Sick day

I woke feeling dreadful. Outside was just as bad as inside me: the air pollution index had shot up to 150 and the rainstorm outside was a nasty shade of tobacco yellow. Instead of taking La Serpiente to school and then going to the office, I sent her out with my wife and then lay down on La Serpiente’s bed, and woke up three hours later, still feeling zonked.
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Blue Singapore once more

The haze has returned, an inconsistent blight upon the city. I check aqicn.org compulsively, obsessing over whether the PM2.5 count is above or below 100 for the past hour, either locking the windows shut against the pollution or opening everything up to let “clean” (below 100) air into the flat. The children, unused to being confined to quarters, are moody and uncooperative. At least as the sun sets, the extra particulates in the air provide a calming shade of blue.
IMG_0289
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Rainy Monday Blues

Back in 2014, in either a display of preparedness or a fairly good demonstration of slamming the stable door after the horse has bolted, everyone in our HDB got given three free 3M antiparticulate masks by the Singapore government. About eleven months after the haze had gone up to 500, and then gone back down again. I stuck them in a drawer and didn’t employ them, until today when the air pollution index was up again past 100, and I still felt like I had to go to work.

It turned out to be remarkably efficacious; either that, or unnecessary. I walked to work, breathing just fine through the filter, and only saw one other person wearing a mask. I felt a little embarrassed that I wasn’t braving the elements like everyone else. Was I just wasting my mask?

At lunchtime, I went outside and left the mask behind. All afternoon I had a splitting headache and my left eye twitched. So when I left the office this evening, I put the mask back on again.

And then it started raining.

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Another day where you can’t see the point

I looked out the window this morning, and all hope was gone. Well, the Central Business District was missing, and had been replaced by a big grey cloud. (For reference, the last picture here is what I should have been able to see.)

No, I don't need my windows cleaned.

Even now, at quarter to midnight, when the haze is easier to see through because there’s less light being scattered by it, it’s filthy out there is still a vague cloud of nothingness where Singapore usually is. The official air pollution index is up above 300 right now (200 is where even the able-bodied and healthy should stay indoors and not subject themselves to the air) and it’s showing no signs of coming back down right now.

I moved away from Hong Kong partly because I wanted better air quality. Oh woes.

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I can see the point


The weather was filthy today; it felt an order of magnitude worse than Monday, when I was decrying people for complaining about a bit of haze. Now, with the smoke intensifying, and finding pains in my own chest, I stopped finding it amusing. Ah, the sweet smell of hypocrisy almost overcomes the stench of smoke.
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Haze

One of the advantages that Singapore holds over Hong Kong is the air quality. For months every year the Special Administrative Region is draped with clouds of filthy air that billow down from the factories of the Pearl River Delta, and the smuts of black diesel smoke puffing from every bus. The Lion City enjoys endless summer breezes and blue skies.

Until burning season starts.
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