By SUSANNA KHOO
The skies may not be as clear as they used to be, but that's no excuse for abandoning a crystal clear perspective on life and the people around you.
IF you are getting the feeling that you're not seeing things so clearly these few days, don't panic or bemoan deteriorating vision just yet.
It's probably just the pesky haze - a topic that hardly any Malaysian can resist bringing up lately.
And it's no different online, as you'd likely expect.
Status updates and comments aplenty on the gloomy weather situation. Postings of comparative photographs of blurry landscapes versus their typically clear horizons.
Laments about blocked noses and various other health issues that are automatically assumed to be due to the foggy weather.
Not forgetting, of course, the long list of complains about it all, and the pointing of fingers at the nation who has caused it.
Lots of negativity in the air, don't you think? Leaves quite an overcast mood hanging about, which isn't helping either.
So, for me, it was quite literally a breath of fresh air (pun intended) to come across GermaniProductions' video, Save Malaysia From Haze, on YouTube.
Filmed around the Kuala Lumpur and Subang Jaya vicinities, the video showed, in an amusing video game-ish theme, a bunch of guys going around handing out free masks to unsuspecting members of the public.
The thrifty Malaysian in me utterly refused to buy any, as I remembered clearly that a mask that looked quite the same as the ones they were touting used to cost less than RM1 before the haze had started to cloud the judgment of once reasonable shopkeepers. So began my foraging episodes seeking more, more and more masks. All for me.
And some for my loved ones too, of course. But just that. Watching the video I mentioned earlier made me realise that perhaps the haze has gotten in the way of my vision. In particular, my ability to see that there are others around me who needed protection from the haze as much as I do. I applaud the efforts of GermaniProductions for jolting me from my bout of selfishness.
It's a reminder that's timely for all of us right now, I feel. The skies may not be sunny or blue as they usually are, but there's nothing stopping us from finding other ways to put a smile - or to be more precise, a mask - on the faces of others.