Haze Haze Go Away, Come Again Never Again

East Asia countries experience Yellow Dust, and for us in South-East Asian countries we have The Haze, both of which are a yearly affair. The only difference is that the latter is not exactly natural, worsened by the fact that people actually take advantage of the hot and dry season to literally set fire to forested areas to clear land for their benefit, while the rest (of the neighbors) suffer with the consequences.

When you look out the wonder it looks so smoggy and dreamlike (reminds me of the fog when I was at Mount St Michel in France), but the moment the windows are opened or you step outside, you will be hit by the intense smell of smoke and the paranoia that you are on fire. The haze this time is one of the worst (actually it is the worse, unless next year's one wins this) and has gotten people complaining, not only the ‘victims’ of which the haze is affecting but the one that can actually do something about it.

Mont. St. Micheal
Mont. St. Micheal on a foggy cold day

Since 2010 (or earlier), there have been talks… and talks…. and even more talks between the affected countries; to try to resolve or lessen the impact. But to no avail, the burning still continues and the haze still suffocates, only this year it’s one of the worse ones (yet); joining ranks with the haze condition in 1997-1998 when the haze pollution levels reached (the last known) hazardous levels.

It's become a little of the norm and part of life now (unfortunately)... So we live with it, the only problem is that the haze this year is bad. Just within a day at the beginning of last week, the PSI reading went up from 111 to 150!

Over the past few days, the haze did not get any better, even hitting an all high reading of 401 on Friday! So much so that the reading for Wednesday at 290 (and that's just the average, the actual is said to be about 453!), can be regarded as mild. The previous high of 226 (arounds there) was high... but 290 is not high enough.... we have a winner. So far the PSI has reached up to 400-401 (and hopefully it doesn't increase).

As expected, there was and probably still is a mad rush to get masks to help filter the air particles and make breathing a little easier. Shops even had to restock due to the demand. And some people took the opportunity to profit by selling the masks at a higher price.

Well, there was one good thing about this, more people realize where and what a Singapore actually is. It's amusing to think that Singapore is in China or Korea or that there's a conspiracy (it really doesn't exist because it's not spotted on NASA's satellite map) and what's all that talk about yakuza? All thanks to the apparently mass orders of masks on Amazon while waiting for the masks to be restocked in the shops locally, hopefully all that is cleared up.

They say it might last for weeks. But I believe that miracles can and will happen, especially when it is out of our hands... seriously what can you do with dry weather and winds blowing or not in the right direction? It's not like we can (on our own human effort) create "a temporary area free of dense haze upwind of Singapore" and "transient changes in the local wind conditions" on our own (?). Well, we (as humanly possible) can try to seed the clouds to make it rain and but that's totally subjective (and expensive it seems).

Thank God, that there's some reprieve from the horrid haze this weekend and for that I am thankful and enjoying the 'clear' (as possible) air for now.

The sun's out!
The weird (or maybe it's normal) thing is, despite the made rush for masks the days before, not many are wearing them out (because the PSI is below 100 at the moment) today. Being prepared is one thing, but being 'kaisu' might be just a Singaporean thing. (lol)

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When travel collides with a byte, a unit of information made up of bits, TravelBytez is formed: snippets of ramblings on travel, food, shopping, living and anything else that comes to mind.


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