Our annual haze season.
Malaysians can get used to anything. Or you might think that la seeing how we deal with things like the air we breathe, the water we drink, the roads we drive on etc. etc.etc.
Years ago when the water from our taps changed colour to that of kurang manis teh tarik we all made such a big noise. OI!!! How can man? We all pay money one you know. Baarger how can the government give us dirty water? Our children will get sick. Then the government spun us some stories. Hiyah! The water pipes old already ma. Need time to change and need lots of money also. So take time lor. Be patient la. In the meantime, buy water filters lor. And man! Did we buy water filters! How many Malaysians became millionaires selling those things I wonder? And soon the conversation shifted from "How can the blaardy garmen not be able to supply clean water to its citizens"...... to ...... "Eh! What brand your filter ah? Mine is imported one you know?" ...... "Ya ka? Mine cost RM10,000.Yours how much?"
And all too soon we surrendered yet another one of our fundamental rights as tax-paying citizens. And got used to water filters becoming an essential of living in this country.
Then we were told that in order to develope our country into the 21st century we needed a better system of roads. And that we needed to privatize expressway building cos the government didn't have enough money to build them fast enough. This meant that we had to pay tolls to use these expressways. How can? We all made noise about it for a while. Even as these expressways just charge us for getting our cars into grid-locked traffic jams faster than usual. But we soon got used to it and stopped making noise. And we surrendered something else again. Although I am not sure having good roads free-of-charge is a right of a citizen la.
Then a few years ago we had our first sniff of the HAZE. When it first drifted over to our shores Phwaaar we made so much noise that the corridors of Putrajaya shook man. We did, right? To the extent I think ministers were sent over to 'solve' the problem. And those pharmacy flers sold surgical masks like hot cakes. The meteorological department published daily updates on air quality. The newspapers were full of stories of children affected, coughing, lung problems etc. and kept out of school.
And then our tourism flers said that publishing air quality reports affects tourist arrivals and therefore would adversely affect our revenue. The reports stopped. But the call for blood of those flers burning the forests in Indonesia continued. And so somebody released the news that the fires were actually set by oil palm plantation owners clearing land for planting. And that most of these plantations were Malaysian-owned!!! Oh dear! How can man?
And then news about the haze began to disappear from our media. Sales of masks slowed down. And we went about life in Malaysia as though nothing was amiss. Oh yes, we still do cough and tear a bit la. But it's an annual affair ma, this haze thing. Nothing we can do what.