By Heather Allen
So, the smog and heat have arrived and everyone is complaining.
Someone asked me why do we complain about the heat when it gets hot ever
year? I believe it is one of those things that draws us all together. We
meet someone we don’t even know but we can instantly connect because we are
both hot and sweaty and wishing for a nice cool air conditioned room.
Instantly I bond with the other person as we commiserate over how darn hot
it is. It doesn’t matter if the other person is Thai or foreign, we all have
this shared misery in common.
Although truth be told, I rather like the heat. I much prefer it to be
freezing cold and miserable in wet, gray rain. Some people like the snow,
but I confess, I do not so much. Yes it is very pretty when looking from a
nice warm room with a roaring fireplace, drinking hot cocoa. Otherwise, it
is cold, it is wet and my feet are cold for months on end. I dislike having
cold feet and never quite having full feeling in my toes. Frankly, I would
not trade the hot, hot weather for that, ever.
The smog, however, is not something we can happily commiserate over. There
isn’t a lot one can do about hot weather but there is a tremendous amount
that can be done to alleviate the health issues that come with the smoke
season and the fact that this is not happening breeds resentment. So, we do
not commiserate with one another over the awful air, but we cast suspicious
glances at our neighbors and passersby wondering if these selfish people are
the reason for the cough that lasts for three months. If that man over there
is the cause of my burning eyes and itching throat.
The smoke season makes us all angry; angry with unknown
strangers who don’t care whose lives they affect and makes us angry with a
government that we feel is not doing enough. It makes us angry with the
helpless feeling of having our health deteriorate because other people just
don’t care and not being able to do a whole lot about it.
So, many of us flee to cleaner climes. However, most of Chiang Mai does not
have that luxury and so are forced to breathe in air that is dangerous to
their health. I am feeling rather grumpy already, I suspect tempers will all
be running high soon.
Chiang Mai Mail is publishing a series of articles on residents’
experiences of life in Chiang Mai. If you would like to contribute
please email [email protected]