Saturday, 17 November 2007

H is for Haze

Those Hazy, Lazy Crazy Days of Summer mean something entirely different in Singapore.

The haze has returned today with a vengeance and as I look out our condo window the horizon is obscured by a greyish brown smog.

Late in 2006 the prevailing windows below the smoke from the Indonesian forest burn-offs across the island. The pollution index rocketed up and visibility was significantly reduced especially in the evenings.

If you suffer from any respiratory disease or predilection then the haze spells trouble.

Large sums of money from grants have subsequently disappeared into Indonesian coffers (or pockets) on the pretence that that government would crack down on illegal burn-offs and logging.

Of course little has been achieved from this ASEAN support. The Indonesians go their own sweet way, regardless of the effect of their activities on their neighbours.

It is therefore a rather pointed irony that, on the most polluted day of the year, ASEAN ministers are about to commence their annual conference in Singapore. Not that the current smog can necessarily be attributed to Indonesia?

Blame should not be laid exclusively at the feet of the Indonesians. Hot spots today were recorded in Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam as well as the usual culprit, Sumatra.

Singapore runs an online haze map for its citizens to follow the build up of pollutants. The locally generated haze can also be problematic when there are light monsoonal winds.

Another kind of fog is the 'fog of memory', a problem that occurs with advancing years.

Today we discovered some of the old acts from the '60's that my wife enjoyed during her youth in Singapore.

One of these groups was John Jet and Jumping Jewels. When she first mentioned the group's name I misheard her and thought she was talking about the Black Adder skit, The Jumping Jews of Jerusalem.

But I was wrong. There was actually a Dutch group from the Hague who rode on the coat tails of The Shadows success and tried to copy Hank B Marvin and Co. I confess I had never heard of The Jumping Jewels, yet I too played my first electric guitar and tried to master "Shadoogie"

Enjoy the aforementioned Jumping Jewels in all their splendour.

And now listen to the 'Masters' - The Shadows

And they even sound good in Black and White!
Here's some more, just for nostalgia's sake. And no... after a few attempts at emulating Hank I gave up and took to the drums instead.

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