In the South, back when you could burn your autumn leaves, people would let their kids roast marshmallows and whatnot on the fire. Today is too safety conscious for anything of the sort to happen, but I remember how you had to stand just right so the smoke didn’t get you.

I mention this because of a paragraph in the Yomiuri Shimbun the other day about an ASEAN meeting to discuss a little haze going on in Southeast Asia. I grew up in the California where any moderately hot day could have a little haze. What’s the big deal … I mean how bad could it possibly be? Typical government people just doing their typical “talks,” I thought; chiding naughty, naughty Indonesia.

… Until I got back to Singapore yesterday. This is the building-across-the-street-is-not-clearly-visible kind of haze. This is not seeing the top of UOB Plaza FROM UOB Plaza. All of us are standing downwind of this marshmallow oven. Indonesia is blackening an entire region. Those government people are so polite. And somehow it’s the Japanese wearing the breathing masks on the streets.