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Tag: haze

Abandoned, but for the sun and moon above

This is a shot of the neighbourhood childrens’ playground that I took last week. On any other day, the picture will be clear and sharp, the buildings in the background would not look as faded simply because we are generally a hot, sunny island with very clear visibility. And yes, there might be a child or two about the slide, ladder or climbing wall.

We have been beset by smoke haze from hot spot fires in Sumatra, Indonesia from last week and the PSI index reached as high as 401 (air quality is described as hazardous when it climbs above 300). Over the weekend, things seemed to have improved, and air quality seemed to have stayed more or less moderate so that’s good.

On another day, I noticed the sun reflecting off the windows of a building.

I turned around searching for the sun and there it was.

I was telling Mr P how without the haze shrouding the sun, the picture above would have been impossible for me to shoot. And then he shared with me his own photo that he took coming back from work at 3a.m. The picture was shot from the carpark downstairs.

Mr P doesn’t take pictures very often, but the moon, red from the haze is something neither of us has seen before.

While I may whine and gripe about the haze like everyone else, I also have to concur with Wiley who was wise to say,

… poop happens in our lives every now and then. Are we going to ignore it…(or just whine about it)? Or are we going to face it head on and pay it forward…

Not sure how to pay it forward in this case :P Mostly, we are just thankful Donna and I have the option to hole up in our tiny air-conditioned study when necessary. Although I expect the electricity bills will climb.

Dogs lick themselves when they are relaxing, bored or stressed it seems.


Haze is a yearly occurrence in Singapore normally in the months August-September. We’ve been lucky to escape the worse of it in the last few years and one barely notices it if one is stuck at work in the office all day. This year’s haze is so unexpected and it’s not until I experienced how severe it can be in our own backyard so to speak that one starts to empathise with those who have to live with it daily.

Haze health tips for pet owners, read this previous post.

This post is a companion post to Weekly Phoneography: Population, in capturing our already very urbanised neighbourhood at a point where:

  • we have started to see physical changes in the landscape, growth of buildings around 3 times the height of existing flats
  • the interplay of the elements of nature in an urbanised environment – air, trees, sun, moon

Weekly Phoneography: Population

new vs old flats
Phoneography Monday Challenge: Architecture (challenger’s choice)

New flats less than 2 years old on the left; old flats easily more than 20, 30 years old on the right.

As buildings grow taller, trees are growing shorter.

news infographic on roadside trees in Singapore
Excerpt from The Sunday Times, May 19, 2013

I have written before about the impending removal of some tall Angsana trees downstairs to make way for three new blocks of flats.

Change is inevitable, but I do like trees that stand as tall as 12 to 13 storey flats. When walking the dog, they provide welcome shade in our hot, bright climate although yes, they also harbour poop-dropping birds and life-threatening falling branches when it storms.

roadside trees
roadside trees
 Wherever they stand, trees and the oxygen they produce enable life.

This is the main road junction of our neighbourhood. Look how well the trees obscure the blocks of flats behind them, and then scroll back to the first picture. How hard and stark the buildings are with the small trees. And then I think about the haze and know that I will always still prefer the big trees of life that cleanse the air around us faithfully.

Note: Copyright of the newspaper belong to SPH, I will be obliged to remove the clipping if requested.

Smokin’ Parkour

We did crawl a little bit under a metal rung that was on our way to pee break outside in the haze. :P

We are having a break from the haze today with PSI under 100, i.e. moderate air quality. But it’s not difficult to empathise with our neighbours in Malaysia, who earlier declared a state of emergency in the Muar and Ledang districts where PSI breached 750.

Is the haze bad for my dog?

I feel like a Doomsday Prepper!

So the officially reported PSI index hovers around 300 and at one point it was 400 today. Hazardous all the way~

Seniors, mums-to-be, children and people with heart or respiratory problems are advised to don the N95 respiratory mask when outside and in general to avoid outdoors. Healthy persons should also be masked if “prolonged and strenuous outdoor activity is unavoidable.”

But what about dogs who need their daily walks? And some dogs are outdoor dogs, what about them?

The Animal Doctors advise:

Keep all pets indoors during the haze and if your rabbits or small pets are kept in balconies, bring them in. They are especially at risk for smoke inhalation due to their small lung capacity. Smoke inhalation can cause chronic pneumonia and can be fatal if the animal is no longer able to compensate. Note any signs of breathing difficulty and bring them to your vet immediately.

And the Mount Pleasant Animal Medical Centre says:

Animals have an increased sensitivity to foreign particles and constant exposure to polluted air may place them in the position to develop respiratory problems.

Pets that are in greater danger include:

  • pets with heart/lung disease
  • young pets less than 1 year old
  • geriatric pets above 6-7 years old
  • pets with debilitating conditions, e.g. kidney, liver problems
  • pets with eye conditions

However, the advice they posted on their Facebook pages should probably apply to all pets:

In terms of the possible effects of smoke haze on pets:

  • Irritation of the nose and throat
  • Increased mucous production
  • Tendency to cough
  • Eye irritation, redness and discharge
  • Lung problems if severe; bronchitis, asthma
  • Skin irritation; rashes

In general, its good to have your regular vet clinic’s contact number as well as the nearest emergency after-hours vet contact. So if the above effects manifest themselves excessively or your pet is finding it hard to breathe, you’d be able to reach medical attention quickly.

I’ve consolidated the points above from 2 posters. You can view the original information at here and here. And also news references here and here.

And why do I feel like a Doomsday Prepper? I spent a good part of the morning calling and hunting for N95 masks to no avail. They are just not in stock and if they are, there are long queues or sold out the next second. We are not too concerned for ourselves since we are healthy adults but it would be nice to get some for our older parents and grandparents. Of course, getting stubborn parents/grandparents to wear them is another matter!! :P

The fat dog is too chill to be a doomsday prepper! :P

Nature disrupted

The air quality deteriorated this week as the winds brought in the haze from Indonesia created by forest fires and agricultural practices that include the use of fire to clear land.

Before haze,

After haze, as you can see buildings in the distance are obscured.

Before haze even with the rain, one can see the shadowed hills lying behind the buildings in the distance.

After haze, that rolling relief is obscured.

It’s still not too bad near home although the smoky, burnt smell in the air is palpable. In the city to the south of the island where Mr P works, the visibility was even worse he said. Still a health advisory was issued, and we are to keep indoors. This comes on top of our dengue threat. We are just at the starting of the dengue season.

And since we are a kiasu nation, face-masks and mosquito-repelling plants are apparently snatched up as soon as they hit the shelves.

And all this means, outdoor walks for Donna may have to be shortened depending on the PSI index. Donna’s bored, but at least she gets to enjoy the super rare treat that is air-conditioning.

The neighbourhood street cat? Not so lucky.

Ah this stupid haze, retreat! Retreat!

Actually, he/she was more retreating from a trigger-happy human and her dog. Hah!! I’m sorry for harassing the neighbourhood cat. It was not harmed in anyway, and Donna was walking and stopping with me the whole way and not a threat to the cat either. ;)

You know the Adopt, Don’t Buy slogan? It makes sense if one wants a pet and is not picky about the breed. Save a life from a shelter and they can get more injured/unwanted strays off the street.

Note: The newspaper has copyright over the newspaper. So I’ll be obliged to take it down if requested to.

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