Sunday, June 23, 2013

Reasons for reaction of Singaporeans to the haze.

This is based on my observations.

I am referring to this post, "Dumb and Dumber Singaporean Reactions to the Haze" by Sgthinker (who seems to have no name)

In times of crisis, how a country reacts speaks volumes about its people and its character. I am sad to say that many online reactions to the unprecedented haze does not bode well for the country’s future.

Why isn’t there a stop work order? Gahmen only care about economy and not its people!

-- I do see a lot of calls for stop work order, for the workers who work outdoors without protection during the haze I don't see any problems with this, if the air quality is labeled Hazardous, shouldn't these people who are working outdoors be allowed to work in safe conditions? Most workers are not wearing safety breathing masks and it is not fair for them to work in Singapore to earn $$$ and return later to their countries with more respiratory problems.

If the AQI exceeds 300 in the USA, the Environment Protection Agency says that while outdoor activities are not recommended, it is still ok for kids to occasionally go out and play. This is because “even though dirty air is bad for kids, most kids won’t be hurt by playing outside, once in a while, when the air is dirty.” The EPA backs up its claims through studies on the effects of particulate pollution on health.

All around the world, 150 PSI is unhealthy, only bad parents will allow their kids to play outside when it is at Hazardous levels. I don't see anywhere in the link to support this. I personally have spoken to people who are involved fighting the Arizona Forest fires, and their advice is always to stay indoors when PSI is above 150, and put on a breathing masks.

Sorry, when AQI exceeds 300, it is called Hazardous for a reason. Please, don't let your kids out to play and think EPA allows this.

I feel that a stop work order for workers working outdoors is important because Singapore unlike other countries have "low paid" foreign workers which can be easily abused and exploited. If compared to any first world nation with their union workers, the unions would have already stood up and request the companies to stop work outdoors. In Singapore, NTUC does not really look out for the workers. In fact many workers who cannot really afford the masks are working outside without masks when PSI was above 400.

There are state of emergencies called when the smoke from forest fires reach areas in the US when AQI exceeds 300. You constantly get "Action advisory" in places where they have forest fires, which is more localized compared to the haze in Singapore, and in areas where AQI is bad, the workers can choose to stop work.

How Smoke from Fires Can Affect Your Health

The PAP wasn’t prepared for the haze!

I could see that there are claims of 9 million stockpile of masks, but no one could find them. Clearly, having a 5.3 million population + tourists, the 9 million number seems a lot, and yes, they run out in shops.

Nothing was heard from the government when the haze was the worst and masks were not enough. There was no advice or assurance on where to get or when new stocks will arrive. 

NEA was still updating their sites with a 3 hour average of the haze, even though the size was updated every hour. Having a 3 hour average in a time of crisis is not acceptable, no one wants to know how bad the air is 2 hours ago if they are going out NOW.

 If you are complaining that the Govt isn’t giving you free masks, then it is a sign of how unreasonable you are. Assistance has to be given to those who need it most, such as the poor, elderly and the vulnerable hospital patients. If you can read this message online, you can already afford a $3 mask. Don’t be a scrooge and pay for your own god-damn mask.

The PSI reading is inaccurate! Look at the sky, so much worse! Gahmen is trying to hide something!

Having a 3 hour average leads to speculation, this is a crisis when air is at a hazardous level, and people want to know if they should go out. 

There is hazardous air, it is a crisis, if NEA can have hourly updates, how hard is it to give hourly readings?

Singapore should do something to the Indonesians! The PAP is inept!
When Singapore donates $0.5 Million to "help" Indonesia combat the haze, is this the price that Singapore can offer? for 9 million N95 masks @$2 each, it is already $18 million.

If prevention is better than cure, should Singapore do more, and perhaps set up a haze prevention program to support the Indonesians to use other sustainable methods which does not include slash and burn.

If we were to suffer this haze every year, shouldn't we spend more to prevent this and perhaps "save" millions of lost revenue to the lost of tourism and health issues caused by the haze?

Singapore does not seem to be a good neighbor, and constantly have disputes and name calling of other nations. Perhaps having better ties with Indonesia would help and we may also reduce our defense budget?

Clearly total defense strategy failed as with our trillions in reserve and billions spent on military, haze can get to us, perhaps LKY was right, we need a dome over Singapore and be able to submerge underwater for long periods to escape haze or other hazardous air.

Shameless public behavior

Profiteering will happen, in any country, but if there is ample supply of masks as stated, how can this happen at all?

Perhaps everyone can collect their masks from an area like polling stations, and the cost of the masks be deducted from our Medisave? If there is such a guarantee, that EVERYONE WILL HAVE A N95 Mask, will profiteering still happen?

Shameless online critics politicizing the haze, instead of lending a hand.

Within hours of the PSI hitting 400, I saw a friend post about SG Haze Rescue. Friends are organizing mail orders from other countries or offering help in bringing masks in as they are flying back home, or mailing them back overnight.

I don't know where this person reads his stuff, by I may be lucky and blessed with helpful Singaporean friends? Online critics complain, and sometimes, I do see these complains seem to make the government work faster, and it does help in some way, and it is valid in many other ways.


From the whole disaster, I realized that the government should work with the Indonesian government to find solutions so it does not happen again. Haze seems to be a yearly one, and building up close ties should be for mutual benefit.

Yes, Singaporeans should complain less about Indonesia, and perhaps pity them as many people are suffering from worse conditions and they did not start the fire.

-- Iron Bowl

No comments: