Going through a difficult pHaze: Part 2

In Uncategorized on June 21, 2013 at 3:51 pm

To make up for the last post (which was a bit pessimistic), I like to think that disasters and apocalypses bring out the best in people, in citizens. If it didn’t bring out the best in our government, then perhaps it brought out the best in us Singaporeans.

For one, the common enemy–haze–seems to have united us more so than any other National Day Parade. We’ve found such great joy in posting memes about the haze, freaking out online about how the PSI beat our PSLE scores…..some Singaporeans were nice enough to comment on PM Lee’s facebook postings, advising him to “drink more water”. That kind of solidarity shouldn’t be undermined, even if it found online.

And I’m sure we’ve found great spirit in queuing up/fighting for N95 masks at the local pharmacy/hospital/supermarket, though this phenomenon probably reveals more kiasu-ness than unity. It’s always a bit chaotic when everyone starts stockpiling on supplies–it’s as if the haze has become a pandemic, and you could go to your GP to ask for an MC because you’re “suffering from haze”. But still, solidarity.

Of course, it is extremely heartening (and I am NOT being sarcastic) to see Singaporeans come together to extend a hand to those who are going to be more affected by the haze–those who can’t afford air-conditioning indoors. The only example I can list (because I can’t think of anymore haha) is SG Haze Rescue. According to their facebook page, “#SGHazeRescue is a community of Singaporeans offering air-conditioned spaces to individuals and families without such privileges. You can offer anything from a sleeping bag, couch, to a guesthouse.” I can’t personally vouch for the legitimacy of this “organisation” but my inner optimist tells me it is a genuine effort to help other Singaporeans cope. And that’s nice. And so were the people who distributed masks and herbal tea to their neighbours.

See? Solidarity.

And there are people who noticed construction workers working without masks and called the Ministry of Manpower to ask if they would be given a stop-work order or a mask, at least. These people didn’t get a satisfactory response, from what I hear. But hey, they called, and they expressed concern. That’s nice too.

Clearly, we’re not a nation of whiners and complainers who depend solely on the government to guide them through the smog. I remember reading articles about the Japanese citizens’ solidarity when disaster struck–a spirit that seemed a little foreign. But now I reckon we’re not as far off as we thought.





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