Thursday, July 10, 2008


Remember this movie adapted from the 1933 James Hilton novel? I never knew that the first time it was made a movie was in l937. I only know of the remake, which was a musical, produced in l973. It was not too successful as a musical; in fact, it was the least successful of all the Hal David – Burt Bacharach collaboration, and the only reason I went to the movie was because it starred the then heartthrob, Olivia Hussey.

Actually, today’s post has nothing to do with this movie. I just happen to remember the movie because of the misery we Malaysians, especially Penangites, have to endure at this time of the year annually! Every year from June to early October, the south wind blows, and with it comes this gift from our friendly Indonesian neighbours called HAZE! The south wind itself is already bad enough because it effectively ends the sailing season. Most of the accessible beaches are located on the northern coast, which means the winds are off-shore, making it a giant hassle to return to shore at best, or near impossible to get back without rescue! First, you do not get to sail, then you get choked by the haze; a double whammy!

Mother nature can be quite a teaser. Sometimes when it gets real hot, the venturi effect comes into play and brings in the sea breeze from the north west. Those would be the odd days when we get to sail. This would also send the haze back south for the time being. Come nightfall, the south wind would pick up and the haze comes back. So with the aid of mother nature, the haze shuttles back and forth, effectively going nowhere except hovering around the island! It would only clear with a heavy downpour, but this is the dry season and there ain’t no April showers!

The term “Lost Horizon” would, for most people, immediately conjure images of Utopia, but far from Shangrila, in Penang, what we have is “no horizon”. You just cannot tell where the sea meets the sky!

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