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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Gone with the Haze

Along with the haze that came and went, the very loud and visible public over the haze came and disappeared just as fast. Just barely 2 weeks ago, it was as if the whole of Singapore had been stricken with the Ebola disease or the Black Death. Anyway, I think the people has gone into panic mode. In fact, one blogger even claimed in her very eloquently written blog that the haze was worse than SARS! And of course all the anger at the haze were directed at, not surprisingly, the whipping boy of Singapore, the PAP government. People were blaming the gahmen for everything and I sure somewhere out there somebody might actually be accusing the gahmen of starting the haze!

To summarize, the poor gahmen was being blamed for
- failure to anticipate the haze
- lack of a emergency response plan
- impotent and useless in dealing with the Indonesian
- refusing to declare a stop work order and last but not least
- shortage of N95 masks

May be yes the gahmen should have anticipated the haze. After all, it is a yearly affair and I think the gahmen like everybody else were caught flat out by the severity of it this year. But so what if the gahmen had anticipated it? What exactly did the people expect the gahmen to do? Maybe the gahmen should have built a dome over the whole island. I think we are small enough to make it technically possible. So when the haze came, just press a button and the dome will close up like the dome over the new National Stadium. But seriously, what can the gahmen do even if it has anticipated the haze?

People started accusing the gahmen of not knowing what to do. No action plan, response was in bit and pieces. Just like the gahmen expect business to have business continuity plans for all sort of scenario, the gahmen should have one for haze. Really? Like maybe haze hit 200 psi, do this, hit 300 psi do that and so on. Maybe the gahmen do have one but for one reason or another, did not activate it. Or maybe they were really caught flat out. But this is the first time Singapore encounter something like this so next time round will be more prepared.

One thing that pissed people off was the seemingly impotency of the gahmen in dealing with the Indonesian. But I really don't know what the people expect the gahmen to do. Just fly our fire fighters to the Riau Island and put out the fires? Or invade the country and force the Indonesian gahmen to do something? These people don't  seem to realise that this is not a typical HDB neighbour to neighbour spat. If the Indonesian gahmen doesn't want to do anything or is too slow to do anything, there is nothing the gahmen can do other than to continue with diplomatic overtures. Or are these people expecting the gahmen to impose trade sanctions, cut diplomatic ties? 

Some people wanted a stop work order to be issued and got pissed when that did not materialise. I don't understand this demand. Stop work order for who? The whole country? Haze or no haze, life has to go on. So if there is a stop work order, who does it apply to? Only those people who works in offices? Surely not, after all the people who breath in the most haze are those who work outdoor like the transport workers, construction works, police etc So if these people all get to stay at home, who is going to make sure the rest of us office workers get to and from home? And another thing I am puzzled about? Exactly at which level of psi do the people want the stop work order to be issued? Above 300? Say the PSI hit 301, rhe gahmen said stop work - all go home. Reached home 1 hour later (assuming the public transport workers ignore the stop work order and sacrifice their health for us), the PSI drops to 250, everybody goes back to  work? Definitely the gahmen cannot use the hourly or 3 hourly PSI reading to issue such an order. There has to be some consistency and certainty and  based on the 24 hours average reading, there was no ground to call for all. Oh wait, some people are accusing them of manipulating the PSI chart. Why will they want to do that in the first place.

And the elusive N95 mask. I find it funny that people were rushing all over the place to track down the mask. Why do they want it in the first place when they don't even know how or bother wearing it properly. I seen people wearing it with only the top strap, some wear it so loose maybe because it is so uncomfortable that it defeats the whole purpose of wearing it. And the only reason there were not enough mask was because people were hoarding it, buying more than they need and scalpers hoping to make a quick kill. Some people even calculated that the gahmen stockpile of 9 million was insufficient based on their flawed calculation of how long the mask can be worn. Whatever it is, the gahmen do have a stockpile. Just do them expect them to floor the market with it the minute the haze appear. There has to be an orderly distribution of the mask and only after the retail shops have run out which should not be the case if people did not buy more than they need.

Anyway, when the haze returns which it certainly will, hopefully the people will take it in their strides and not blame the gahmen so quickly. After all, they will be just affected as we are.

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