Singapore is hot, but not in a Brad Pitt / Angelina Jolie way.
Just when true blue Singaporeans thought they had gotten used to feeling like they were bathing in glue every second of the day, Singapore got hotter.
Earlier this year, NEA had warned that we might experience temperatures as high as 36 degrees which, given the humidity, basically means you’re in a sauna all day long. Even the nights are uncomfortable, breezeless stretches. This weekend, we can expect highs of 34 degrees and lows of 24 degrees!
While you could turn the air conditioning on the minute you arrive at home, that’ll not only send your electricity bill through the roof, it could also damage your air con unit (repairs are expensive), and also adds to the energy consumption that’s partly responsible for the fact that Singapore is getting hotter twice as fast as the global average. In addition, some people just don’t do well sleeping in air conditioned environments—if you have sinus issues or dry eyes, good luck.
Instead, try these four cost-saving ways to keep cool.
Hang out in free air conditioned areas
If you don’t have an air con at home or don’t want to overwork it, that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to spend your entire life at the office. Singapore is filled with air conditioned places, so make the most of this heatwave and spend as much time as you can out of the house.
Virtually every shopping mall in Singapore is air conditioned, sometimes to a bone chilling extent. So are the many excellent public library branches.
Trying to get some reading done over the weekend but your flat is heating up like the inside of an active volcano? Pack a flask of tea and head over to the National Library’s sumptuous 9th floor, which gives you a nice view over the city.
Another nice air conditioned area to spend the afternoon is the ION Sky viewing gallery on the 56th floor of ION Orchard (open 3 to 6pm only, enter by 5:30pm). The views of the city are pretty mind-blowing, haze notwithstanding, and it’s become a hangout spot of sorts for youngsters. You’ll usually see one or two guys sitting on the floor, plugged into their laptops or iPods.
If you live near JCube, you get to hang out by the ice skating rink, which is extra chilly and gives you the added bonus of a free show by Kim Yuna wannabes.
Stock up on portable heat-fighting items
If somebody invented a wearable, backpack-style air conditioning unit, you can be sure they’d find a market in Singapore.
But for now, the best you can do is to stock up on a few simple, inexpensive items that can make a world of difference to how much you suffer when you’re trekking to the bus stop or MRT station under the hot sun, or heading out for lunch from your office.
First of all, you need to stop laughing at those Singaporeans who hide under umbrellas when it’s sunny outside in order to preserve the lily whiteness of their skin. Because believe it or not, using an umbrella in direct sunlight reduces the amount of perspiration your body produces by, oh, a million percent. A portable umbrella, preferably dark-coloured if not with that ugly silver UV-resistant coating, can make your life a lot less painful if you can get over the embarrassment of looking like a princess.
A battery operated, hand-held fan is a great way to stop yourself from melting into a puddle of pain when you’re stuck in a queue at a hawker centre with poor air circulation and the uncle is taking his own sweet time to fry up the fifteen plates of Hokkien mee before yours. Get one for about $10 on Qoo10.
Finally, invest in a tiny plastic spray bottle—the travel-sized kind you find at Watsons, Guardian or Muji can be a godsend for desperate times. Fill it up with tap water and carry it in your bag for emergencies.
In the event you’re so hot you feel you’re about to faint, spritz yourself in the face once or twice and you’re granted instant relief for a few minutes at least. Also good for when you’re trapped in a broken down MRT and the air con’s gone off. Not so good for people who wear makeup.
Never go anywhere without water and hydrating snacks
Ice cream may sound temperature-appropriate for people trying to beat the heat, but two seconds after you’ve taken your last lick you immediately start to feel dehydrated. The heaviness and sugariness of ice cream actually makes it a bad choice for extreme heat and humidity like ours.
Instead, stock up on snacks that are hydrating instead of dehydrating, and never go anywhere without a big, refillable bottle of water. Hydrating foods include fruit like grapes, pineapple, watermelon (a few slices in a tupperware can be a lifesaver) and tomato.
Swim, do watersports and go to the beach
The only times the hot weather becomes a blessing rather than a curse is when you’re in the water or wandering around semi-naked in a bikini/Speedos at Sentosa. During monsoon season these activities are much harder to enjoy, so make the most of the heatwave.
Public pools cost only $1 to $2 per entry, and Seng Kang, Choa Chu Kang, Jurong East, Jurong West and Paris Ris Swimming Complexes are as good as actual theme parks with their array of water slides, lazy rivers, waterfalls, wave pools and jacuzzi pools.
If you don’t mind spending a bit of money, check out the range of water sports on offer at the People’s Association’s Water Venture like kayaking, sailing, windsurfing, dragon boating and even power boating.
When you accidentally fall into the water, we promise you’ll be glad for once that it’s so hot out.
How are you handling the hot weather? Tell us in the comments!