The haze in Malaysia now is a thing of the past. Roughly two months ago, the haze caused a lot of distress to Malaysians. Schools were closed. Children and the elderly fell sick as they were more susceptible to bad atmosphere. Venturing out of the house was a chore in itself. Everyone feared for their health. When Green Day sang, “Wake me up when September ends,” it was almost as accurate as singing, “Wake us up when October ends.” Because that was the exact time of the year when the haze faded away.
But now, now that the haze is gone, everyone is relieved. Gone are the days when you could barely see a thing. Gone are the days when the smell of fog and smoke assaulted your nostrils. Gone are the days when you kept all the doors and windows shut because you didn’t want the haze entering your homes. Gone are the days when each increase of the API reading made you worry for the health of your loved ones.
Now, everyone can enjoy the beautiful clear skies, the sea of white fluffy clouds and the bright blue horizons. Now you can see everything, from the Kuala Lumpur city skyline in the distance to the office tower right next to yours. Now you don’t have to think twice about leaving your doorstep. Grocery shopping doesn’t look as menacing as before. Doing the laundry now will ensure that your clothes will smell of the fresh, sun-dried scent instead of the smog.
The funny thing is, now that there is an abundance of sunlight, the days have become hot again. Hot and somewhat dry. So are we going to complain about something new now? When it was hazy, we didn’t like the haze. When it rains, we don’t like the fact that it causes unnecessary traffic on the main roads and highways (unless it rained at nights while people are in bed and asleep). When it’s hot, we’re not amused. My husband has often wished it snowed in Malaysia. Snow indeed. Such wishful thinking. The haze has also given us some unwanted media attention, in the form of memes and online scrutiny. When Bollywood actor Rajinikanth touched down at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on October 26, 2015, apparently the haze was not as bad as before he arrived (read the full article here). And then the infamous Malaysian bomoh (‘shaman‘ in Malay) Ibrahim Mat Zin aka “Raja Bomoh” (of the carpet and coconuts fame when he claimed his rituals could help to locate MAS Airlines Flight MH370) claimed that his vase can absorb all the haze (read the full article here). Ridiculous, but you gotta hand it to Malaysians, we are creative in our own rights.