Dr. Pasoot Lasuka2
2Chiang Mai University, Maung, Thailand
For a decade, haze has become the main environmental problem affecting health and changing the ways of living of many people in Southeast Asia. However, so far, the mainstream media tends to only focus on the large-scale image and number-based information of the haze problem which affects the societies, while, in fact, many individuals livening in the affected areas have been active and adaptive with the new condition of the air environment. In this paper, I present the alternative picture of how people in societies in the region deal with the new air environmental condition caused by the smoke haze. I follow the Instagram accounts of people in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and the hashtags that they use in the time of the air crisis. What I have initially found from following these accounts and hashtags is that, during the haze periods, many people on Instagram re-assemble their new selves through showing their daily lives with the preventive methods and equipment against the air pollution. They also use hashtags to create what I call an “ad-hoc community”, linking these new selves together as well as linking the fragmented spaces in the online society.
Pasoot Lasuka is an assistant professor of literary studies at Faculty of Humanities, Chiang Mai University. He had worked on life-writing cultures in Siam/Thailand. Currently, he is shifting his research interest to health and environmental issues and the relevant cultures produced on the digital media platform.