death by paper cut

{June 22, 2013}   Haze over Singapore 2013

This is the view (of Jurong Island) from my apartment on a normal day.

En Bloc - Views from Teban Vista 20

The view on 18 June 2013
8.30am – PSI 108

Haze over Singapore 21 June 2013 10am PSI 367

The view on 22 June 2013
9.30am – PSI 323

Haze over Singapore 22 June 2013 9.30am PSI 323

Haze over Singapore 22 June 2013 9.30am PSI 323 Outdoor

National Environment Agency updates:

Southwest Monsoon conditions have onset over the region since the beginning of the week, with low level winds blowing predominantly from the southeast or southwest. The Southwest Monsoon season typically last from June to September and is the traditional dry season for the southern ASEAN region.

In the coming months, occasional extended periods of drier weather can be expected in the region. During the season, increased hotspot activities may be expected in Sumatra and Borneo. In addition, transboundary smoke haze could affect the region during periods of persistent dry weather conditions.

Weather conditions in the region have become drier and an increase in hotspot activities has been observed mainly over central Sumatra.  101 and 138 hotspots were detected over Sumatra on 15th  and 16th June 2013 respectively.  The smoke haze from the fires in Sumatra was brought over by prevailing winds blowing from the southwest or west, and has affected Singapore since 13 June 2013.  The hazy conditions are expected to persist for the next few days.

The city shrouded in smog
20 June 2013
4.50pm – PSI 310

Haze over Singapore 20 June 2013 PSI 310, C

Haze over Singapore 20 June 2013 PSI 310, B

Haze over Singapore 20 June 2013 PSI 310, A

The most shared news coverage on mitigating the haze on BBC NEWS 20 June 2013

The pollution standards index peaked at 371 on Thursday, breaking previous records and well above hazardous levels, before falling to about 300.

The haze is the result of forest fires started by farmers clearing land on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

The issue has sparked accusations between the two neighbours.

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore’s Environment and Water Resources Minister, wrote on his Facebook wall that he would demand “definitive action” from Jakarta.

“No country or corporation has the right to pollute the air at the expense of Singaporeans’ health and wellbeing,” he said.

However, Indonesian Minister for People’s Welfare Agung Laksono said that Singapore was “behaving like a child”.

“This is not what the Indonesian nation wants, it is because of nature,” he said.

Environment officials from the two nations have been holding an emergency meeting in Jakarta, to discuss the issue.

Singapore’s Response on TODAY 21 June 2013

As the haze in Singapore worsens today, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong has declared that “the Singapore Child is being suffocated” in a riposte to an Indonesian minister’s comments yesterday that Singaporeans are “behaving like a child” in response to the haze.

In his latest Facebook post as “MParader”, Mr Goh asked: “The Singapore Child is being suffocated. How can he not scream?

“Former Malaysian PM Abdullah Badawi used to say that Malaysians and Singaporeans are like neighbours living in a pair of semi-detached houses. What each does will affect the other. So we have to be considerate in our behavior like not putting on the TV too loudly or burning our garden refuse openly if the smoke will enter our neighbour’s house.

“Indonesia does not share a semi-detached house with Malaysia or Singapore. But its detached bungalow is in the same housing estate. So Badawi’s analogy of neighborly behavior still applies.”

But acknowledging that there is little that can be done in the short term, the former Prime Minister concluded his note: “But as of now, the Singapore Child better learn to survive the tortuous smog and haze. —gct”

Mr Goh wrote his latest post this afternoon. The National Environment Agency’s three-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) hit a new high of 401 at 1pm.

It has even been hazy in my gmail ‘bus stop’ theme

Google Bus Stop - HAZY

Crisis brings out the best and worst in all of us. In this time, on a personal level we can either whinge about it or try our best to spread some positivity in our sunshine deprived state of affairs. As an educator, I’m relived that the  thick of the haze saw it’s onset during the school vacations and as a Singaporean, I’m glad that we do have the urban infrastructure to shield us from the haze to varying degrees. Our public transport system hasn’t come to a screeching halt and neither has our air-conditioned nation, and we shouldn’t.

I would hate to be browbeaten. I have at home a 95 year old grandmother and a 5 month old nephew. Although it is upsetting that the vulnerable are susceptible in these conditions, when the going gets though, we need to be made of sterner stuff.  There will be short comings from all aspects and rungs of society, but there can also be the closing of ranks to help those in greater need.

Lucian of shares on Medium how he chipped in to help with the distribution of the much sought after N95 masks at Dakota Crescent. That residential area was my first home in my early conscious memory. My family and I lived at Old Airport Road till I was about 5 years old. Our extended family shared a small rented apartment with us and it was bursting at the seams with people. We did not have much, but we were never needy. It was a time which my mom and aunts speak of fondly – my grandfather operated a provision shop in that neighbourhood and the kids could run amok in wild abandon but under the watchful eye of all the aunties and uncles of the coffee shop. I was too young to directly participate in the antics of my older sister and cousins, but I was told that we didn’t have to pay upfront for whatever we consumed from the coffee shop because on a basis of trust, my grandfather would foot the bill accrued at the end of the day. I never experienced such neighbourly relationships thereafter. Old Airport Road for me comes closest to the kampung spirit that is now the stuff of legends. We were the kids belonging to the Old Airport Road neighbourhood of the 80’s and everyone looked out for each other. I’m glad that in these dark days, others have stepped forward to look out for them.


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