19 June 2013


The smoke haze on the island has intensified. The locals are claiming that they are hazed. I am amazed but not fazed as they are all a little crazed. They are also somewhat dazed and their eyes are glazed.

Alright enough with the word shenanigans. This is serious stuff. Here is a view from my office on a normal day:

This is more or less the same view today:

The particulate matter in the air is heavy. The smoke is coming from Indonesia where enormous tracts of forests are being burned. They are being razed. Tens of thousands of acres are ablaze on the island of Sumatra and the fires will likely last for many days. It is also choking the poor Malays. More rhyming word shenanigans. I can't seem to help myself.

It is irresistible.

The Singaporean government are not at all happy with the Indonesians and the smoke that is choking we inhabitants of the island. Singapore is shrouded in smoke and ash. Letters have been written and demands have been made. This has happened before and it will happen again. The Indonesians don't give a fuck.

They really don't.

The smoke that is choking Singapore is the worst it has been for more than twenty years. Visibility is less than 500 meters and planes and flights are now being affected. When this happened in 1997 it was estimated that the impact on the economy was more than $9 billion. This was in healthcare costs and disrupted air travel and loss of business.

The current President of Indonesia is Susilio Bambang Yudhoyono. The spellcheck function on my Mac utterly rejects his name. It has thrown up the option of "suss out bang bang your yo yo". I like this a lot.

It is brilliant.

The reason behind the massive burn offs is that the Indonesians are incinerating land in order to clear it and plant palm trees for the production of palm oil. Burning forests is a much cheaper option than cutting them down and bulldozing them. Palm oil is big business. Ironically it is considered an environmentally friendly option for the production of bio-fuels. Apart from destroying virgin forests the native habitat of the already endangered orangutans is being decimated.

This is truly tragic.

As I made my way home from work this evening I noticed that many Singaporeans were wearing face masks to protect themselves from inhaling the smoke contaminated air. In my warped mind they looked like bespectacled nerdy bank robbers. For reasons I do not fully understand the sight annoyed me and the desire to set them all on fire was compelling. I knew that this would only add to the contaminants in the air so I turned my iPod to full volume and I did my very best to ignore them. As I alighted the train at Novena station the song by the Cure "Fire in Cairo" started playing.

The synchronicity was surreal.

As I arrived at my condominium the Manager of my Apartment complex Mr. Tan was talking in an animated fashion to one of the security guards. Both men were wearing face masks. Their conversation was muffled and I was unsure how they could understand each other.

Mr. Tan rushed over to me as I walked up the driveway and made some noises that I assume were a greeting. I could not understand a word he was saying because of the face mask.

"Good evening Mr. Tan. I can not understand what you are saying with that face mask on"

He pushed the mask down and said, "Hello Mr. Peter the smoke in the air is terrible"

"It is very terrible indeed Mr. Tan", I agreed.

"Mr. Bang Bang my Yo Yo in Indonesia has much to answer for" 

Mr. Tan nodded his head in agreement.

"Would you like a face mask to protect yourself from the smoke Mr. Peter?"

"Thank you Mr. Tan. Yes I will take the face mask that Rahul is wearing please"

Rahul is the security guard that Mr. Tan was speaking to when I arrived. He is a close associate of my neighbor and arch enemy Jens the deranged Danish Biker. I am almost positive that it was Rahul who informed Jens that it was me who told Mr. Tan that I believed it was the psychotic Dane who was responsible for pooing in the swimming pool. Jens was subsequently interviewed by both building management and the police. He was outraged by the accusation but I am quite sure that he was the guilty party. The man is an animal and he is a certifiable lunatic.

Although Rahul's mouth and nose were covered by the face mask that he was wearing I could tell that he was gasping at my demand for his face mask. His eyes boggled.

"Give Mr. Peter your mask", Mr. Tan demanded.

As Rahul reached to remove his mask I declared, "Don't worry Rahul or Mr. Tan. I am a smoker and am used to breathing in large volumes of toxic chemicals"

"Are you sure Mr. Peter?"

Rahul's hands were trembling with uncertainty.

"I am quite sure thank you Mr. Tan"

I could see the palpable relief in Rahul's expression. Then he erred by squinting at me in what I interpreted to be an act of smugness.

"May I suggest though Mr. Tan that with the smoke haze worsening Rahul should text you with hourly updates on the air at the complex throughout the night? This would give me and the other tenants great comfort should the smoke worsen and intrude into our apartments. If this happens I may need to come down and take Rahul's mask. Can?"

As soon as Mr. Tan leaves the complex - which is usually about 9.00pm each evening - Rahul goes straight to sleep in the security guard hut. Having him send Mr. Tan a text message every hour would force the treacherous little weasel to stay awake for his work shift.

"Can Mr. Peter. Rahul you will send an SMS update every hour to the Command Centre" Mr. Tan ordered the now panic stricken security guard.

"Thank you Mr. Tan"

"You are most welcome Mr. Peter"

"I bid you both a good evening then", I said to them both.

Then I marched off towards the lift lobby through the gloomy haze

"Stay awake and alert Rahul" I said over my shoulder.

Petty I know - however the smoke that is veiling the air is choking and annoying me and Rahul made a grave error in judgment when he took sides with the insane Scandinavian who is now the bane of my life.

He must now pay the price.

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