This article was written with a mix of seriousness, sarcasm and (the author's idea of) “funnyness”.
I am currently frustrated over the issue of cigarette smoke. It’s really very simple – I don’t like it.
Am I in favour of the whole tightening of tobacco regulations in Singapore? Honestly? I enjoy the cleaner air but I think the government is wasting time on the wrong things. I’ll come to that later. First, I need to talk about why I don’t like cigarette smoke and lack of environmental concern in Singaporeans.
I don’t really care if you are a smoker or not. Choosing whether to smoke is one’s lifestyle choice. I may nag briefly at my friends if they start smoking (I did do that, for a very short while), but it is a lifestyle choice and I have no right to interfere in. I mean, if you would like to inhale toxic substances into your lungs because it feels good, because of peer pressure, to fit in with a desired social group, because it helps you release stress and all that stuff, hey, I’m cool with it, man.
OK, I’m just being sarcastic there.
As I was saying, I generally don’t really care if you are a smoker or not. I’d rather bother more about your character than the fact that you smoke. Sometimes I find that people who smoke have got more interesting personalities and are quite successful. OK, you get the point.
But you see… while I don’t mind you smelling of tobacco, I really mind sharing your tobacco.
I don’t get why I have to share somebody else’s lifestyle choice. Tolerance and acceptance of different lifestyles? No way. Putting up with somebody’s body odour is tolerance. Understanding other cultures and races is tolerance or acceptance (depending on various factors). Staying with in-laws is tolerance. Having to work with different colleagues is tolerance. The difference is that inhaling cigarette smoke harms my body without me wanting it to be in me, while all the other stuff doesn’t harm my body though I do not desire them.
Smoking is not my lifestyle choice, why do I have to live with it? Putting cigarette smoke into my lungs is not my lifestyle choice, why do I have to live with it? I am trying to respect people who smoke, but frankly it is really difficult to do so when I keep inhaling your cigarette smoke. Especially when the smoke really irritates my airway and I really need to cough but I can’t because it is disrespectful to do so, so I have to either hold my breath or stifle my cough.
I have nothing against smokers, really. It’s just that the cigarette smoke is an inconvenience, the same way somebody’s music leaks out from their earphones on the bus or MRT, or even better, the way somebody plays their music out loud on public transport. At least for sound I can put on some earphones or talk louder than the music to drown it out, but hey, guess what, I can’t stop breathing for an extended period of time, and neither do I bring around a mask and portable oxygen tank. Most of the time I just walk away. Very, very quickly.
Remember, if you smoke and you are my friend, I still respect you, but I’d also like you to respect me, and for me to continue respecting you, I need to be not irritated with you. And to not be irritated with you, I need to, according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, have my basic needs met, which means have clean air. I hope my present and future smoker friends understand when I say out right that I really need to go somewhere VERY, VERY FAR AWAY while you smoke.
(Oh hey, guess what, this reminded me of Taoists’/Buddhists’ burning of kim zhua during certain periods of time. Great, I just opened a can of worms that I do not wish to discuss here because I’m a Taoist/Buddhist.)
Let’s talk about the environment. Singaporeans are too environmentally unaware. Earth’s climate is changing bit by bit and we are not concerned about it. I want to just talk about plastic because I see it every day.
We use plastic bags like there’s no tomorrow. We have multiple recycling bags at home that are used for… I don’t know, what are they used for at home? Please don’t tell me you throw them away! I personally use a reusable bag whenever I get my groceries.
It irritates me to no end that outside Hougang Mall, there is a stand holding long plastic bags for people to put their umbrellas in during rainy weather, EVEN WHEN IT IS ONLY A ******* LIGHT DRIZZLE, so that the floors of the mall are kept clean. Have you ever seen the bin outside stuffed full to overflowing of said plastic bags that have only been used ONCE?!
I can’t stand that people buy a cup of bubble tea with a plastic bag THEN HOLD THE CUP IN THEIR HAND THE WHOLE WAY, NOT USING THE PLASTIC BAG AT ALL. Then WHAT THE **** DO YOU NEED THE PLASTIC BAG FOR?!
Also, why do people bring a reusable bag to NTUC, then ask the cashier to put the items into plastic bags, THEN PUT THE PLASTIC BAGS INTO THEIR REUSABLE BAG?! AND THEN EXPECT A 10cents REBATE FOR THAT?!
Once I went to NTUC and told the cashier to put everything into my bag, but she INSISTED on putting the wet stuff into a plastic bag first to “separate it from the dry stuff”, even when I told her TWO TIMES that it is OK. I live a 5-minute walk away, the dry stuff isn’t going to disintegrate into non-existence from coming into contact with moisture, for goodness sake!
We should be ashamed of ourselves for being so environmentally unfriendly, and put more effort into being more conscious! Even Richard Branson makes a conscious effort to pump resources into environmental causes, and here in Singapore, we are more concerned about where people should be smoking than our environment?! Yes, tobacco laws are important, as I have explained above, but for it to be seemingly MORE important than the environment?!
We are crazy.
I wonder why nobody has realized that there is an easier way to do this tobacco thing. It seems quite ridiculous that we regulate the places that are smoke-free. I mean, hello, it’s smoke. Smoke travels. You put smoking area and non-smoking area also no use. Just in case you don’t realize, smoke don’t know how to read signs, OK?
Alright, alright, the regulations do work to some extent. I can stand more often at bus stops now and breathe without too much problems, though I really pity those who need to smoke. Imagine them standing outside when it is drizzling, just to smoke L Sibeh sad.
Anyway, I was escaping from cigarette smoke today (it was a very cute guy smoking), when it suddenly hit me that since the right way to smoke is to get the smoke into the lungs, people should just start blowing smoke into plastic bags and then just breathe in the smoke from the plastic bags. This way, the smoke stays in the bag (to be released somewhere), non-smokers get to enjoy clean air, smokers get the most out from their cigarette, they can stand in the shelter of bus stops and smoke while it rains and enjoy their lifestyle without it irritating others… And best of all, we have found another function for used plastic bags!
Somebody should just invent something like that. Everybody benefits!