Haze in Kuala Lumpur

Haze daze for parents with school-going kids

It was so hazy, I couldn’t see the Champions League results!

Haze

In all seriousness, the perennial haze ‘season’ has hit us harder this year. Or maybe as I grow older, the smog is affecting me more.

My whole body and face are itchy although many friends have commented I “memang gatal“!

I have resorted to using some face cream just so I don’t tear the skin off my face and bought a Ventolin inhaler – even though it has been years since I suffered an asthma attack.

It is even worse for children. My kids were among more than a million schoolchildren affected by the school closure since Wednesday as the Air Pollutant Index (API) has risen to unhealthy levels.

This is certainly the right move but it also means another problem for families where both parents work – who is going to look after their children?

I know of many families who have transporters that send their children to daycare or tuition centres after school and these centres have also closed due to the haze. Parents don’t have anywhere to send them to now.

Some who don’t have relatives living nearby had to take emergency leave to stay home with their children or to send them back to their ‘kampung’ for a few days.

Not every business practises the work-from-home culture – some can’t for obvious reasons while many have the “if they are not in the office, they are not working” mentality.

Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman is trying to change that for his ministry as he plans to enforce a work-from-home policy if the API exceeds 200.

For the record, an API reading of zero to 50 is considered good, 51 to 100 moderate, 101 to 200 unhealthy, 201 to 300 very unhealthy and anything above 300 is hazardous.

Hopefully, more business owners adopt the work-from-home culture as the haze problem is unlikely to disappear in the foreseeable future.

No one has the guts to tell off Indonesia, more so at the Asean Summit where the leaders want to pally-pally with each other, take photographs and as a former colleague joked “hold hands and sing Kumbaya”.

The annual haze ‘season’ has gone on for close to 30 years and there seems to be no solution in sight.

Fight for Change 2019

Seriously, Asean is turning out to be a joke and is about as effective as VAR (video assistant referee).

Bring on the EPL

VAR aside, Liverpool and Chelsea will look to bounce back from Champions League defeats when they go head-to-head on Sunday.

Liverpool lost 2-0 to Napoli while Chelsea fell 1-0 to Valencia at home. Two other English teams in the Champions League – Manchester City and Tottenham – had mixed fortunes.

City, who were stunned 3-2 by a Teemu Pukki-inspired Norwich last weekend, crushed Shakhtar Donetsk 3-0 away while Spurs drew 2-2 with Olympiacos.

Back in domestic action, City takes on bottom-placed Watford and Tottenham meets Leicester.

Three other English teams also played in Europe in midweek – in the Europa League.

Arsenal thrashed Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0, United edged Astana 1-0 while Wolves were beaten 1-0 by Braga.

Arsenal who threw away a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with Watford last week, hosts Aston Villa, United travel to West Ham and Wolves are in London to face Crystal Palace.

With many of us forced to stay indoors due to the haze, watching the English Premier League makes it less of a burden.

EPL fixtures (Malaysian time)

Saturday

Southampton vs Bournemouth (3am)
Leicester vs Tottenham (7.30pm)
Burnley vs Norwich (10pm)
Everton vs Sheffield United (10pm)
Manchester City vs Watford (10pm)

Sunday

Newcastle vs Brighton (12.30am)
West Ham vs Manchester United (9pm)
Crystal Palace vs Wolves (9pm)
Arsenal vs Aston Villa (11.30pm)
Chelsea vs Liverpool (11.30pm)

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