Sunday, September 27, 2015

Haze Update Kuala Lumpur and around Malaysia today

Yesterday's psi was bad, today's psi is worse. I found a new use for my sunglasses when outdoors in this haze - never mind the stares. Birds around the neighbourhood are conspicuously missing. It's unusually quiet today. I wonder where do they escape to in this weather.

Schools in several states will be closed again tomorrow due to the worsening haze. Schools in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Negri Sembilan and several parts of Sarawak will be closed.

Schools affected in Sarawak are located in Kuching, Sri Aman and Kota Semarahan.

More: API readings worsen throughout Malaysia

Saturday, September 26, 2015

PSI Update - evening of 26 Sep 2015

If you are still visiting this space for updates, this is the latest, current haze situation in Kuala Lumpur, and Peninsula Malaysia for that matter. It's getting hazier. Needless to say visibility is very much affected.

I'm not showing East Malaysia, Borneo, because it's almost green (Average), a few blues (Good). Kuching is the only yellow dot with a PSI reading of 101.

As you can see, there are more yellow dots here now on the Peninsula than what was shown this morning.

In this haze situation, everyone loses.. more so those closer to 'ground zero'.

Boats carrying goods and passengers are seen on the Batang Hari River covered in a thick haze in Jambi on the Indonesian island of Sumatra September 25, 2015. - REUTERS

Just read that Singapore is moving against Indonesian firms over the haze and has launched legal action that could lead to massive fines against Indonesian companies blamed for farm and plantation fires spewing unhealthy levels of air pollution over the city-state.

PSI in Kuala Lumpur today - 26 Sep 2015

Stepping out of the house to go out for a roti canai and teh tarik breakfast this morning, I stopped in my tracks for a reality check. The smell of barbecue in the air sure didn't match the time of day.

Hey, it's morning and no bbq happens that early in the day - at least as far as I know or accustomed to.

You've guessed it. The air is bad today and visibility is rather poor too here in KL. The PETRONAS Twin Towers are actually my guide. I don't see them today. Yep, our PSI must be more than 100 today, I'm guessing. According to DOE the wind is blowing the smog over from Southern Sumatra towards the west coast of Peninsula Malaysia. KL, Malacca and others on this side of the Peninsula are receiving the brunt of it.

Let's have a peek at what the chart says.

Below is the PSI reading good until 12:00noon. There's no rain so far so it's still hazy out there and that bbq-esque 'fragrance' is still wafting through the air - kinda reminds me of Kenny Rogers and Nando's. LOL

Malacca is the yellow spot you see there with a reading of 120 psi..

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Frolics - What Flavor Cupcake Are You? PSI in KL today

Ah, it's Friday again. Yes!

Though it's hazy out there today here in Kuala Lumpur, we are still ok in the API/PSI department - in the 70s. Thanks to the wind direction and the much reduced number of hotspots. Well, there are worse things here in the country than the haze right now, but.. I won't go into that.

If you are in Singapore, I feel for you. With a PSI of more than 317 (as reported yesterday), schools are shut today, a precedent. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reminded people to take care of their health.

In a Facebook post Thursday, the PM of Singapore wrote; "Please drink plenty of water, and avoid going outdoors if you can. Look out for neighbours and friends, and stay safe." - The Straits Times/Asia News Network

A man wearing a mask watches from a bumboat as he passes the haze-shrouded central business district in Singapore Sept 24, 2015. The three-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) reached a hazardous level of 317 at 8pm Thursday. - Reuters
Source: The Star: Singapore schools close for first time as haze hits hazardous levels

Here's a PSI chart for today, 25 Sep courtesy of DOE Malaysia.

And this one shows the hotspots, wind direction and who and why we are getting the haze..

No, wait, MSN has a better picture of the hotspots..
An officer points to fires or hot spots in Kalimantan, Indonesian part of Borneo, on a screen at the Fire Command Post at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry in Jakarta September 22, 2015.

And now the quiz.. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. Make it great!

You Are a Carrot Cake Cupcake

You are a complex person. You have many interesting layers to your personality, though others might not know it.

You are drawn to a cross section of people. You friends play different roles in your life.

You are like a cupcake because you are are deceptively simple. There's actually a lot to you!

There are many ingredients in your life, and you only want them in proper amounts. Being you is a delicate art.
Last Week's Quiz: What Flavor Iced Tea Are You?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Yay! No Haze Today

We had lovely weather yesterday - the sun was clearly visible in the blue sky. Yes, you read right, blue, which is quite non-existent currently in the haze situation we are experiencing now. How we take things for granted when they are around, the blue skies, I mean, and good air quality, as well.

A look at the API/PSI index chart shows we are going to have another great day ahead, another hazeless day in the country, if you will.

Look Ma, no haze..

Here's why the haze may be gone. The number of hotspots in northern Sumatra has vastly reduced as can be seen below. Hotspots in southern Sumatra and Kalimantan near Sarawak are still raging on so much so the haze has spread to the sea areas between Kalimantan and southern Sumatra. The wind direction could also be a contributory factor to better air quality.

As per DOE's Regional Haze Update..

The hotspot activities in Kalimantan and Sumatra could not be fully determined due to cloud cover. Kalimantan continued to be shrouded in moderate to dense smoke haze and the haze has spread to the sea areas between Kalimantan and southern Sumatra. Moderate to dense smoke haze was also detected in central and southern Sumatra.

Updated 7:34 PM 20 Sep

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Christmas Shopping comes early

Christmas is a little over three months away. Time flies, huh? No, never too early to start Christmas shopping. Early shopping provides for a lot of advantages, you know that. You'd not have to get through that mad rush at the last minute for starters and you get more time to select gifts you think your friends and family would love.

The world is our oyster really when it comes to shopping and early shopping makes it more so. If you have yet to gift anyone with music gifts how about making a change this year and surprise your loved ones along the way. And while we are at it, why not reward yourself with a music gift this year. If you are a musician better yet, this music store that found is committed to helping musicians. Here are just a few reasons to shop with them..

See what I mean? Go check them out!

If you are living outside of the U.S. fret not as they do serve Internationally to over 100 countries. Got questions? Shoot them an email.

Happy shopping!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday Frolics - What Flavor Iced Tea Are You?

It's still hazy outside here in Kuala Lumpur but strangely the API Index shows good air quality numbers. And the PETRONAS Twin Towers and the KL Tower are still not visible from where I am.

No matter, still it is good to know that we are having better air quality, for today at least. Cloud-seeding may be doing some good as we got some rain though not in buckets as anticipated.

Iced tea. Who doesn't like iced tea! This week you get to find out what flavor iced tea you are. Go on, take the quiz to find out..

Happy Friday! And Happy Autumn!

Happysurfer Is Apple Iced Tea

You are warm hearted and generous. You believe it's important to make others feel comfortable.

You are a bit of a cozy homebody who feels out of place in the warm weather. You'll drink iced tea but you prefer the hot stuff.

You are more serious than most, and you shy away from superficial people. You prefer to look beyond the surface.

You like deep conversations, engrossing novels, and moving films. You find ideas and human interaction fascinating.
The Last Quiz: What Kind of Pie Are You?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Where to Buy Wigs Online

I have had numerous queries over the years about buying wigs in Kuala Lumpur. If you are still reading this space, have I got you an update!

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Haze situation in Kuala Lumpur - 16 Sep 2015

Oh Glory! After some rain yesterday, the haze has let up a bit as these API/PSI readings show today - more greens than yellows...

Source: DOE

With peat fire hotspots numbering in the hundreds, it will be a while before this haze situation abates. It is still unsafe for outdoor activities. Schools are still closed here.

Yesterday, The Jakarta Post reported thousands were fleeing Pekanbaru as the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) in the Riau province capital, which is about 280km away from Singapore, surged to a record 984 yesterday. 984! No joke.

Many have taken to the roads, trying to find their way north to neighboring Medan, or west to Padang, to escape the thick haze that has rendered their hometown unliveable.

The exodus via land includes people who had initially planned to fly out of the city, after their flights were grounded owing to the poor visibility caused by the haze from forest fires in the provinces of Riau, Jambi and South Sumatra.

Current situation in Kuala Lumpur - Himpun 16 - Red Shirt Rally - Kuala Lumpur

Live from Kuala Lumpur..

Police beef-up at Petaling Street in Chinatown.

Shop owners around the Petaling Street have been advised to close their shop on Malaysia Day to avoid trouble.

More images of Himpun 16.. and here as well.

Situation this morning at Bukit Bintang area and Low Yat Plaza - rather deserted by comparison considering this is a public holiday where the malls and shopping complexes would be crowded normally on a public holiday. Strong Police presence in the area today. One thing nice about these videos is you get to see parts of Kuala Lumpur - which give an idea of what the city looks like for one who hasn't been here.

This is an article worth reading: Let’s see who the red shirts are

Ok, now to the issue about the haze in the country - Visibility in the Klang Valley (including KL) may have improved slightly after a bout of rain yesterday morning, but there is yet to be any significant improvement in the Air Pollutant Index (API) readings. All outdoor activities have been discouraged and called off.

After parents expressed their concerns regarding schools still operating despite the haze, the Education Ministry made a last-minute decision to order schools in several states to close for at least two days.

Pharmaniaga Berhad a pharmaceuticals company staff members distributed face masks to motorists in Putrajaya.

Just to give you an idea of what's the current haze situation in Kuala Lumpur..

The Kuala Lumpur city skyline cannot be seen at all in this photo taken at Taman Maluri, Cheras. The KL Tower and Petronas Twin Towers can normally be seen when the weather is clear.SAMUEL ONG / THE STAR

Quiet Night in Bukit Bintang ahead of the rally

Today is Malaysia Day, not to be confused with Independence Day that we just celebrated on August 31.

Malaysia Day, Sep 16, is historical for Malaysia as this is date marks the joining together of Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak, and Singapore to form Malaysia way back in 1963. This year's official celebration will be held in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Negotiating the streets of KL today might be tricky today as many major roads in the city are being closed ahead of the red shirt rally that is planned today from 12noon to 7pm. A check on Bukit Bintang area around midnight last night by The Star reporters showed a quiet Bukit Bintang. Here, take a look.

According to The Star, Hawkers and petty traders in the Imbi, Pudu and Lee Lam Thye markets in Kuala Lumpur, however, have decided to close today although some may remain open.

Shopping complexes in the city will be open however,

The rally, will see those taking part march from Federal Territory Mosque, National Mosque, PWTC and Karangkraf building heading to the assembly area at Padang Merbok. Police will close several major roads today.

The following roads will be closed:
Jalan Parlimen, Jalan Kinabalu, Jalan Sultan Salahuddin, Dato Onn roundabout, Jalan Raja Laut, Jalan Kinabalu/Jalan Hishamuddin, Jalan Pudu/Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Jalan Kuching, Jalan Raja, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Jalan Munsyi Abdullah/Jalan Dang Wangi, Sultan Mohammad roundabout, Jalan Damansara, Hishamuddin roundabout, Jalan Kuching/Jalan Tun Razak, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Jalan Conlay, Jalan Raja Chulan, Jalan Leboh Ampang/Jalan Tun Perak and Jalan Sultan Ismail/Jalan Ampang would be done in stages based on traffic flow.

Alternative routes to the city centre are available for those who want to go about their business there. The routes include Jalan Tun Razak, Jalan Hang Tuah, Jalan Kampung Pandan, Pahang roundabout, Jalan Loke Yew/Jalan Hang Tuah and Jalan Bukit Bintang.

As for the haze, Kuala Lumpur is still shrouded in unhealthy smog - an API reading of around 200. It is clearly unsafe to be outdoors for an extended period of time.

Schools had to be closed yesterday, Tuesday, and it is still unsure whether school will reopen on Thursday. Today, Wednesday, is a public holiday being Malaysia Day.

The school holidays are set to start this Saturday in all states and a day earlier in Johor, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu.

Happy Malaysia Day!

Latest update from The Star at 8:37am..

Red shirt protesters gather

Red shirt protesters have started gathering at various locations in the city centre on Wednesday.

As the small groups of people started trickling in as early as 7am, police also made their presence felt.

Federal Reserve Unit personnel and trucks were seen on standby at strategic locations, mainly at Bukit Bintang and Petaling Street, the gathering points for the protesters.

Source: The Star

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Hazy days in Kuala Lumpur again

KL is experiencing the worst Air Pollution Index reading of the year and we are right in the middle of the smog that's being blown over from yonder! See for yourself..

A little bit more about the haze here.

Image courtesy of DOE Malaysia.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday Frolics - What Kind of Pie Are You? and 9/11

Today is September 11. Does it ring a bell? I watched a two-hour documentary on Nat Geo last night about the day before September 11, 2001. Didn't know the World Trade Centre had such a beautifully done up bar and surroundings as well as a great private collection of artworks.

Today marks the 14th anniversary of that tragic day. A minute of silence will be observed the morning of the day (Eastern time) in New York.

In Japan the news reported that it's been raining for some 72 hours that it has caused massive flooding in the Tokyo area. My thoughts go out to bloggers I know there. Please stay safe.

Here in KL, we are not having it good either, although on a much lesser scale. Air quality is really bad today and for the first time it's affecting breathing - never before in all these years. My eyes are also smarting and itchy. Got to quickly dash in and out of my car to avoid being exposed to this bad air quality. I read the reading in Petaling Jaya and the Klang Valley is at 104 today. That's a bad reading on the API. *Cough*

But then again on the other hand, a heavy downpour or a change in wind direction will render our skies blue and clean again. Fortunately, this hazy condition is close to coming to an end, maybe in two to three weeks time.

Whatever it is, Happy Friday! May you have better conditions wherever in the world you are.

You Are Mud Pie

You're the perfect combo of flavor and depth.

You are overpowering and dominant - and that's what people like about you.

You bring energy and a new direction to most interactions.

People crave you in a serious way. You're that important to them.

Those who like you give into their impulses.

You don't represent reason. You represent pure temptation.

People get addicted to you rather easily.

You offer people a dark side that is very hard to resist.

Last week's The Cute Monster Test

Image source of 9/11 above is Wikipedia

Friday, September 4, 2015

Friday Frolics - The Cute Monster Test

Hey hey hey! It's Friday again! Gosh, how times flies - when you are having a good time! *tongue in cheek*

People, do I have a cute quiz for you this week! - an inner cute monster quiz.

Yep, a hazy, lazy Friday today. I was thinking about visiting the pandas and baby panda in Zoo Negara this weekend but thought I'd put it off until the weather improves. KL is hazy but not as bad as in Penang where the State government is now giving out face masks to schoolchildren - last I read.

So if you are in Penang, come on down to KL for the weekend or rather for better air quality? Oops! Nope, no smell of BBQ in the air today - be rest assured.

And now let's frolic with this Friday Frolics quiz. Happy Friday, everyone!

Happysurfer's Inner Cute Monster is Intensity

You are a vibrant, vivacious person. When you live, you live as wildly and loudly as possible.

You are very bold. You are willing to stand up and be a leader.

You have a tendency to let your passions take over.

People think you're cute because you're fiery. When you get worked up, it's charming.
Last Week's What's Your Medieval Profession?

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Haze is back in Kuala Lumpur

Yum! - smell of barbecue in the air but wait, there's no actual barbecue going on. How's that, you may ask.

Yes, the haze is back again this time of the year - sort of like an annual affair without fail caused by open burning in Sumatra - land clearing for the planting season. At last count 380 hotspots spotted in Sumatra. The smoke is blown over by the south-westerly wind over the Straits of Malacca to the west coast of peninsula Malaysia. Places like KL, Klang, Pangkor, Penang are all affected.

This is the Kuala Lumpur skyline currently - with the 'egg yolk' in the sky.

On a clear day this would be a lovely view with both the KL Tower (right) and the PETRONAS Twin Towers in sight. However in hazy times, people living higher up would best be shutting their doors and windows especially for people with breathing problems such as asthma. Yes, do keep your sliding door for lofts shut to stay away from all that unhealthy air. However, the air quality is still good enough to be going out without a face mask. Todate, I've not seen anyone with a mask on yet. So there..

And this was the haze situation in Penang yesterday.

Penang is still shrouded by haze and as 4pm yesterday, the Department of Environment’s monitoring stations in Seberang Jaya 2, Universiti Sains Malaysia and Prai recorded API levels of 79, 72 and 68 respectively.

An API reading of between 0 and 50 is considered good, 51 to 100 (moderate), 101 to 200 (unhealthy), 201 to 300 (very unhealthy), and 301 and above (hazardous).

Image sources courtesy of The Star