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The Singaporean Guide to Surviving the Heat

When the weather is warm (as usual), and the air is humid (as usual), and the sunlight is blinding you from the reflective tops of every polished car (as usual), you may wonder what the locals do to cope with this muggy weather that drains the life out of you and sends it to your hair. When in Singapore, do as the Singaporeans do, to brave the heat and come out smelling like roses. Perhaps even literally.

  • Cool down with water sports

During exercise, our bodies can shed over a litre of water in sweat. This would of course depend on many factors such as the ambient temperature, the clothing worn and the intensity of the exercise. By exercising in water, we stay cool and reduce the amount of sweat we would have lost through other forms of exercise, and thereby lower our chances of getting dehydrated. Water sports that are great for helping us stay cool include canoeing, water-skiing, and windsurfing. For the more adventurous, more exotic options such as stand up paddle boarding and kayaking are available as well.

  • Shopping centres are a natural habitat

Shopping centres are very popular with the locals, and believe it or not, it’s not simply because of the same brands that have spawned across the malls. While tourists love traipsing up and down quaint roads, exploring beautifully-restored shophouses, and grabbing a coffee at an alfresco restaurant, most locals are in fact busy huddling in their sweaters inside shopping centres. This may be a bit of no-brainer, but staying indoors when the sun is out does make a big difference. It’s not a hardship for the working crowd who often do not emerge from their workplace on weekdays before the sun goes down anyway, and it helps them to remain cool throughout the day. Quite literally so, in the case of many office workers whose workplaces model climate conditions in Antarctica.

  • Getting the right gear

Seeing that Singapore actually enjoys a greater amount of rainfall than London, it only makes sense to carry an umbrella with you at all times. It doesn’t always rain, and the rain usually doesn’t last for long, but when it rains, there’s a good chance that it’d come pouring down in torrents. And if you are carrying your umbrella with you, it only makes sense for you to put it to good use and shield yourself from the worst of the sun’s rays whenever you’re stepping out into the heat. Apply sunscreen religiously, and bring your sunglasses with you if your eyes are sensitive to high amounts of light.

If you like wearing makeup, make sure that it’s waterproof or at least smudge-proof, because it may not take more than a 5-minute walk under the sun to have you cursing the fact that your carefully-applied foundation seems to be melting right off. Carry a roll-on perfume or a mini atomiser bottle containing your favourite scent, as higher body temperatures cause fragrances to dissipate faster than normal. A bottle of facial mist would also help to keep you looking fresh throughout the day, and your skin nice and moisturised.

Clothes maketh the Singaporean

Many foreigners in Singapore find it incredible that the locals generally look unbothered by the heat, aside from a slight crinkling of the brow and a quickened pace towards the nearest air-conditioned space, while they seem to sweat and turn red in the face after a short walk. Aside from the fact that our bodies have been conditioned to the local climate, it could also be a problem with what you’re wearing.

Just as in other countries during summertime, wearing light, loose-fitting clothing when the weather’s hot will help one to stay cool longer, while leather and wool might lead on to heatstroke. If you’re planning to work in Singapore, unless the job calls for it specifically, it is almost impossible to meet anyone who would deliberately put on a suit to go to work. Formal business wear in Singapore could be a simple button-down shirt, with the addition of a tie if you’re feeling even more formal, and a full suit on the most formal of occasions—or perhaps if your office, as mentioned earlier, is one of those accustomed to operating at sub-zero temperatures.

  • Stay hydrated with the right foods

As the temperatures climb, so does the very real possibility of dehydration. Drinking enough water throughout the day is important for making sure that we remain healthy. Even the mildest dehydration could have lasting effects on our health as thirst affects our moods, our thoughts, and could lead to us feeling more tired than we really are. Aside from the classic prescription of eight glasses a day, we could also take in water from food sources such as juicy melons, berries and even apples, which by the way, are 80% made up of water! Now that’s food for thought.

02 Mar 2017