Thursday, 20 June 2013


I have been asthmatic since I was a child, breathing to me was always an effort.  I envied people running and playing sports without having that dreaded tightness in the chest and gasping for each injection of oxygen to the lungs.  I have never known what it is like to breathe easy.
When I was a child, there were no inhalers or quick fixes to breathe better, I was on steroid oral medication to open up the lungs.  I was fed crocodile meat (it does taste like chicken) , bat soup and god knows what other home remedies my mother heard about and had to try, to ease my suffering. Nothing worked.

I blame my asthma for me being so socially awkward and inept, as I was always sick and never played with the rest of my siblings and the neighbourhood kids.  I learned to be alone and to make up stories in my head and keep myself entertained. My own company was pretty good.

10am view today
When I got older the asthma was better managed but I was not one of the lucky ones that would outgrow the asthma, it stayed.  There were some days when I was bad but on the whole I managed it pretty well and with the Ventolin Inhaler I had a constant shot available should I feel the tightness come on.   As an adult I managed it so well that I actually started smoking even (on and off for about 10 years) .....but not anymore.  Have been smoke free for the last 3 years this February.

I live with asthma and I do what I can to stay away from potential triggers, but when the tiny island I live on starts to look like one big smoking room...... well then I am fucked.

sat image of hotspots and the yellow cloud is the smoke
Farmers and big plantations in Indonesia clear their land by using a rather easy method, the slash and burn method.  Its easy to set fire to the crop/plants/trees and then put it out.  What this does is that it creates hotspots throughout Indonesia and yes Malaysia has been doing it as well but in smaller areas. ASEAN (the Association of South East Asian Countries) came up with a Trans Boundry Haze agreement in 2002 which ten ASEAN countries signed but not Indonesia.  They still havent.

Yesterday we had our worst day of grey skies and smoke filled air, this happens every year from june to September (our dry and hot months) and we expect the haze to come say hi each year, but this year its been really suffocating. the last time it was so bad was 1997 and we seem to have surpassed the conditions of that horrible year.
I monitor our National Environmental Agency website and have it bookmarked and open all day.  it gives us a PSI (pollutant standards index) of the air quality every hour.  I cant open my windows as the flat gets filled with smoke, its our hot and humid season so am really not a happy camper stuck in my sauna of a flat.

Its been awhile since I felt like this......not being able to breathe properly.  one thing though....I am sooo looking forward to New Zealand in 10 days.


  1. We read about the haze in our papers yesterday and thought of you. xxx

  2. its pretty bad. I dont want to get sick before I leave for NZ!

  3. Ugh, that's terrible!

    I had a weird deal happen with my vocal chords about a year and a half ago, and as a result, one half is permanently paralyzed. At the time, the side that worked was very weak. They are basically two flaps that move so you can breathe, swallow, talk, whatever. Since one side wasn't working and the other side not well, the opening was very small, I was constantly choking and could hardly breathe. It was awful, and scary. I can't imagine having to deal with that for a lifetime. I'm going to cross my fingers and hope some fresh air comes your way very soon!

    1. Its getting better but June to August is when we get bad air, so its always expected.... i am off to NZ on Monday so i will get fresh air!
      bummer about your vocal chords!! hope its all healed now.