Le Haze

So last Monday I stepped outside for lunch, and there was this thin veil of smoke everywhere. And I thought, hey, it must be the time of the year when they burn offerings and stuff. So I kept looking around for the giant metal drums where they set things on fire, but I did not come across a single one. Strange.

I was, of course, so very wrong.

Haze-d and confused

After a bit of googling, I found out that this blanket of smoke is called a haze, and it travelled all the way from Indonesia via prevailing winds. Apparently, there are so many forest fires in Sumatra that the smoke - and the stench - has made its way here, hundreds of miles away.

I'm still having trouble wrapping my head around it. Seriously, what the hell are they burning in Sumatra? And apparently, this happens every year (but not as bad as it is now). Kinda feels like some form of massive trolling, doesn't it? It's "hey, my flatmate's laundry is out to dry in the kitchen, maybe I should fry some fish", but on an international scale, and with brazen regularity. "Oh, it's that time of the year to burn a massive amount trees and make our neighbors batshit crazy."

PSI stats from http://www.nea.gov.sg/psi/

As I type this the Pollution Standards Index (PSI) has hit an all-time high at 321. For reference a PSI above 100 is considered unhealthy; above 300 is classified as hazardous. The worst it's ever been for Singapore, until today, was 226 in 1997. So you can imagine how people are going nuts right now.

To be honest though, walking through this haze is not at all unlike taking a stroll down Edsa during rush hour, except that it seems to have permeated every nook and cranny of this city. Heck, even the subways are starting to get hazy. I am now living in a giant smoking lounge, as opposed to the giant no-smoking zone that was Singapore two weeks ago.

Hopefully this all dies down soon (although the figures suggest otherwise); this whole Silent Hill ambiance is starting to get old. And I shudder to think of it's possible disastrous effect on my skin. Que horror.

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