The Haze

I am in a perplexed state of mind now that the haze episode is making a comeback with a vengeance in Sarawak. It has been a few days that we are experiencing this 'smog' invasion in Kuching. We are all helpless and can do no more than just watch it descend on us.

I do feel mad about it. But mad at who? At the poor farmers who depend on the land to survive? At our neighbouring country for not doing enough to curb the burning activities. One must not forget that they too would like to improve their country's economy and their people are in need of a some income and the opening up of land via slash and burn seems to be the cheapest option. They have learnt that if they do not do that the people tend to revolt and cause mayhem in the streets of their capital because they hae nothing to do. Yeap... they yearn to improve their standard of living.

Land Opening: photo is courtesy of Mr. Anthony Banyan who went to Kalimantan just recently

So their Standard of Life is more of a priority than their Quality of Life (health deterioration from inhaling smoke). Wait are those two not the same thing? In this case I guess not. Imagine having to breath those "God Knows What ingredients are inside that Smoke" which can affect your health. Its a wonder to find out what people actually would do without thinking of the future implications. Its called "instant gratification" - today I burn the land and tomorrow I will grow rich from it. They miss out the point that "today I burn the land, so that I can spend the money on buying lung related disease medications" approach.

I looked out my office window and this is what I see. Just white smoke, smoke, smoke and more smoke. Yee Gods. Imagine having to breath those stuff while walking along Kuching Waterfront! In my last blog post in August I could see the Hotels across.

Well I guess the Natural Resource and Environment Board and the Department of Environment have their hands tied. So I was not surprised when the news tat NREB are distributing masks to everyone in the State - ermmmm.... that's all thet can do. Maybe because this is transboundary pollution. It means that the smoke coming in from our foreign neighbours are violating our airspace and entering the country's without any passport. Sounds all too familiar because that means illegals coming in the same way. So there won't be any enforcement officers knocking on our neighbours' doors as we can't cross the borders to fight the fire. We leave it to our neighbour's enforcement efforts to curb the burning and smoke emitted out of it. We can opt to send in our firemen (again) to put out the fire in Kalimantan but maybe we should save ourself the embarrassment like last time when it was revealed that the fire is being started by Malaysian Companies opening up plantations there. The news would not be so good - Malaysian Firemen puts Out Fire By Malaysians in X Country'. It would distract us from the actual Haze story. So I think that is where the Haze obtained its passport (its more of a social visit pass I think). Thank God its a temporary social pass. The haze will have to go back again after a period of time to renew that social pass and come back again when they feel like it.

So there's only one thing to do during this haze episode when going out can be pretty hazardous to your health - have fun and just joke about it, as demonstrated by my colleague, Dr. Lawrence Tseu, who happens to be one of our senior boss. His recommendation would be to laugh the Haze away and I guess I would just do that. What elese can we do anyway?

For those who are at a loss - I know the business people are grumbling as Kuching City is rather abandoned as most people do not want to walk in the streets - take Dr. Lawrence's advice. On the health aspect which is if you do have to go out there and struggle along the streets just to buy something, my advice is - use a decent mask. Breathing this stuff twenty four hours a day non stop can be pretty risky and unhealthy - of course you already know that. But a good mask will be something that you feel comfortable with.

Not this mask but if it can get me that close to Catherine Zeta - I won't mind at all

Mask that is of international recognition - must have some serial number to make you feel safe and confident of using. Here Dr. Lawrence shows the mask he is using.

So that's it. Come and jingle with me before we sign off for today. Its called This Haze:

This Haze This Haze
I woke up one morning and said "What The Blaze?"
Dusts on my furnitures spoiling its Glaze
Breathing this air puts my mind in a Maze
Why Am I not Amazed
I can't even enjoy my Evening Laze
With this visionary sights of blurry Daze
They Call it the Farmers' Raze
I'd Love to call it The Farmers' Craze
This Haze This Haze

If that won't make the haze go away - last effort is to pray hard. So see you at Church people!


Today's Borneo Post reported PKR's Sarawak rep, Dominique Ng, suggesting they use ISA against the bosses who allow burning...
Is personal liberty so cheap in M'sia that you can go to jail indefinitely for starting a fire???
Danny - u better rush to ur hotel soon coz I plan to pick u up earlier :)
Rentap said…
It will be interesting to know on when was the last haze that we get from our 'neighbor'.Do u have the info, Des? I blog about it in August 2005 here(http://ibanguy.blogspot.com)
Miriguy said…
its so bad isnt it? the haze is starting to invade singapore too.. we cant even see the full moon during mooncake festival ;(
Apai Salleh said…
I think we are familiar with the cause of the Haze. And it is not shifting cultivation, it's cultivation of another type.

The Indons can burn as much as they want. Sarawak is no different either, the fires go on there as well. Let's just hope, Malaysians and Indonesians do not decide to burn all year round for the next 5 years.

It is happening. I mean, I can still remember when "Haze" wasn't a word in our vocabulary.
Anonymous said…
Its haze, Its haze....sounds like Cat in A Hat rhyme! Im sorry you guys have to breathe the smoke but I wanna fly back home. HHmmm.....smog.....
I say, let's shoot some indonesian? What say you? I am suffering, I have been suffering from this stupid haze. I don't consume the harvest from the Indonesian crops neither do I buy them. It is another story if we are dependent on these inconsiderate neighbours.

I have gone to the dr twice for the past two weeks!
Apai Salleh said…
The thing is DB, it's both the Malaysians and Indonesians who burn tropical rainforests to plant palm oil. Biodiesel is the future.

Every year for the last 10 years, the Malay archipelago has been burning; If you want to blame someone, be prepared to accept that the fault is closer to Home. Everyone wants licenses for plantations, Mills, shipping, etc, etc

You just have to be patient,in another 10 years, there will be no forests to burn. In the meantime, It's not so bad is it ?? The Haze only lasts a couple of months for 2-3 times a year.

In Bolehland and IndahNesia anything is possible. Don't worry, be happy :-)
Apai Salleh said…

Enjoy your time off. I hope normality is restored and everything improves soon. Fingers crossed.
apai salleh,

totally agreed with you... when I was living in Perlis (the largest sugar producer in the country), they used to burn the sugarcane plantation during harvest time...

it is us too, Malaysians.... totally agreed but then again, an easier scapegoat will be some indons...

let's shoot them! HAhahaahaha! LOL