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When The Haze Strikes

Look at the beautiful, clear, blue, skies of sunny, sunny Singapore. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The clear, blue, skies of sunny, sunny Singapore. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Most Singaporeans should know that in recent times, our lives have become a hell lot more exciting following the dramatic rise of our PSI levels. If the remarkable increase of citizens wearing masks that look like one side of a bra didn’t raise your eyebrows, and you’re still strolling along the beaches of East Coast Park, skipping and swinging your arms, singing The Beatles’ “Here Comes The Sun”, you might want to consider going for an eye checkup, although that really depends on whether you can make it to the ICU alive before that. McDonalds temporarily shut down its delivery service due to “safety concerns”, so I’m not sure if the paramedics and ambulances are allowed to leave the hospitals. Ah well, hopefully someone will see you gasping for air and attend to your distress call. Tough luck tho, knowing Singaporeans. They’ll probably take out their mobile phones first, and Instagram a theatrical image of you dying, with the caption, “Man suffocating. I think it’s because of the haze. Should I help… LOL. #park #sky #haze #alovelyday”

It’s fascinating to see how a small PSI indicator on the television screen can make us Singaporeans piss our pants while watching Mediacorp dramas. It’s already such an Oscar-worthy achievement that we didn’t fall asleep while watching them, and now we’re squealing like baby seals and peeing our pants everytime Romeo Tan tells us about SARS? Everytime the PSI indicator goes up by a little, we run around the house, screaming our lungs out over three, goddamn, numbers. As if losing your voice box over plastic boys from Kimchi Island wasn’t bad enough. For subsequent Red Star, Blue Star, or Green Star awards show, we should get a few people to hold up signboards stating “PSI: 800”, behind the celebrities walking the red carpet. Maybe their screams will reach 20dB (equivalent to the sound of a watch ticking), but hey, a start’s a start.

The horrid PSI levels also popularised a breed of photography known as “out-of-my-window photography”. For the first time in, um, unspecified number of years, my Twitter feed isn’t filled with pictures of food and overly-filtered selfies (or selcas) anymore. People also seem to be finally done with taking photos of their bathrooms. Now, they’re moving on to taking stunning and breathtaking images of the gorgeous and orgasmic view outside their windows. But alas, our smartphone cameras are so advanced, I usually don’t see any haze in photos taken by them. So, when my friends send their galleries of out-of-my-window photographs to me, I ask them if they’re working part-time in real estate.

Trying times, as they say, brings about many heroes. The influence of, who’s the spider guy? Gandrew Airfield? Yes, the blockbuster influence of Mr Airfield and others such as Batman and Blue Lantern has led to everyone thinking that wearing a mask turns them into a hero. Surgical masks are meant to keep your germs from going out, not prevent the haze from coming in. The N95 masks, you know, the thing that looked like one side of a bra? Yea, the N95 masks work slightly better, but (please take note) they’re not suitable for children under 15 and senior citizens. And gas masks. What the hell are you doing wearing a gas mask? Auditioning for a Mediacorp drama?

Indonesia is widely-accepted to be the cause of this environmentally-damaging travesty, but according to them, it’s nature’s fault. Even tho it’s understandable to a certain extent since farmers still have to bring food to the table (double-meaning intended), Indonesia is still adopting an outdated slash-and-burn method that makes “2012” look like a movie about a 0.2 magnitude earthquake. They claim that Singaporeans are behaving like spoilt, noisy, finger-sucking babies. They claim that we are extremely ungrateful for the oxygen that they’ve been kindly providing us throughout our lives. I suspect they’re even using the hotspots as a campfire, singing merrily to Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire”. When our government suggests using an alternative and less-harmful method, they tell us to shut up and drink our milk. When our government tries to offer help to put out the fires, they tell us to shut up and clean our diapers. When our government wants justice to be served to the nasty companies involved in Operation Destroy Earth, they tell us to shut up and bring our electrical fans to East Coast Park and blow the haze back to Sumatra. Really? I don’t think ungrateful, spoilt, noisy and finger-sucking babies are physically capable of completing that task.

So I’m sorry Mr Nasi Goreng. We’ve tried our best.


Lhu Wen Kai
Follow me on Twitter @wenkai31

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