A rage amid the haze


I went for a run this morning, taking it easy after the weekend. My watch went a bit mad, reporting that I’d done a kilometre in under two minutes. I know I’ve been increasing my training, but I didn’t think it had made that much of a difference already. It’s still quite hazy at the moment (back above 100 today) and as I came back along the river, I saw a cloud of white fog ahead of me and had to reroute myself.

The fog is part of the anti-mosquito activity in Singapore; they pump clouds of insecticide into the air near mosquito hotspots, although this appears to happen on a fairly random basis (and usually while I’m out running, which is a whole lot of fun to run through). With the current haze, I was hoping it would just be too toxic for the insects already and the fogging wouldn’t be necessary. Touch wood, thrre hasn’t been an incursion of flesh-eating ants, giant termites or burrowing cockroaches into our apartment for at least a fortnight. Or maybe they’ve all gone on holiday to escape the haze.

This evening, having survived the haze, I uploaded my Garmin running log to the website, and then discovered that apparently I’d been running at 2,000m above sea level for the first 15 minutes of my run today. Which is odd, because I don’t remember levitating over the Republic today. Maybe I’ve already sweat so much that I’ve killed my new Garmin, but that would be rather sudden. Usually it’s at least a year before they crumble under the tidal wave of perspiration.

Not content with having technology disappoint me, I had Quora raise my hackles more. Quora is a question-and-answer site where, over time, the questions and answers both seem to be getting worse and worse. I suppose this inexorable decline in quality may just be me becoming jaded as I see the same questions being asked over and over again, or me getting bitter that my answer to why you shouldn’t have sex with animals got downvoted.

I do occasionally ask questions, and sometimes they get answers, at which point Quora emails me to tell me that something I asked about two years ago has a new answer. The last question I think I asked was why cyclists are so inconsiderate in Singapore; riding the wrong way down roads, with no lights, or scything through pedestrians on crossings. For some reason this question must suddenly be more popular, as I’ve started attracting answers, after years of inactivity. Or it’s karma after I went riding through all those runners yesterday.

Yesterday, the new answer was

Because most of the cyclist breaking the rules aren’t Singaporeans….

I like this, the combination of xenophobia and ignorance of how the singular and plural are not interchangeable in English. And it’s short. Apart from that, not really much help. Perhaps the person writing the answer was worn out from requesting the identification documents of every bad cyclist he saw, in order to determine their nationality, and had no energy to go into further detail.

Tonight, I got a much longer answer. Perhaps that should be gratifying, that somebody took the time to respond. And tell me that as I’m not a cyclist, and they have twenty years of experience, I don’t know what I’m on about.

After all…

People who don’t cycle may view certain cycling acts are dangerous, but to cyclists they are safe.

I think the only thing I enjoy more than being patronized is being patronized by somebody with twenty years of riding a bike. It puts my eighteen years of cycling a bike quite to shame. And in any case, I was too dumb to realize that as Singapore has street lighting, lights for a bike are quite unnecessary, as is riding the correct way down a road, or giving way to pedestrians. Suitably chastened, I began to work on a riposte to this, but as it’s now almost eleven at night, and I need to be fully rested to go running in the fog and haze tomorrow, I’ll just stop looking for extra enragement and go to sleep. Nighty night.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.