during this period, NEA will release PSI (Pollutant Standards Index; also known as Please Stop It) numbers to give people an idea of how bad the haze is.

Like “O” Level grades – the higher the number, the more screwed you are.

The numbers in the previous years were relatively tolerable. In fact, haze periods came and went pretty much without problem!

However, this year it was awful!!

PSI readings went above the “Hazardous” range… And it really had a significant amount of disruption on our daily activities. The list of things I hate about the haze can go on forever, but I decided I have a Top 3.

#3: I cannot go to the gym. 

Not that I’m some gym addict… Someone even told me whatever I do in the gym, isn’t even considered “gymming“…

However I noticed it makes a significant difference in my health! And doing my job now, I really hate to fall ill.

The gym requires a short outdoor walk from my office, and even that I found a tad unbearable. So I skipped gym sessions the entire time. 😦

#2: My beauticians fell ill. 

Well, not to sound like some shallow bimbo or anything… but Lily and I were upset!! Both of us were really looking forward to a Beautilious-Day-Out! 🙂 We planned on doing eyelash extensions in the afternoon, then a manicure-pedicure in the evening.

However on the day itself, we got called up to say that we had to postpone both our sessions because too many beauticians were on MC and it was impossible for them to attend to us. 😦

#1: Indonesian Minister’s Response 

Literally every single time I’m reminded of what he said, my middle finger has an urge to just spring up.

When a colleague sent me the link to the news article – my initial reaction was, “W.T.F, this selfish f**ker!!”

You are the one causing trouble for people – the least you could do is apologise! After all, you’ll be the one benefiting the most (economically) from all this burning, right?

Sure, we Singaporeans are a sheltered bunch of people. I agree. But at least we have manners! *flings punches in the air*

Think about the people you are hurting!!

How can you be SO DARN selfish?!

There are some people who I think are:

a. A defect product from Heaven
b. A smuggled product from Hell

Take your pick, bugger.

Calling us “children”??

Okay, buddy! I’m going to be f**king childish and tie you to a building and let you just enjoy the air that you so nicely provided us! ONE COMPLAINT FROM YOU AND YOU’RE A CHILD TOO THEN!!

Hello, my heart aches when I see my own Singaporeans walking the streets without proper protection for themselves. I hate seeing people suffer – and all the more when it is for some selfish, inconsiderate, ill-mannered ingrate like that! *flings more punches in the air*

Haze from Harbourfront

My office is at Harbourfront – which is the closest towards our lovely neighbour. *sneers*

From that bridge, I used to be able to see a beautiful cruise ship and Sentosa Island itself.

Look at it! It looks like all the clouds in the sky all huddled together and had a cloud party there.

It looks so much like Genting Highlands… but it wasn’t even half as cooling! If it was, I doubt many people would still be complaining.

The weather was horrid. And I kept on receiving endless long messages from family and friends on the danger of this haze!

Good thing is – I’m working in a rather nice company. 🙂 So we were all given N95 masks, which were supposedly sold out!

N95 mask on!

Once I put on the mask… Oh my, the air was supreme. I almost could see a gentle waterfall in front of me with birds flying around and clear water.

Well, that lasted for about 2 seconds. Then my vision went back to my screens on my desk. Bah.

And before I knew it, I fell ill.

I was already expecting it. I don’t have the best (or even decent) sort of health… Turns out I wasn’t the only one that fell ill! So some colleagues and I went to one of our company’s panel clinics during lunch to get ourselves sorted out! 😀

Look, the haze was so bad… The dirt particles bit into my jeans.

Waiting for the doc to call my name

Just jesting! 😀

Got those at a Mango Sale. (Woohoo, Great Singapore Sale!!)

It really saddened me when I saw people who walked around with masks that were inadequate for their protection. I know I’m an idealist – I just think that the world should be happy.

I saw parents begging for some N95 masks for their children, I saw old people walking around covering their mouths while pulling a trolley of things… While some idiots went (literally) snatching other people’s masks away and buying more than they need – depriving the rest of basic protection.

It all got so ugly. I hated it so much.

Then I remembered that ugliness is only chance for beauty to be realised.

My friend showed me a list of people who were willing to let out space in their houses for people who do not have air-conditioning in their own homes. I even saw an office man helping a rag & bone lady pull her stuff, so that she wouldn’t have to breathe in too much of the haze.

I used to think it was an ugly world anyway – so why not just go along with it?

Then I realised that it is already an ugly world – why add to it? God created it, I’m not going to tarnish it. If anything, each of us were created to beautify it.

So once my company gave out extra masks, I immediately walked out and gave one to the Malay Auntie who I always see cleaning my office level. When I called out to her and extended the mask to her, she almost didn’t believe it. She thought I was calling someone behind her.

“No, auntie. This is for you. Please take care of yourself, okay?” I then gave her my sweetest smile. Muahaha!! Cherry on top.

The look in her eyes was one of the most priceless things I have ever seen in my life. 🙂 This is all about being human and loving each other.

Sure, the haze could have hurt Singapore a great deal. Countless people falling ill… Tourists unable to enjoy themselves… Daily activities disrupted…

Yet we must remember that it is usually through adversity that people stand together.

I choose not to look at the haze as a bad thing anymore.

If anything, it allowed Singaporeans to show concern for one another. 🙂 No doubt, we have some selfish ones. But heck them.

There are still people like me around! 😀

…don’t look so worried.

Hehe!

Lets look at this haze jazz as an experience we went through together as Singaporeans. Only we will really understand how it felt and what happened, right? Common ground is always good!

Good news is – the haze has pretty much blown over. Yay! *pops champagne*

And life is pretty much back to normal again.

I don’t know about everyone else – but I could swear, the Malay Auntie whom I gave my extra mask to – looks at me everyday with some very sweet eyes. 🙂 Makes me feel all warm & fuzzy. Hehe.

Goodbye, haze! Thanks for coming!
…but please don’t ever come back.

Love, G. 

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