It’s a Hazy Situation.

The annual smog has returned to Malaysia once again. | Photo by Wild Asia.
The annual hazy weather condition has returned to Malaysia once again. | Photo by Wild Asia.

Dear foreign tourists and international holidaymakers,

If you can’t see the outline of the buildings in the distance and you thought you smelled fire and smoke, don’t be alarmed. It is just the haze that has returned to blanket the nation in gray. If you have planned your trips anytime in the second half of the year in Malaysia, you might want to include indoor heritage sites into your itinerary. For those who are in the midst of planning, please avoid coming to my country after June. Trust me, no matter how advanced your digital camera is, you will still see layers of smog instead of the wonderful sights of the nation.

Malaysia is known for its tropical weather conditions of rain and shine all year round. Sadly for us locals, we can now unhappily add ‘haze’ as our third weather condition. It is not considered a tropical season as it is unnatural. The hazy situation began when illegal forest fires started popping up in our neighbouring country, Indonesia, no thanks the culprits involved in illegal open burning and serious deforestation. The authorities in Indonesia have worked hard to put a stop to this but where there are rules, there will be rebels and rogues waiting to break them. Malaysia is not innocent either as several local hotspots for illegal open burning have also been discovered here. Our hot and dry weather results in a lack of rainfall and this only worsens the situation.

Several states and its cities are already affected by the haze this year, such as parts of Penang and Klang Valley. Several areas in Sarawak are also affected by the haze due to the illegal open burning in Sumatra and Kalimantan, both in Indonesia. The authorities in Malaysia and Indonesia will meet to tackle the issue of transboundary haze.

I really despise the haze as the smell of it is similar to that of smoke and fire. The haze is also detrimental to one’s health, especially for the younger children and the elderly as they are more susceptible to falling sick. And then, it also disrupts the idea of a holiday for tourists. Imagine trying to frame a photo of the Petronas Twin Towers and the KL Tower as the backdrop but instead of seeing its magnificent towers, all you see is a smudged version of it. As if it has been drawn and sketched in charcoal.

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