Choking expats seeking the sky

UPDATE

Currently reading an unbelievable API (air pollution index) number of 252, Penang Island today is completely crippled with smog levels that not even Singapore or Beijing sees very often. Somehow claiming “they’ve been caught off guard”, all schools are closed indefinitely, flights are either delayed or cancelled and you can’t even hear any motorbike noise which basically means the island’s population may as well be dead. It’s been 18 years of illegal slash and burn practices one country over so I guess I’m not understanding why they think climate change somehow won’t affect them in drought years, especially with a highly publicized and strong El Niño event happening, but the only official information is a blurb telling residents to “stay indoors”. For those lucky enough to be unfamiliar with the API, levels under 50 are healthy and over 200 is basically hazardous to step outside. Indonesia remains in the mid 450s every day and many parts read “999” because the developers of the machinery  that measures air quality probably pegged it impossible to ever break 1,000. For expats caught in the middle like us it means another day of sitting in the living room wasting energy although the smoky stench occasionally creeps through the air conditioning vents anyway.

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Although it may have been better to pay the exorbitant storage fees and keep our 29 boxes of personal goods in the California storage locker, it’s too late now as the vessel arrives Saturday. Having paid the logistics company today, we expect delivery sometime next week through a “forwarding agent” so there’s nothing we can do but stay indoors all day and bear witness to an environmental situation that western minds couldn’t possibly wrap their heads around. Working out in the air-conditioned gym is almost impossible because the air stays off when it’s unoccupied, allowing the soot and stench to creep through the windows and under the door. Understandably, nobody in the rest of the world sans a small community of Greenpeace advocates and scientists pays much attention to a problem that doesn’t really seem important and many long-term expats tell us we should just leave since we have freedom of mobility. But those who follow this blog know how long and hard it was to get the MM2H visa thanks to a host of hurdles involving banking secrecy rules and tedious procedures so it’s not as simple as just picking up and leaving. Mostly it’s discouraging and admitting it’s not going to work for our lifestyle is not an easy thing to accept. But nature can’t fix this, rain is nowhere on the horizon despite Malaysia’s status as rainforest country and G8 leaders are not sitting around waiting for the phone to ring for help battling the wildfires. If this happened in California, CNN would be going bat shit covering it 24/7 and federal funds would free up to address the emergency. Southeast Asian nations live by different standards so all I can say is keep this in mind when considering an expat retirement destination.

Now back to the Amazing Mets game.

 

8 thoughts on “Choking expats seeking the sky

    1. rodi (Rob and Diane) Post author

      Moderate is not acceptable, especially after seven days of choking insanity. This is beyond reasonable and not asking for emergency help from G8 nations illustrates how little emphasis they put on this. Just another inconvenience for them. My bad for not fully understanding how many years behind developed nations they seem to be. Responsible environmental practices is equally important to GDP

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  1. Yvette

    Feeling big time for everyone suffering. There are more news reports on it now in Australia( seeing it’s affecting more of Indonesia ie; Jakarta). A lot of us do have an idea on the politics of the cause and the health and economic effects, but don’t know what do do other than lobby via our ‘green groups’. We have just replaced a Prime Minister who didn’t believe in climate change and tried to smother our scientists.Take care

    Like

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