I was going to title this post “Living in Singapore” but that wouldn’t be right. Apart from three ventures out to downtown and a nearby residential area, I’ve spent all my time on the Nanyang Technological University campus. Incidentally, “Nanyang” in Chinese means “South Seas” and refers to the maritime SE Asia; also to the Chinese diaspora in SE Asian states.
One thing I was worried a bit before the trip was dealing with the hot and humid climate here. Fortunately, my worry was misplaced. First, everything indoors is air-conditioned. AC works very well; most importantly, it removes the excess humidity very nicely. Outside is typically 33 degrees Centigrade and quite humid, especially after a rain, which happens quite frequently here. The temperature hardly goes down with sunset, while humidity at night hits 100%. My window in the morning looks like this, even on dry nights:
But it’s not too bad — it’s quite similar to Louisiana in summer, and half-forgotten tricks for heat managing are coming back. First, unless I am giving a talk, I walk around in shorts and a t-shirt. Second, I have slowed down from my usual brisk walk to a kind of a languid amble. Third and inevitably, I sweat a lot and take frequent showers.
Overall, it’s quite livable, and I can imagine how people lived here before AC. Which reminds me that on the way here I changed planes in Dubai, and that was an entirely different story. If midday in Singapore feels like Louisiana in July, Dubai felt like standing in an exhaust of a huge AC in Louisiana in July. And I even wasn’t there at the worst time. Two different people told me separately that when the temperature go over 40 C, and humidity there is always very high, you can’t even get comfortable in air-conditioned space. The oppressive weather gets to you through all modern protection devices.
As I said in the previous blog, what strikes a visitor to Singapore is the amount of greenery. And it’s not just on campus (although the NTU campus is particularly well landscaped). You see all kinds of interesting ways of combining plants with architecture downtown:
And even residential areas have a lot of greenery:
Back on campus, most faculty live in apartment complexes like this one:
There is also an impressive amount of engineering devoted to water management. Here’s a picture taken in the residential area next to the NTU campus:
I’ve given three talks here, two at NTU and one at the National University of Singapore. I must say that I’ve never had such responsive audience. After one of my talks, the questions continued for more than an hour, and these were very good questions, coming from an audience with very diverse backgrounds. After the two other talks questions went for 30-45 minutes, and would have continued, if we didn’t have to vacate the space.
Next: Eating Paleo in Singapore