Thursday, August 11, 2005

Code Red, people

If I had written the other day about how bad the haze was, it would have considerably worsened as I write now. Approaching and exceeding the danger levels, there doesn't seem to be any panic at all except for the constant front page exclusives. What did we get actually? First was a couple of pictures, then an apology from Indonesia, and only yesterday was the readings officially released (after how many years?).

Sidewalk cafes emptied out, and masks being sold in huge quantities that demand exceeds supply. Only now are people questioning, and when a large group of people start questioning the whys then a fraction of the people will get angry because of the lack of transparency, the lack of action. It seems as though we have a serious crisis on our hands, the air outdoors is almost unbreathable, and yet schools continue to open, awaiting for the Education minister's response on whether schools should be closed or not. I shudder to think that the classes are held without enclosures and the haze circulating thru the ceiling fans as the kids actually have to try to pay attention in class.

And yet there is no foreseeable action from any parties. On one hand you get the Indonesian government assuring us that they are doing what they can to stop it, extending their apologies. Well, I suppose its not the right thing to tell them what to do, but if their actions, or inactions affect our people then who is responsible for any form of action? Are we right to voice our opinions? Where is the voice of leadership to tell us that everything is going to be alright and that all measures are currently being deployed? Every day I open the newspaper, all I get are photos, and virtual silence. This silence is almost as unbearable as inhaling the pollutants I'm imagining coating my lungs as they prepare to shut down and die.

Try listening to Singapore radio or even international news, you'd have slightly more information on how drastic this is being viewed at an international level, and yet somehow we are shielded from the sense of urgency the media fails to deliver.