Smog, heat, humidity. Ingredients to a horrible night.


It is a humid night, the weather swallowed by the smog from the city and the nearby farms. Malaysian farmers, similar to many other South East Asian countries, still practise the primitive art of farming: to clear the land, they burn what they can: trees, weeds, shrubs and grass.

A merciless act of destruction, effective for the farmer, however counter-productive to the environment and the people living in the country. Outrageous for society to pay little attention to such negative behaviours and practises. In the mean time, I continue to uncontrollably sweat in the humidity, the ghastly pollution that seeks to snuff my supply of fresh breeze.

The night used to provide a high degree of comfort for me. I would gleefully boil water, in preparation for a mug or two of dark aromatic coffee. Then I would sit near to my plants, trees and flowers, and embrace the night. For the past three years, I have been able to do that occasionally ~ prevented by the foulness of the air. Gone were the days when I could do such every night.

Naturally when the Storm hits Malaysia, I am exhilarated. Now I sit back and wait impatiently for the Storm to come my way.


An avid blogger, twitterer and photojournalist, Zashnain Zainal suffers from an incurable addiction to social work, helping marginalised communities since 1989. Nowadays he travels from the plantations of Malaysia to the slums of Thailand. He can be found at and @bedlamfury

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