I believe the feeling started, after watching the first Highlander movie back in 1986. Perhaps I was in love with its untainted natural setting. Or probably it was the cool and misty weather that did the trick. Then again, maybe the super-powered characters appealed too much to me as a kid, to the extent that I wanted to live like one.
So the kid version of me dreamt, made a broomstick sword, and took my slumber like how a highlander would (with the help of the air-conditioner in my parents’ master bedroom). But the experience never felt complete, due to the lack of the misty visual effect.
Then, it was the year 1997. By that time, Backstreet Boys seemed to be way cooler than being an immortal Highlander. But my love of the beautiful mountainous region was still intact. That year, I managed to relive that childhood memory...through what people would call as one of Indonesia’s most popular exports. It was the haze...and it was also my misty visual effect.
The haze came to ‘blanket’ Malaysia again last mid-June. The worst hit areas were those at the southern part of the peninsula. Petaling Jaya (PJ) was still far away from being rated as bad in the Air Pollution Index (API). Then, like a sour filling of a sweet candy, the haze abruptly came to PJ in a big way last 23rd June (Sunday).
It was a bad surprise, with the API reading reached between 100 to 150 for PJ. Still, it couldn’t top the haze that happened back in 2005 (it was so bad that everything that you see from outside your home was filled with bright and strong orange hues...like that preliminary scene from Dante’s Peak, when Pierce Brosnan’s character struggled to drive in the volcano-spewed haze).
We already had the haze going on a day before that, but the visual rate was still ok. As a precaution, we cancelled our planned trips to Malacca and the Pet Exhibition at Midvalley Megamall, and made a ‘home quarantine’ for the weekend.
But, there was a big need to go to the Sunday wet market at Uptown Kota Damansara. So, I made the journey alone, together with my 50 cents mask. It was still a struggle though, with the smell of Indonesia’s burnt trees seeping through the mask. Still, it was better than not wearing any. Plus, I was an ecstatic Gregory House wannabe...minus the beard, the walking stick, and the long list of sarcastic remarks.
A ‘smoky’ lane
The T-junction near Sunway Giza, Dataran Sunway
Gonna buy some ‘smoked’ chickens
The haze dissipated slowly a few days after that; through a very long, satisfying rain. I remembered reading a lot of happy status updates from a bunch of very grateful FB folks that day.
Parents and kids...undeterred
Those tall condos are actually not that far from my place
The best status update of the day.
The haze came again a few days prior to this entry. But it was still bearable in KL and PJ, with slightly higher API readings in some parts of Malaysia. Guess the haze will keep on coming, till there’s an agreement between Indonesia and other ASEAN countries, in order to find the best solutions to counter this recurring old problem. As for now, what I can do is to be prepared for any incoming haze...masks and all.
Hope it’ll rain today :)
A video of Kota Damansara on the 23rd June 2013
A bonus video: Irtiza's Earth Hour 2013