Just when we thought the haze and typical CNY hot weather were over, the heat strikes again! Thanks to the ongoing El Nino weather phenomenon and recent forest fires from our Indonesian neighbours, it looks like we’ll have to prepare ourselves for a long, drawn out spell of scorching and dry days. Although Malaysians are generally accustomed to the tropical heat in our lovely sunny country, the extended scorching weather can be quite punishing, especially to small children and the elderly. With festivities and special occasions, usage and consumption of water is sure to increase, which may be affected by water rationing in certain areas. Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of ways you can survive the hot and dry spell for the next two or three months.
1. Save water, don’t waste it
Even if the weather isn’t super hot and dry, not wasting water should be an everyday practice. With the hot, dry weather, you can be sure that water rationing exercises will be implemented sooner rather than later, and you’ll need to know how to maximise usage of a minimum amount of (clean) water. There are many ways to conserve water and cut down wastage, i.e. turning off the tap when brushing your teeth, rinse off your shower gel/cream and shampoo at the same time, washing dishes in a large basin of water instead of under running water,
2. Re-use grey water
Grey water, as mentioned in the 6 Reasons Why Building Should Go Green, is gently-used water from bathroom sinks, showers, tubs and washing machines which can be recycled (or re-used) for non-potable (drinkable) purposes. For example, water collected from bathing, washing hands, brushing teeth and washing clothes can be used to wash floors or flush toilets, thus reducing water wastage and save water at the same time. Similarly, the slightly dirty water from washing rice, fruits and vegetables can be used for flushing, washing or gardening.
3. Stay in the shade
For all the puteri lilins (lit. candle princess; meaning somebody who cannot stand the heat of the sun) or vampires out there, staying in the shade is their sole mission upon stepping outdoors, but even for those who don’t mind a bit of sunshine, long periods of exposure to harsh sunlight is harmful to your body. When you feel hot, you sweat, and when you sweat, your body slowly gets dehydrated. Dehydration can result in thirst, headaches, dizziness, dry skin, and in severe cases, result in delirium or unconsciousness. Constant exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays is also bad for skin, causing wrinkles and even skin cancer! Best to stay in the shade as often as possible during the hot weather, and apply some sunscreen while you’re at it.
4. Sunscreen is your good friend
I’m not going to the beach; I don’t need sunscreen! Take a moment to think about it though: Is the sun shining on you at the beach any different from the sun that shines on you outside your house? To avoid wrinkles and other harmful effects to your skin from the scorching sun’s rays, slather on some sunblock and grab a pair of sunglasses before heading outdoors. Nobody wants to get sunstroke or sunburnt, do they?
5. Drink lots of water
It’s hot, you sweat, and then you get dehydrated. If there’s no shade available or your activities require you to stay out under the hot sun, make sure you drink lots of water to replenish all the liquids that you’ve lost from sweating. Not only will it keep you from keeling over, you’ll also benefit from an internal cleanse. 😉
6. Chill at a cafe or shopping mall
House no air-con? Trying to save your electricity bill? One of the most Malaysian things you can do is abandon all thoughts of keeping cool at home and simply head to the nearest (air-conditioned) cafe or mall! Not only do you get to enjoy the wonderfully cool air indoors, you can also take it as an excuse to meet up with friends and have a nice cup of coffee, you can also take the opportunity for some retail therapy! (Not recommended if you are trying to save money.)
7. DIY cooling fan
Maybe you decide you need to stay home because you’re on a tight budget, or need to finish some work. If you’re not looking forward to stewing in your room, here’s a useful tip to enjoy a cooling breeze without switching on the A/C. Place several bottles of water in the freezer, and once they’re completely frozen, place them in front of a floor or desk fan. Ta-daa! Instant cool air, and you’ll be able to quench your thirst (rehydrate!) with the melted iced water. 2-in-1 memang best! 😛
8. Icy cool sheets
Likewise, for blisteringly hot nights, sleeping on cool, chilled sheets sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Simply fold your bedsheets, place them in plastic bags, and leave them in the freezer for at least a few hours. Before going to bed, take them out of the freezer and make your bed as usual. This trick may be a bit more hassle, but you’ll definitely enjoy the effects.
9. Battery-operated or USB fan
You can always opt for the manual hand fan, but unless you’re training your wrist/arm, you won’t be able to keep it up for long. Thank goodness for the invention of battery-operated and USB fans, which can keep you cool – hands-free! – for extended periods of time when you’re studying or working at your desk.
10. Take a cool shower/swim
If all else fails, take a cool shower! You might want to step out of the way of that initial burst of water though, as it might be scalding hot (based on personal experience). If the condo or apartment you live in has a swimming pool, these few weeks would be a good time to make full use of it too.
Of course, these tips are just the tip of the iceberg (pun intended); there are so many other ways you can beat the heat and survive the harshest of hot and dry weather. Tell us what other ways you’ve thought of to survive another few months of this punishing weather!