25 May 2013

It's that time of the decade again where the entire country is shrouded with a blanket of haze courtesy of our friendly neighborhood Indonesian. The last time we had this much haze was in 2006 and 7 years earlier in 1999. Looks like the 7 years cycle has now completed and the farmers and plantations in neighboring Sumatra is up to the same trick again, burning their land to prepare for their next batch of crops. According to this report by The Star, the haze was caused by Indonesian settlers who must burn and clear their land every few years so that they can continue to lay claim to that land. I believe it's a combination of settlers and the plantation owners. This time around, Singapore and Johore was first to be hit by the haze with PSI reading up to 400 and beyond. When this matter was brought up to the Indonesian government, their silly ministers were quick to blame Singaporean and Malaysian manufacturers who allegedly initiated the slash and burn practice at their plantation. Although there is some truth in that argument, the point is, the Indonesian authorities have the full power to stop or prosecute the culprit whether local or foreigners.

Last weekend the haze was so severe that emergency was declared in the town of Muar when the PSI index breached 780 points. At the same time schools in many part of Johor and the whole of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur were closed yesterday for fear of children's health. My son didn't go to school yesterday and today as well since I'm quite positive the haze will still be as bad as yesterday. My guess was correct because although the school is open today, the told the children to go back around 10:30 AM because of deteriorating air quality. The school where I work was also closed since yesterday and presumably until tomorrow. Although it rained quite heavily just now, there's no assurance that the haze won't return again tomorrow. I didn't have to go to work on Monday but had to come to work as usual today although we were allowed to punch in 30 minutes late. Although most of the teachers absent and all the kids away, my boss always seem to find something for us to do. The chores are endless. But of course they don't expect you to come to work and warm your balls on sit idly at the chair do you?

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