Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Singapore Haze, 2013

21 Jun 2013 09:45

21 Jun 2013 10:58
(The most serious haze level in the history of Singapore,
believed to be way above PSI 400)

 21 Jun 2013 14:32

24 Jun 2013 09:24
(Back to normal since the second half of 23 Jun 2013)

We are going through a major environmental disaster now. To Singapore, this is an unprecedented major disaster which has serious implications on its economy and environment. Singapore is actually very vulnerable; although we are spared from earth quakes and tsunami, we are not spared from something so unimaginable like this one. It started off being a man-made disaster but evolved into a natural disaster when it reaches Singapore. The PSI reading was 400 yesterday (Editor: It was believed to be way above 400 as the instrument used could only detect up to the highest PSI reading of 400) and that made a lot people panic. There were many netizens who vent their frustrations on the Internet against the Singapore government for not handling the situation well. If the PSI reading rises further to 500, probably the Changi Airport would need to be shut down. It is hard to imagine the tolerance level of the public – people do not know how to run away from the haze. Someone said that the weather in Genting (Malaysia) was good! (laughter) The Singapore government said that rain seeding above the hot spots in Indonesia would not work. And the Indonesian government said that the rain may only come after 10 days later.

Think about those construction workers and foreign laborers working in the fields for 8 hours daily - they are the group most seriously affected by the haze. Of course, we should not be easily misled by other unfounded claims that will only create more confusions and unnecessary paranoid among the people.

Two of my colleagues came to me yesterday when the PSI reading reached 400. They asked me to bless and help Singapore out of the problem because the weather forecast said that the PSI reading will hover around 300-400 in the next two days. So, I advised you folks to pray to Dragon King Buddha through our Facebook group for His blessing - to help Singapore out from the current dire situation. One hour later, the PSI reading suddenly dropped from 400 to 100. My two colleagues were flabbergasted. One of them said, “Wow! You are a really powerful Rinpoche!” He said this could only be done through supernatural power! From this episode, you can tell how inconceivable the collective karma of the sentient beings is, and how equally inconceivable the power of the Buddhas and Bodhisattva is.

Yesterday, people became panic after the weather forecast was announced - predicting a PSI level around 300-400 in the next two days. The haze can cause heart attack and increase the number of asthma patients; the asthma patients already have difficulty in breathing during a normal weather condition, they will have greater difficulty in a much degraded weather condition. I had asthma problem in the past and I understand such feelings. To an asthma patient, when the air quality is bad, he will have difficulty in breathing due to the lack of oxygen in the air. The Indonesian government said that Singaporeans are just complaining over a trivial matter because Indonesians have been living in such condition year after year. They don’t feel for us. The Singapore government feels helpless over the indifference of their Indonesian counterpart. The tiny island of Singapore has hardly any major disaster but this haze problem proves too much to bear. A lot of people are rushing to buy N95 masks. There are many people who wear the wrong masks. Only N95 mask is effective to fight the haze, the rest are not. Actually, you will feel uncomfortable after wearing a N95 mask for a long period of time because after awhile, you will end up inhaling the carbon dioxide which you exhaled. The right method is to just stay in-door and turn on the air-conditioning system and air-purifier.

Most of the people are not able to face this major disaster with a sensible and calm mind. In fact, when we look at this event from another perspective, this major disaster actually reminds us of the impermanence of life. Well, the PSI reading will remain high in the days ahead. Just now, we prayed to Dragon King Buddha and dedicated the merit of our prayer to help clear the haze. Let us take a respite before the PSI reading rises once more (laughter). Let’s hope that it does not continue to rise from 200 to 300, 400, 500... We just cannot take it anymore (laughter). The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas do indeed possess inconceivable power. However, even the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas cannot simply override the Law of Karma. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas could have just sent a few kings of dragon to the hot spots in Indonesia and put out the fire by rain. However, this will mean violate the Law of Karma; it cannot be so. Through this experience, we have learnt to appreciate the impermanence of life better and the seriousness of a major disaster.

A discourse given by Acho Rinpoche on 22 Jun 2013