Everyone has strong feelings about the shroud we are under. Take away our blue skies and majestic skyline and fires begin to burn in the hearts of Malaysians.
Only until recently did the government end its secrecy on the API - by which time, undeniable and unconcealable hazardous levels has already been superceded. But API or no API, we are all choked, and we are panicking. Like smoking rats in a cage, with nowhere to run, the frenzy is palpable. It's not just a haze in the sky, it's confusion on the ground as well.
How long will this last? How is it affecting my health? Should I stay home or go to work? Is it safe? Will there be an emergency? Should I think of moving out of the city?
We can blame Indonesia and demand for compensation. Lame apologies are useless right now - we want action! Then we find out that Malaysian plantations are partly responsible for raging flames across the Straits.
This morning my wife and I drove through thick smog. The sky was slate gray. The majestic twin towers, usually sparkling with glory were reduced to ghostly shadows. And there were hardly any cars on the road - (a glad thanks to PM for his quick call for an emergency in some parts, and the closure of schools throughout Klang Valley). This is what a nuclear winter would look like - if we survived to see it, that is - I remarked to my wife.
If this was a sign, a wake-up call, it is to tell us that our environment is frail and extremely vulnerable. The carrying capacity of our air is so exhausted that the slightest disturbance will tip us into this gray winter. It is also to tell us that when it comes to caring for planet earth, political boundaries have no meaning. We are responsible, and all of us are responsible. If we never appreciated it enough to protect it - we must now.