Tonight is mid-Autumn festival. It is a time of celebrating through feasting on delectable goodies, munching on high caloric diabetes-inducing mooncakes, and carrying fancy Disney-esque lanterns which blare high-pitched cheesy tunes like “Lambada” or “Venga Boys”. Older folks may prefer to sip a cup or two of their favourite “Oolong” or “Iron Buddha” tea.
On this particular night, the moon was shining bright…. Hey wait, what is that angelic “halo” doing around the moon? And I can’t see any stars too. In fact, I can’t see anything more than a km away. Everything is enshrouded in a thick blanket of tiny particulate matter of foreign origin. Plus my throat, nose and eyes are stinging, and everything is a blurry haze – literally.
Yep, once again, Singapore is the victim of the haze – an ecologically disastrous phenomenon brought about largely by illegal loggers and shifting cultivators in the nearby Indonesian island of Sumatra. The meteorologist tells us that the worsening haze is a result of the wind direction blowing everything north-easterly towards our island’s direction. Well, at a PSI of 80, we are supposed to be in the “moderate” range, though my aching throat and teary eyes seem to tell me otherwise.
I guess in times like this, I wonder if we Singaporeans can do something about it. Of course, just trying to tell our neighbours down South to douse their own flames may not work if they simply do not have the means to do so. Can we then do something to help them control their alarming rate of deforestation – in a friendly, diplomatic and unthreatening manner? Hmmmmm…