21.2.09

Glorious rain!!

Yesterday I went into my bathroom and smelled something hideous. It seriously smelled like something died in there. I checked my cupboard - yup, it smelled, I checked the shower - yup, it smelled. Man, I thought to myself, I really need to clean up around here. The mold is starting to build up. Then I stepped out of my bathroom and realized that the whole apartment smelled like it. Finally I had a hankering of what it could be, so I stepped onto my balcony which confirmed my suspicions - it smelled like rain! Normally rain smells refreshing and cool, but this particular rain yesterday smelled awful. Penang hasn't had any good rain in months...it's the dry season. My non-scientific opinion is that this rain yesterday possessed all the icky pollution and smog that has been hanging out in the air for the past month or two.
Every year during the dry season the Indonesian forests of Borneo and Sumatra go up in flames - fires from land clearing and deforestation. BBC calls it an "air pollution disaster." The Sultanate of Brunei has actually threatened to sue Indonesia if they don't stop. Malaysia, to my knowledge, hasn't threatened to sue because, well, they're burning too!!
I took these pictures last year in Sabah (N. Borneo)

Imagine this picturesque scene turning into this:

which then turns into this:

or this [palm oil plantations]

or occasionally this: [shrimp farm]


Poor forest didn't even stand a chance.

As you can see in the picture below (NASA took this two years ago), this smoke can be seen from space. [Note: I'm under there, somewhere, suffocating.]


So my non-professional guess is that all of this smog fell down yesterday with the rain, causing the horrendous smell in my bathroom.

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