Exploring Beijing

Exploring Beijing

Explore Beijing is part of a series of travel photos from the Explorer Lifestyle Team has been busy traveling around Asia. Beijing is one of the modern yet cultural cities of China that always fascinates travelers. From the Great Wall of China to Tienanmen Square, to modern shopping streets overshadowing the traditional food alleys, you can find all of this in and around Beijing.

The Explorer Lifestyle team visited Beijing in Nov 2013 as it was nearing winter and spent a good, fun and interesting five days there. We also took an AirAsia X flight to Beijing just to prove that the flights are on par with other full serviced airlines. Yes, five hours on the AAX flight was just as comfortable as any other airline. Anyway, once there, we took our own sweet time to walk around Beijing and here are some of the photos we took for Explore Beijing.


Great Wall of China at the Badaling Gate


Climbing the Great Wall of China

Forbidden City Tickets

Ticket line to the Forbidden City, Beijing


Forbidden City Gardens


Tienanmen Square in the evening

All photos taken using a Nikon D60 with multiple lenses.

There you have it, some random photos taken during our amazing trip to the capital of China. It is highly recommended that you visit Beijing once in your lifetime and the best time is also during Fall or Spring. It is also recommended that you spend a minimum of four days if you want to see some of the world-renown attractions here. Moving around is quite simple to but if you have experience in speaking Mandarin, that is a very helpful bonus. However, a lot of the signage are in English too. Hope you like our article on Explore Beijing.


Kuta Beach Photo

Kuta Beach

Kuta Beach Photo 

This is my first photo of the day where it shows the famous Kuta Beach in Bali. The most popular beach on the island, thousands of visitors come here on a daily basis as it is located in central Kuta town. The beach is well known for surfing, sun tanning and also for the famous Balinese Beach Massage. Coming here on the weekend will see thousands of holiday makers enjoying Kuta Beach. One of the popular landmark here is the Hard Rock Hotel and Cafe Bali where it is just across the beach.

You will also see a lot of photographers taking photos here while on occasion, you may even catch some local Balinese ceremonies or rituals being performed here. Kuta Beach is also a great place to catch the sunset if you love romantic moments. Next time you visit Bali, don’t forget to check out the Kuta Beach here.

Good Vibes Festival Partners with My Teksi Malaysia

My Teksi Good Vibes

Good Vibes Festival Partners with My Teksi Malaysia 

Future Sound Asia with its first ever Good Vibes Festival 2013 is making an impression on the Kuala Lumpur music scene. In partnership with the Future Sound Asia is the innovative, new, Malaysian start up My Teksi. The official transportation for Good Vibes My Teksi will be providing a discounted taxi service to venue, Sepang F1 Circuit. The company is making a splash in Malaysia’s youth culture. With acts like the Smashing Pumpkins, Modest Mouse, and Japandroids the festival looks to amaze with formidable indie bands and by partnering with the innovative new start-up.

For taxis booked more than two days in advance using the app the users will get a flat rebate of RM25 no matter where they’re coming from. After the 15th of August the rebate will be for RM20. My Teksi is offering the young and hip seamless transportation to and from the festival.

“Events like Good Vibes is exactly what My Teksi was made for.” says My Teksi head of marketing, Cheryl Goh. Good Vibes is  essentially a good time with good friends and good music. But before and after is the hassle. First there’s parking, distance, and who will be the designated driver. Driving home at 2 AM even while drowsy and dropping off friends is enough to kill your Good Vibes buzz. However, My Teksi offers a solution to safely get to the event and arrive home all at discount with the rebate.

My Teksi Malaysia

My Teksi is making its presence and its relevance known. Music festivals are a place to let loose and enjoy the day. “My Teksi is putting taxis where and when you need them. Though simple it is innovation at work,” says Suthen Thomas, an head of ITS  for My Teksi.  As a young start up its doing two important things: answering a problem most Malaysians have had with getting a cab and tapping into Malaysian youth to start a change.

But better than that they’re giving out free ice cream. Yes, free. Anyone with the My Teksi app is free to collect on some sweet relief. So any way you put it My Teksi is serving Malaysians either with easier travel or fuller stomachs. To learn and understand more about how My Teksi got started and the principles behind the social enterprise visit the MyTeksi Website. Otherwise, have a great event at Good Vibes 2013.

AirAsia X Contest – Paint the Plane Design

AirAsia X Contest 2013

AirAsia X Contest – Paint the Plane Design

Good news for aviation fans around Malaysia. AirAsia X is running a contest to Paint the Plane Design where contestants stand a chance to win an exclusive round trip to Toulouse, France and to visit the Airbus Factory there. Over the years, many enthusiast have been sketching murals or liveries of plane designs on their note pads or sketch books and now the time has come for you to prove your skills in this AirAsia X Contest. The contest starts on 12 August 2013 to 12 September 2013 and the announcement of the winner will be on 20 September 2013.

Participants who are keen to join and win this amazing contest must be at least 18 years of age and will be required to submit the
following details:

  1. Be a fan of AirAsia Facebook (www.facebook.com/AirAsia) and follow us on Twitter (www.twitter.com/AirAsia)
  2. Download the A330 aircraft templates at http://blog.airasia.com
  3. Choose one of the seven (7) livery names (Xklusive, Xiao Long Bao, Xeoul Mate, Xiao Lin Spirit, Xcintillating PhoeniX, Harmoniuos DiverXity and Xakura Blossom) and submit your design to facebook@airasia.com
  4. Participants will have to design all five (5) parts of the plane (front, top, bottom, left and right view)
  5. Submissions can be done via digital or hand drawn (Hand drawn submissions will have to be scanned and submitted)

Grand Prize: Round trip from Kuala Lumpur to the Airbus Factory in Toulouse, France.
Runner Up: One pair round trip tickets from Kuala Lumpur to any of the AirAsia X destinations.

For more details on the contest, kindly visit the AirAsia X Blog.

What are you waiting for? This is your chance to show off your talent in designing a pain livery for an aircraft. I wonder if the winning design will be incorporated on to one of the AirAsia X Planes as this would be pretty amazing for the winner to have his or her design showcased on one of the planes. Good luck to all contestants and may the best design win in the AirAsia X Contest – Paint the Plane Design.

Hard Rock Cafe in Melaka

Hard Rock Cafe in Melaka

Hard Rock Cafe in Melaka is located at the entrance of Jonker Walk within the Unesco World Heritage site. This is also the third Hard Rock Cafe in Malaysia, joining the popular locations in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and soon Hard Rock Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. A shock to many people on why they choose Melaka, it has brought new life to the once quiet Jonker Street here. HRC Melaka is also cleverly located just by the Melaka River and next to the bridge that leads to the famous Red Square and Christ Church in Melaka.

Hard Rock is also the first high-end restaurant to embrace the charm of the city. Featuring diverse dining, nightlife and cultural offerings, the 9,000-square-foot iconic restaurant is poised to become the city’s newest landmark destination. The cafe includes seating for 200 people, an upscale vibrant bar, a spacious outdoor dining area, a live entertainment space that will feature Malacca’s unique local music scene, and a Rock Shop. Select, hand-picked pieces of memorabilia from Hard Rock’s iconic collection adorn the walls of Hard Rock Cafe Melaka.

HRC Melaka

Hard Rock Cafe by the Melaka River at Jonker Street

Interior of Hard Rock Cafe Melaka

Inside the Hard Rock Cafe, Melaka

Hard Rock Melaka Address:
No.28 Lorong Hang Jebat,
75200, Melaka, Malaysia

Restaurant Opening Hours: 

  • Sunday-Thursday
  • 11:30AM – 1:00 AM
  • Fri, Sat & Eve of Public Holiday
  • 11:30 AM – 2:00 AM (Kitchen Closes at 10:30 PM)


  • Sunday-Thursday
  • 9:00 AM – 1:00 AM
  • Fri, Sat & Eve of Public Holiday
  • 9:00 AM – 2:00 AM
  • Hard Rock Cafe Melaka Telephone: 606-292 5188
  • Hard Rock Melaka official website.

For those heading to Melaka and spending the night there, you now have and additional option for dining, drinking or just hanging out at one of the new entertainment places in Melaka. Strategically located at world-famous Jonker Street, it is hard to miss when you are going here. Another iconic place near by is the famous Melaka Chicken Rice Ball Restaurant called Chung Wah Restaurant where is just next to the Hard Rock Cafe in Melaka.

Crystal Lotus Restaurant Hong Kong Disneyland


Crystal Lotus Restaurant Hong Kong Disneyland

During a recent trip to the Hong Kong Disneyland, I was invited to try out the Crystal Lotus Restaurant at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel which is located in the park area. Serving authentic Chinese cuisines, a 7-course Chinese meal was prepared for me and my partner where we had no expectations on to what was coming our way. I mean, this is Disneyland therefore our expectations were decently average but when the food started coming our way, all we could say was wow.

Totally out of our expectations, the effort, preparations, taste and overall experience was simply amazing. I had never had such detailed Chinese cuisine in my entire life like I did here. After coming from a multi-racial country like Malaysia, I had my fair share of Chinese cuisines around the country but here in Hong Kong Disneyland, this restaurant took a new twist to Chinese food. Course by course the element of surprise got better only to be doubly surprised by how the chefs here use various methods of incorporating the Disney character of Mickey Mouse in some of the dishes.


The bar at Crystal Lotus Restaurant

Our verdict was simple, if you are a Chinese food lover and want to try something unique when visiting Disneyland Hong Kong, you should make a reservation at the Crystal Lotus Restaurant which is located at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel. No regrets as in taste wise, it supersedes your expectations. You can order À la carte or even by course meals here. The ambiance of the restaurant is also something to look at due to the mix designs of modern contemporary with a Chinese. In total, there are 2238 lotuses that decorate the entire restaurant. Look our for the amazing lotus chandelier that hangs in the back dining area. A beautifully designed bar is also available for those wanting some cocktails or other drinks.

Below are some photos which I took during the 7-course Chinese dinner there. Click on the pictures to see the full size.


Crystal Lotus Restaurant entrance


Smoked Duck Breast in Piggy Mask Buns


Grouper Fillet Dumplings


Dried Scallops in Mickey Winter Melon Chicken Soup


Wok fried shrimps with Disney root vegetables


Wok Fried Tenderloin Beef Cubes with vegetables


Tasmanian Crab Meat Fried Rice



Mickey Chilled Mango Pudding


Crystal Lotus Menu


Crystal Lotus Chandelier

Crystal Lotus Restaurant is located at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel which is in the park premises.

Crystal Lotus Restaurant Lunch Promotion Details

Serving Time

  • 12:00noon – 2:00pm (Mondays – Fridays)
  • 11:00am – 3:00pm (Saturdays, Sundays & Public Holidays)
  • HK$371 & up per Person (Original Price HK$415)
  • (Minimum 2 persons, price included tea condiment and service charge)

For further details, you can visit the Hong Kong Disneyland Website for rooms, packages and any other information.  My visit to the theme park here is my second in just five years and the main reason to come back again was to see some of the Hong Kong Disneyland new rides and attractions. The fist time when I visited, I stayed in the city of Hong Kong while this time around, we stayed at the Disney’s Hollywood Hotel in the park itself. If you have a family and want an experience to remember, I recommend you stay at any of the Disneyland Hotels in Hong Kong.

Metallica Live in Malaysia 2013

Metallica Live in KL, Malaysia

Metallica Live in Malaysia 2013

For the first time in rock and metal history, Metallica will play in KL, Malaysia on 21st August 2013 at Stadium Merdeka in the city. This is the biggest dream come true for all Metallica fans as the hard-speed-metal band has never performed here before. If you have been waiting all these years, your dream has come true when the gods of metal make their first show in Malaysia this August 2013.
A statement from the official website of Metallica has confirmed this. In the news board, it was said “We’ve said it before… with more than 30 years of traveling around the world behind us, there are very few places that we have yet to explore. So it’s rather thrilling for us to be back with yet another first, a stop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on August 21 at Stadium Merdeka.”
Metallica Live Malaysia

Metallica Live in Malaysia 2013 – Image from MalaysiaAsia

Metallica Tickets go on sale at 11:30 am local time on Saturday, July 6 at Fahrenheit 88 Shopping Mall in Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. Look for the Galaxy Ticket Booth located on the Ground Floor near the Information Counter in the Concourse area of the Mall. For more information check out Galaxy.com.my. Online ticket sales will begin on Monday, July 8 at 10:00 am local time at Ticketcharge.com.my and Galaxy.com.my. (As of 4th July, nothing is up on the sites)
Metallica Live in Malaysia

The tour dates from the official Metallica.com website

Metallica Live in Malaysia information
Date: 21st Aug (Wednesday)
Venue: Stadium Merdeka, KL
Time: 8pm (TBC)
Ticket Price:

  • Rock Zone – RM680, RM550, RM450
  • Free Seating: RM380, RM350, RM195

Apparently the Shanghai concert is sold out and you can imagine other countries. One chance to view these metal legends live and hopefully no one gets in the way for this show. Metallica were once supposed to perform here in Malaysia back in 2011 but it never did happen so lets cross fingers so that we can all see Metallica Live in KL, Malaysia 2013.

AirAsia X Celebrates 1st for Anniversary with X-citing Deals

AirAsia X Sale

AirAsia X Celebrates 1st for Anniversary Kathmandu Flights

AirAsia X, Malaysia’s leading low-cost, long-haul carrier, announced that the airline will be offering X-citing deals to celebrate its 1 year anniversary with 100,000 passengers flown to Kathmandu, Nepal. The X-citing deals to Kathmandu from Kuala Lumpur will start from as low as MYR 329* (NPR 20,000*). Passengers who prefer to travel with extra comfort, can also experience our award winning premium flatbeds from as low as MYR 999* (NPR 49,999) from Kuala Lumpur to Kathmandu, Nepal.

Fly-Thru promotional deals are available from as low as MYR 449* (NPR 23,408*) from Penang to Kathmandu. Other exciting fly-thru deals include services from AirAsia X destinations such as Australia and Japan via the Kuala Lumpur hub to our vast ASEAN destinations leveraging on AirAsia’s low cost carrier network. The AirAsia Xciting promotional fares are available for online bookings from 3 July, 2013 to 7 July, 2013 for the travel period between 17 July and 31 December, 2013.

AirAsia X CEO, Azran Osman-Rani said, “We are thrilled to celebrate our 1st year anniversary with 100,000 passengers carried from Kuala Lumpur to/from Kathmandu, Nepal. To commemorate the event, we are delighted to extend our promotional fares to our passengers.” AirAsia X commenced flights to Kathmandu, Nepal with 3 flights weekly in  November 2012. Due to encouraging demand, the airline increased its flight frequencies to four times weekly in May 2013.

“Demand for the route has been encouraging and our fly thru services have allowed guests from Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore to connect to Kathmandu and vice versa. We have seen strong demand from Australia and Japan and hope with better fly thru connectivity, more of our guests would be able to experience the rich culture and heritage of the city and its surrounding attractions,” concluded Azran.

AirAsia X was the first long-haul, low fare carrier to introduce Premium Flatbed seats, which have standard business class specifications of 20” width, 60” pitch and stretch out to 77” in full recline position. The Premium flatbeds feature universal power sockets, adjustable headrests and built-in personal utilities such as tray table, drink holder, reading light and privacy screen. Premium seat guests also enjoy premium complimentary products and services including Pick A Seat, Priority Check-in, Priority Boarding, Priority Baggage, 25kg Baggage Allowance, Complimentary Meal and Pillow & Duvet.

On top of that, AirAsia X recently introduced the “Quiet Zone” cabin on all its long-haul flights across China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Australia and Nepal. The new service enhancement is exclusively for guests who are above age 12. The “Quiet Zone” cabin features a new ambiance with soft lighting, offering a more relaxing cabin atmosphere, which will ensure a more pleasant journey for our guests. For more information, please visit the AirAsiaX Website.

Star Cruise offers Muslim Cruise Packages on Superstar Libra


Star Cruise offers Muslim Cruise Packages on Superstar Libra via travel agency Malaysian Harmony since early this year in 2013. And to initiate this new campaign, the travel company together with Santai Magazine and Malaysian celebrity Datuk Aznil Nawawi or Pak Nil as he is popularly known, organized a media familiarization trip from Penang to Thailand where a total of about 70 media turned up. This 3D/2N cruise which departs from the Port of Penang, arrives at Phuket and then sails towards the beautiful coastal town of Krabi before sailing back to Penang.

Explorer Lifestyle had the pleasure of joining the media group in early June and the experience was wonderful as we had never been on a cruise before. Boarding the ship for the first time, everyone was welcomed with a nice cold towel and welcome drink from the sweet staff on board. After checking into our cabins, the entire entourage was invited to a special welcome cocktail and mini press conference by the organizers and also Pak Nil. A magnificent spread of appetizers and desserts was served during this session which ended with socializing and mingling among each other. After that, we had a few hours to explore the Superstar Libra before the welcome party on board the ship at about 8 pm. This is something which is not to be missed by everyone if you are going on this cruise.


Welcoming the guest on board the Super Star Libra

The Superstar Libra welcome party starts with the main host introducing the entire ship and so on. Right after that, a performance is conducted by the ship’s guest hosts followed by previews of the various shows that are available throughout the cruise which are spectacular and not to be missed. All in all, we were pretty impressed with the entire welcoming party. Soon after that, our personal explorations took place where each group went their own ways. Mind you, there are a total of 10 floors on this ship and you can imagine how large this cruise ship is.

On board, there are two pools and two Jacuzzi’s on the top deck, a restaurant and bar to compliment the area, there is a duty free shop on the fourth level while there is also a saloon, spa and a Chinese restaurant. On the 10th floor, there is the first Halal Restaurant on board a cruise ship which is called Spices Restaurant and also a Karaoke and a 24-hour cafe there. A disco is on the ninth floor while a casino is on the fifth floor of the ship. In three days, I have to admit, I did not manage to finish trying out all the entertainment offered here.


Spices, the only halal restaurant on board a cruise ship here

During one of the nights, we were all treated to a special halal dinner together with Pak Nil at the Spices Restaurant. According to the Star Cruise representatives, a huge sum was invested into turning this place into a 100% fully halal restaurant. Certificates are also obtained by the cruise operator while brand new cutlery was bought for the place. The food, overall was good. It had a well balanced taste with fresh ingredients used. The chef was also a Malaysian Muslim who has been with Star Cruise for many years.


Aznil Nawawi or Pak Nil trying some halal food at Spices Restaurant

The rooms come in various sizes where the most common ones are the standard rooms. Executive and deluxe suites are also available for those wanting a larger space on the ship. All rooms come with air condition, attached bathroom and a LCD television. In terms of comfortableness, I would say, this is a cruise ship and  for me, it was very decent though it looks small. But overall, I has good sleeping nights here.


Phuket seen from the ship

Upon arrival in Phuket port, the group was ushered into a waiting bus where we were taken on a tour around the island. Mind you this was arranged by the host for the media. First stop – A cashew nut factory where we were introduced to the production of this unique nut. Now I know why they cost so much and if you would like to know, you should take try this cruise to explore the beautiful southern islands of Thailand. Next was the elephant park where guest are allowed to go for elephant rides and also see an elephant show here. Our final stop was the ever famous Patong Beach where you are given some time to explore the area for food and shopping. Our return to the boat was scheduled at 9 pm therefore all guest are reminded again and again so that no one misses the bus back to the port. (If you do miss the bus, you other option is to grab a taxi and head there yourself)


Arriving at Krabi

From Phuket, the next stop was the coastal town of Krabi where we were given about six hours to explore the place. The ship will port out in sea while small ferries will transfer guest towards the main Aonang jetty. In most normal cruise packages, tours are optional or you can simply explore on your own at both Phuket and Krabi. The modes of transport are taxis or Tuk Tuk’s that take you into town and back to the jetty, for a price of course. For us, we simply walked around the famous Aonang Walking Street by the beach where shopping and food is easily available. Oh, I did pick up some amazing souvenirs there. For your added information, there is a pretty good factory outlet store located just out of Aonang in Krabi. It is called Outlet Village Krabi and most of the items there are quite cheap with many international brands. You need to take a taxi there though.

After Krabi, it is an overnight cruise back to Penang but before bed, there is a farewell formal dinner followed by a farewell showcase by the staff of the Superstar Libra. To wrap this up, we did a full tour of the ship which included a guided visit to the bridge of the ship and many other parts of the vessel. The only other place I wanted to go but did not have a chance was the ship’s engine room. Below are various pictures taken during my Star Cruise Superstar Libra trip to Thailand.


Pak Nil officiating the press conference with Star Cruise, Malaysian Harmony and Santai Travel reps


The special welcome appetizers for the media group


Pak Nil as the ambassador for his upcoming trip with his fans in November 2013


Spices Restaurant, a 100% Halal Restaurant on board the ship


Cashew nut factory in Phuket

Elephant Park in Phuket


SuperStar Libra seen from the ferry


Welcome Party on the Super Star Libra


Pre-show at the Welcome Party


Captain and crew on the bridge of the Superstar Libra


Krabi’s famous Crab, a popular tourist photo stop


Outlet Village Krabi – A must-visit for those who love to shop


Exploring Aonang Walking Street in Krabi


Shopping at Aonang, Krabi


Superstar Libra at night, docked at Phuket


Deluxe Room with Romantic Couple Package setting


Standard room on the Superstar Libra with Romantic Package Decoration


Super Star Libra Casino


The special menu for the Malaysian Harmony Muslim Media FAM Trip

My recommendation – If you have never been on a cruise before, I suggest you try this one that heads to Thailand. Moreover, if you are Muslim, there is a full Muslim Cruise Package and you can get more information from the Malaysian Harmony Tour Company as they specialize in this. Also, Pak Nil will be having a special Muslim Cruise Package this November which is arranged by Malaysian Harmony therefore if you would like to be on this cruise together with him, please check the website for full details. Another tip from me is to check out the coming Matta Fair September in KL for cruise deals as sometimes, you can get really good prices for cruise packages. Alternatively, you can check out the Malaysian Harmony Booth at the Matta Fair 2013.

To end this, I would like to thank M-Mode’s Santai Magazine, Star Cruise and Malaysian Harmony for making this trip possible as this was an eye-opener for me in terms of going for a cruise. Seriously, I had a fantastic time on this cruise while I also made many new friends from the various media who went along. Also thank you to Pak Nil for entertaining us throughout the cruise. (Especially his witty game of Poison Ball or Bola Beracun in Malay). For those wanting additional information about the many other cruises around the region, you can get that from the Star Cruise website.

Haze Red Alert: Muar API hits 383 – Johor, Malacca, Singapore worst hit

Haze in Malaysia

Haze red alert: Muar API hits 383 – Johor, Malacca, Singapore worst hit

It’s something in common that both Malaysia and Singapore would rather not have – haze that’s hit hazardous levels at both ends of the causeway. Just like the Singaporeans, Malaysians down south are getting the worst of the choking smoke caused by fires in Sumatra, Indonesia.

The worst hit was Muar, Johor. As of 11a.m, the air pollution index (API) there shot up to 383, which is rated dangerous. Kota Tinggi, also in Johor, recorded a very unhealthy level of 232. Levels above 301 are hazardous. The Department of Environment (DOE) released the figures this afternoon, identifying four other areas experiencing unhealthy levels – Pasir Gudang (199) and Larkin Lama (181), and Malacca town (137) and Bukit Rambai (119).

All afternoon session schools in Muar were ordered to close until further notice by Johor’s education director Mohd Nor A. Ghani. According to Ghani, a directive immediately goes out when the reading hits 300. Yesterday, Malacca’s government had urged all schools in the state to stop outdoor activities while Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam announced that operation rooms would be set up in places where the API exceeded 200.

The DOE has already banned open burning in Selangor, Johor and Malacca. The DOE lists API levels from 51 to 100 as moderate, 101 to 200 as unhealthy, and 201 to 300 as very unhealthy. Levels above 301 are hazardous. Most of the hotspots are in Sumatra’s Riau province, an area that is right across the Straits of Malacca and opposite Malacca, Johor and Singapore.

Like Muar, Singapore was badly hit. It experienced an all-time API high of 371 as of 1pm today. Meanwhile, Reuter reports that Singapore’s air quality deteriorated to the extent that some businesses and travel were disrupted. Air traffic controllers gave more time for aircraft between taking off and landing at Changi Airport, a major aviation hub, because of poor visibility.

Work at several Singapore construction sites slowed with few workers seen outdoors and fast-food operator McDonald’s suspended its delivery service across the city-state. An Indonesian airport that serves as a base for some of Chevron Corp’s Indonesian oilfields was shut because of the haze. Singapore called on Indonesia to do something.

“No country or corporation has the right to pollute the air at the expense of Singaporeans’ health and well-being,” Singapore’s Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said on his Facebook page. Balakrishnan said Singapore had sent officials to an emergency haze meeting in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta. “We will insist on definitive action,” he said.

The illegal burning of forest in Sumatra, to the west of Singapore and Malaysia, to clear land for palm oil plantations is a chronic problem, particularly during the June to September dry season. Singapore, which prides itself on its clean environment and usually enjoys clear skies, saw its air quality deteriorate to unhealthy levels on Monday.

The top PSI readings in Singapore over the past two days have exceeded the peak of 226 reached in 1997 when smog from Indonesian fires disrupted shipping and air travel across Southeast Asia. Indonesian officials have tried to deflect blame by suggesting companies based in Singapore may be partly to blame for the fires. Singapore has said it wants Indonesia to provide maps of land concessions so it can act against firms that allow slash-and-burn land clearing.

Singapore-based palm oil companies with land concessions in Indonesia include Wilmar International Ltd, Golden Agri-Resources Ltd and First Resources Ltd. All three said yesterday they had “zero burning” policies and used only mechanical means to clear land. Cargill, whose Asia-Pacific regional hub is in Singapore, said there were no fires on its plantations in South Sumatra and West Kalimantan.

Source: Yahoo News Malaysia – http://my.news.yahoo.com/api-in-muar-at-337-danger-level-as-031143844.html