Haze puts Singapore on the world map

Came across this article in The Business Times and thought it is a pretty funny article. Some Singapore will get angry reading it but the question ” where did you learn such good English?” is what everyone gets.

THE world reacted with incredulity yesterday when it discovered what a “Singapore” was. Some clues to the existence of the city-state began emerging on Wednesday, when millions of orders for respiratory masks began crashing Amazon’s servers.
“I’ve seen that word before on one or two orders, you know?” an e-retailer told The Business Times yesterday. “But I got like a million orders from these Singaporeanese this week, and I thought, ‘boy, the air in China must be getting a lot worse’.”
Some, however, have expressed doubt at its existence. “I can’t see it on Nasa’s website of satellite images. There’s a patch of white smoke where people say it should be,” a forum member on Reddit said.
“This is a massive cover-up for something else. I don’t know what it is, but I know someone whose dentist’s cousin’s wife has been threatened by the yakuza. So anything is possible with these Koreans.”
Yesterday, an international team of anthropologists landed at Changi Airport, as part of a global effort to understand this latest geographical discovery.
Their expedition, however, hit haze-related snags as they attempted to observe mask-wearing locals. “That all Asians look the same is a gross and inaccurate generalisation. But the top halves of their faces are remarkably similar,” read the notes of one scientist.
This study of the natives was further impeded as most stayed indoors due to the country’s deteriorating air quality. The few inhabitants who remained outdoors were construction workers, but their mask-less visages confounded the experts further.
“These are apparently a super-strain of the populace, whose respiratory systems – if they have one – are immune to particulate matter,” the scientist’s notes added.
The knowledge gleaned from local news coverage, however, proved more helpful. Yesterday, McDonald’s – which discovered “Singapore” long before the rest of the world but shared its discovery only with Starbucks – was forced to apologise for a haze-related ad that it ran in the papers earlier in the week.
“The lingua franca of the natives is a rich and ancient one, with multiple references to female anatomical parts and constant references to the listener’s maternal relations,” another expert’s preliminary findings said. “No equivalent local phrase, however, has been found for ‘sense of humour’.”
While a hastily convened International Meridian Conference on Wednesday assigned Singapore a Greenwich Mean Time of +8:00, the island now runs on an hourly schedule maintained by the National Environment Agency.
“Regardless of whatever is being done at the moment, there is a local custom called the Bending of Heads every hour on the hour, in which a mobile device is held reverently in both hands,” a tour guide said in its briefing of the island’s inaugural group of tourists.
“An almanac called the Pollution Standards Index is consulted, and depending on the number, the next phase of the ritual – the Shaking of Heads – might commence.”
As the country laboured on, both in breathing and in the CBD, the mood among locals was grim.
“It’s bad enough we have this haze. Now I have all these foreigners walking around and asking me where I learnt to speak such good English,” an office manager told BT yesterday.
“When I look outside my office, I can’t even see Marina Bay Sands anymore . . . So, the haze has an upside, after all.”
For some businesses, however, the haze presented a new opportunity as the PSI hit a record 401 yesterday. Enrichment centres reported being inundated by calls from parents, all of whom were keen for their offspring to beat its score in next year’s Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE).
“Singapore has to stay competitive, especially in the wake of foreign competition. I just didn’t think that next year’s top scorer would be from Indonesia,” a visibly shaken parent told one of the researchers from a visiting think-tank.
“What’s an ‘Indonesia’?” the researcher asked.

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