6.24.2013

Singapore Haze: We didn't start the fire

We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it
( Billy Joel)
It's barely a day back to Singapore and we are feeling sad. Before we left for holiday, it was Sunny Singapore that we left and when we return , a hazy Motherland greeted us.


Smoke gets in your eyes
When we touched down from Sydney on Thursday night, Dad warn us that Singapore is on fire. Initially we thought that he had gone bonkers and hallucinating from the long flight back. We did smell some smoke in the airplane cabin, but we dismiss it as smelly feet.

At the taxi queue , it was misty, but we did not think much of it as it was getting dark. We received a tweet telling us Singapore is having a mass BBQ. Smoke still lingers, we thought that since we are passing East Coast Park, it may just be the scent from the numerous BBQ pits by the beach.

Harder to Breathe
The next day, reality hits. The sky was hazy and we could not see beyond 200m. At 12pm 21st June, Singapore achieved another world record. This time it is not something we should be proud of. The PSI reading hits a historical high of 401 ( there were noises on the net that the actual PSI is much higher in the 500 range)
Source : SGH
Anything above 300 is hazardous and may affect out little bodies. This viusal from SGH explains the danger of air pollutants to the body.
Queues everywhere
Daddy tried to get us some masks, they said only the N95 ones works to protect our little lungs. The queues were snaking at the pharmacies and sadly no N95 in sight . We were told stocks will be replenish by Thursday evening. We remain wary, at the end of the day there was nary an N95 in sight. At least the queue was orderly. The people looked resigned but not depress. We are more resilient than most think. (The search for masks ended on Saturday. Ironically PSI was at 73)

For the first time, Daddy realised how unprepared the family is at emergency. It is time to relook at the families contingency plans for unexpected situations.
PSI 401
At PSI 401, the streets are almost empty. While Daddy was at work, he managed to captured this image. Eerie , Singapore had became a ghost town. Suddenly it does not feel like we have 5 million + people sharing the this little piece of land.

Come on Baby light my fire
We learned that the smoke was from Sumatra Indonesia. We also learn that Singaporeans are childish according to this bloke Agung Laksono, the senior minister in charge of the haze situation. Fancy that. Since when had concerns about one's health, no make that a nation's health became a childish act?
Singapore Engulfed
No matter, the war of words would not solve the situation.The situation is now beyond us. Finger pointing would lead to nowhere. we are at the mercy of a situation that we have no control. It does not help if the 'adult' refuse to rein in his own fiery and raging children and instead make mockery of the situation.We can only hold our breath.
Mask on

We didn't start the fire
Are we angry ? You bet!
Holidays are meant to a time for us to be outdoors and explore. To be cooped up indoors does stifle us up a little. We are victims of someone's masterplan of getting wealthy without thoughts for others, even those that are hundreds of miles away. We didn't start the fire, but we are bearing its consequences.

On Sat , when PSI was at 300+, we brave the smog for a movie on the Man of Steel and coincidently met some superheros from Justice League. Perhaps our faith in having a good time paid off. Someone switched on the big fan and blew the smog away. PSI stood at a healthy 73 when we wraped up our Super escapade.
Justice League to the rescue
The haze could stay for a week, a month, a year, it does not matter. The Singapore child will adapt and learn. We will survive. For some tips on survival , here is a handy guide from SGH.
As for us, we may stay indoor during these hazy times but we would not fear to venture out in the smog if we need to. If you decide to join us , don't forget to wear the N95 if you can get your hands on one.


On a positive note, the clear skies are back over the weekend. Let's hope it stays this way!
Fri Haze vs Monday Blues
Stay strong Children of Singapore!

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