Saturday, June 03, 2023

Singapore Haze: Amazed! Dazed Neighbours Still Fazed About Haze

This posting was written in 2015 and reposted in 2016 and 2019. 
Just a reminder to readers to be wary and wear a mask 
if the haze comes on again! We hope it won't!
Today 12 September 2019 the haze 
has come home again. 
Haphazard, hazardous and horrible!
Will it ever end?

It's 2023 August!



Is It Clear?

Fourteen million plus hits on Google when you type, "Haze in Singapore." 

Call it what you may, haze or smoke which has been polluting this region for weeks now is not created by Mother Nature but by Man himself.  One thing is clear; our air is so foul and "poisonin' my oxygen" that it is frustrating everyone in the area.  Worse, it is making every creature, great and small, sick.

Every day fires are destroying the beautiful forests of Indonesia's South Sumatra, Riau and Kalimantan and simultaneously endangering the health of its own people and surrounding neighbours and little red dot, Singapore [written in 2015].

I'm a hungry planet
I had the bluest seas
Oh the people kept 
Choppin' down
All my finest trees (1).

The lyrics above were written by The Byrds way back in 1970 and described a situation that is still persisting today. Hungry Planet is one of many songs that deals with an on-going ecological disaster and the problem will never be resolved unless a certain country follows its own laws which forbid the use of fire to clear land.

Or Still Unclear?

Another thing is clear; we can't do anything because Singapore is like a David standing in front of a cigarette smoking Goliath. We have to inhale what Goliath exhales, and the *problem has persisted from as far back as 1972, more than 40 years since. 

The country in question has promised it will enforce its laws but nothing's been done so far [written in 2015]. A pop group from 1970, The Moody Blues, reminds us of the foulness in the air in a composition called, How Is It:

How is it we are here on this path we walk
In this world of pointless fear filled with empty talk
Descend from the ape as scientist-priest all think
Will they save us in the end, we're trembling on the brink (2).

Responsible Lyricists:

Like The Byrds and The Moody Blues, many famous pop composers and lyricists get serious and write about how Man has savaged and ravaged Mother Earth. So while some readers  think that the West are only writing frivolous rock and roll music these same pop stars are doing the world a favour by warning how our selfish attitude towards the environment is destroying and killing it:

Now the sun has come to earth
Shrouded in a mushroom cloud of death
Death comes in a blinding flash
Of hellish heat and leaves a smear of ash
And the sun has come to earth (3).

Only last night (5th October 2015), I saw our local news headlines on television feature young children in hospitals with asthma and with some seniors suffering from a skin ailment agitated by the haze. The Byrds lamented in the same song that this condition is:

Diggin' into my skin
Taking more out of my good earth
Than they'll ever put back in
I"m a hungry planet... (4)
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, the established folk rock super group from the 70's stated that Clear Blue Skies were not much to ask for. They were here before creatures roamed the earth. Question is, "Will they be here when we're gone?" (5)


According to an **article, two-thirds of the fires in Indonesia occur on peat wetlands. It is not widely known that Indonesia has the largest tropical peat wetlands in the world but these places are definitely rich in biological diversity. Imagine the devastation going on at the moment with the fires in full force and its outcome afterwards.

Oil wasted on the ocean and upon our seas
Fish full of mercury
Ah oh mercy, mercy me
Ah things ain't what they used to be, no no
Radiation under ground and in the sky
Animals and birds who live nearby are dying
Oh mercy, mercy me. (6)

How long more do we have to take the haze and the continuing saga of earth's destruction? I remain optimistic so let's leave the last words to Tommy James and the Shondells:

Maybe tomorrow
When he looks down
On every green field, ooh ooh
And every town
All of his children
And every nation
They'll be peace and good brotherhood (7).


Other Earth Songs:

Mother Nature's Son - The Beatles
After The Gold Rush - Neil Young 
Where Do The Children Play - Cat Stevens 

Big  Yellow Taxi - Joni Mitchell 
Don't Go Near the Water - The Beach Boys
Hole In The Sky - Black Sabbath

The Trees - Rush 
Calypso John Denver
Nobody's Fault - Aerosmith

Earth Anthem - The Turtles
Every Day Every Day Celebrate - John Denver
Sweet Baby James -James Taylor

Traffic Jam - James Taylor
Goodbye To A River - Don Henley
The Eagle and The Hawk - John Denver
Down By The River - Albert Hammond

Quoted Songs Are:

(1) Hungry Planet - The Byrds 
(2) How Is It? - Moody Blues
(3) The Sun Is Burning - Simon and Garfunkel
(4) Hungry Planet - The Byrds 
(5) Clear Blue Skies - Crosby Stills Nash and Young
(6) Oh Mercy, Mercy Me - Marvin Gaye
(7) Crystal Blue Persuasion- Tommy James and The Shondells

*Straits Times Press report and image: 13/10/1972.

**Straits Times Press: S. Jayakumar and Tommy Koh; The haze, international law and global cooperation - 6/10/2015 - Pg A20 Opinion.

**Straits Times Press: Bustar Maitar; Instead of pointing fingers, start restoring peatlands - 7/10/2015 - PgA21 Opinion.

You Tube Video: Crystal Blue Persuasion- Tommy James and The Shondells

Images, Chart and gif: Google.


SLIP NOTE: 11th October, 2015.
Exhilarating news piece that Indonesia is finally getting help from some countries to help douse out the fire and according to The President Mr Jokowi, it must be effective two weeks from today.  Hopefully, we get fresh air again and also save "all creatures great and small", which include the orang utans too. 


There is absolutely no intention to criticise or point a finger at any country regarding the haze situation. This article has been written in 2015 and in the daily newspapers these days, reports of another haze occurrence is possible [3.6.2023].



Very sorry to hear about the fires and smoke haze... distressing, and unpleasant, not to mention the health hazards and other associated risks.


Hi Andy

Most impressed as well as amazed that you are able to resurrect all these lyrics to aptly describe the situation we are experiencing. You have been cleverly keeping your blog relevant, informative and entertaining as well!

My personal view is that you ought to be conferred a citation for your fine works!

Keep up the great work Andy!


MERLIN LIM said...

Haze is not a problem. It's those inconsiderate clowns who started the fires that are to blame. They are the true selfish people who, though they look and walk like humans, have a very poor attitude and are not caring.

Good begets good. Do on earth as you would have the earth do on to you. Treat the earth right and you can live right. All these are related. You can't have one without the other.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Many thanks for these early comments coming from friends I sent out the posting to. I hope others will come out in support of these 60's and 70's pop stars who go out of the way to write and sing about Mother Earth's plight.

Even a little voice helps.

chakapchakap said...

Crystal Blue Persuasion:

is a 1969 song originally recorded by Tommy James and the Shondells and composed by Eddie Gray, Tommy James and Mike Vale.

In a 1985 magazine interview, James said the title of the song came to him while he was reading the Biblical Book of Revelation:

"I took the title from the Book of Revelations in the Bible, reading about the New Jerusalem. The words jumped out at me, and they're not together; they're spread out over three or four verses. But it seemed to go together, it's my favorite of all my songs and one of our most requested."

James was actually inspired by his readings of the Book of Ezekiel, the Book of Isaiah and Book of Revelation, which tell of a future age of brotherhood of mankind, living in peace and harmony.

The song comes from the CRIMSON AND CLOVER album which many of you are more familiar with.

(Wiki Edited)


Good one Andy!

chakapchakap2 said...

The real cause of the worst haze is the drainage of peatlands.

Peatlands are drained to create more and more oil pal and pulpwood plantations.

When peatlands are drained, they become a tinderbox that any campfire or cigarette butt can set alight, burning in conditions that create more smoke than ordinary forest fires.


ML said...


It's only my view on this haze situation. Sad to say it is not new but a yearly occurrence. People make mistakes and we all learn from our mistakes. These mistakes become beneficial.

But mistakes repeatedly done and not rectified is a different story.

Have a nice day bro.


Heard that the PSI has gone up to +300 in Singapore? wow...that's serious! Thank God we already got out from what we thought was a bad haze. Hopefully the haze will move on.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...


As a child in school, this was the first song I learnt

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.
Each little flow’r that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.
The purple-headed mountains,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning
That brightens up the sky.
The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.
The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
To gather every day.
He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

John Cher said...

Hi Andy

I thought you should include into your "Other Earth Songs" list;

DOWN BY THE RIVER by Albert Hammond.

All the best brother Andy!




APEMAN The Kinks (1970):

The songwriter who once waxed poetic about the sunset over London’s Waterloo Station now longs to trade his polluted city for a ‘Life of Luxury’ in the civilization-deprived jungle.

THE TREES: by Rush (1978)

is a goofy, cartoon-ish story about different types of trees bickering in the forest like human beings. Although he claims there’s nothing deeper about "The Trees" than a silly story, others have perceived a message about how the natural world is superior to mankind when it comes to finding a way to coexist...

Top 20 Earth Day Songs.

Unknown said...

Hello Andy

Thank you so much for your song dedication. I am speechless!

ALL THINGS BRIGHT & BEAUTIFUL, simple and inspiring words! Great music, great singing!
All the ingredients for an evergreen song that will be around for a long long time.

God bless you and your family!!


anon said...


What about sunrise
What about rain
What about all the things that you said
We were to gain
What about killing fields
Is there a time
What about all the things
That you said were yours and mine

Did you ever stop to notice
All the blood we've shed before
Did you ever stop to notice
This crying Earth, these weeping shores

anonymous said...

The remark that the region, "never appreciate 11 months of good air" is not a pleasant statement to make.

LIM KUAN MIN said...

Sad isn't it.
Thought the current leadership of our biggest neighbour is more enlightened and progressive to work responsibly to minimize the haze issue.
Instead, we read of its Minister in charge telling Malaysia the haze the latter is choking from is not caused by them despite satellite images/data have shown otherwise.
Big bully telling the smaller one to suck it.
That's what is happening in our world, today bro.��

suituapui said...

Another Earth song is "Saltwater" by Julian Lennon. I love that one!

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks again, STP
I've never heard this one.
Will try to highlight it soon, if I write another post about Mother Earth.
You are knowledgeable with your music.