Singapore Revisited Log 5.1: Singapore Weather

There was an old school joke I read on the internet. It was a screenshot of how a student answered his English composition that asked of him to write a mock letter from a Chinese coolie who went to Singapore some 6-7 decades ago to his family in China. The amusing part was that the student wrote the letter entirely in Chinese, whether he or she did that intentionally or innocently and the funny part was how the teacher who set the question would have realise his stupidity as he wouldn't be able to give a mark for that attempt on a English composition. Whether or not the student took role-playing a bit too seriously, technically he wasn't wrong, for no Chinese coolie would have written and sent a letter back in English. That was a classic illustration of real life. Everyone has to follow the rules, no matter how stupid they are or pay the price to be different.

A friend of mine and I had a debate a few years ago. His stand was that it is an absolute must to install an air conditioning system in a house in Singapore. My stand was that it is a luxury and not a need. The points he put through were not convincing because one wouldn't simply justify a want as need easily. He eventually mocked me (behind my back) for installing an air conditioner at my place. He didn't get the point. Neither did I say it was wrong to go pursue a want nor did I say an air conditioning system was an unaffordable luxury for most Singaporean household. He took it personally and thought I was criticising his decision and reacted by defending the indefensible. The air conditioner remains a want, not an absolute need in Singapore. The same goes for the car, though it is fast redefining its status to the affluent Singaporean community. Not surprisingly, the particular friend drives a car and thought it was an absolute need as well.

To be fair to him, the level of "need" varies widely from country to country. Obviously, an air conditioning system is even less of a need in the city of Perth, even taking into account of the fiery Summers days that occurs 3-4 months each year. In comparison, Singapore weather makes us fudge - sticky and moist - all year round and trust me, I know how uncomfortable it is to be a a walking slime.

The weather of Singapore will never change for the better. These are the rules. As far as I'm being concerned, fighting the rules of life is futile, not even with a walk around solution like the air conditioner. I have to make a decision between waking up hot, sweaty and sticky despite a fan on full blast or waking up dry but sick in an air conditioned room. Either doesn't seem appealing to me. Before long, I found the familiar feeling or chronic weariness overcoming me within a few days in Singapore. To make it worse, the neighborhood was still well alive at 10pm, bright lights, exciting sounds of activities and all. I wondered again why so many Singaporeans I met mentioned "dead Perth" with disdain. My good estimate was that I would be as dead as Perth in no time under my previous Singapore work regime and lifestyle in those conditions. If anything, a peaceful environment for good rest is much more of a need than a car or an air conditioner in Singapore but it costs higher than the best luxuries around to obtain. I didn't understand what I was trying to point out until I discovered my Perth life so I wouldn't expect most of you to understand what I'm driving at. It is best for you not to know if you don't.

The student in the letter told his family that he had to bath 3 times a day to fight the heat in the far south-east. I did just that and it served me better than hiding in an air conditioned room all the time. As much as I dislike to conform, one don't fuck around with the rules of life. The baths will help me through the grueling hot hazy days here, hopefully.

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