The Polars and the Tropics

First of all, since we’re on the topic of polars, a big RIP to Sheba the polar bear who died in our zoo and will now be stuffed for educational purposes. You have been with us for more decades than the lifespan of a wild polar bear, and we will not let your death be in vain.

Today’s entry is about something quite important when we go around the world travelling — climate! Whether a country has 4 seasons is usually on the minds of people preparing to head there. Some people travel out of the country specifically to avoid a particular weather or seasonal effect. I remember examples of Americans complaining of the cold, and someone from Australia (or one of us tropical dudes) would be like “ooh it’s all warm and sunny over here”.

Personally, I don’t have a favourite season. I haven’t experienced much of every season — not even summer, because the weather in Singapore is milder than most summers in temperate or other tropical countries — so my preference tends to vary randomly. For instance, right now I like winter because the recent onslaught of rain has made the weather breezy and refreshing. When I go to actual winter-struck countries, though, I wrap myself up in furs and avoid washing my hands due to fear of the cold, and can’t imagine how people can live in such cold places and still do anything efficiently.

But they do manage. People living in Canada, parts of America etcetera have to shovel snow out of their driveways everyday. They get to stay at home for days due to snow warning alerts and face blackouts from the heavy snow. You would think they would all be dying to live in Africa but no! We humans have an excellent way to adapt to our living surroundings. Even though Singaporeans complain all the time of the hot weather, we still cope with it. Even when Singapore is known for being one of the more humid countries with frequent rainfall, we just bring our umbrella out more often. Same with people living in extreme weather conditions. Even despite floods, hurricanes and earthquakes, people will have to adapt to them if they can’t solve them.

Most people agree that warm countries are great places to live in. Indeed, history has it that wars and conquests occurred more often in countries with harsher climates because of a lack of food in such places. Animals and crops do not survive as well in bitter cold climates, resulting in people going hungry and going to war in order to stay alive. You don’t hear of Southeast Asia experiencing any war in the olden days because we were comfortable. We had abundant growth and soothing weathers, but one problem we had from that was over-abundant growth. Fungi and micro-organisms love the warmth and humidity as much as we do, so disease was a greater headache in this region than elsewhere. The tropics are not necessarily perfect living conditions.

I have grown so used to Singapore that I absolutely cannot withstand extreme cold (and extreme heat too to some extent). When studying for exams, I cannot stay in an air-conditioned place for long. But imagine living someplace cold, and being all bundled up in layers and layers of clothing. Maybe fewer layers if your home has a radiator. But it must be so uncomfortable nonetheless. Thank goodness I will never need to experience taking or revising for exams in a cold climate, since I will never go on exchange! Yippee!

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