It’s sweltering. Asians from places where extreme heat is typical share how to cope.
Much of the world is now dealing with mind-numbing heat. But there are places where stifling and health-threatening temperatures are common – and air conditioning is not. Asian immigrants from areas where heat is the norm, offer their time-proven advice on how to stay cool without electricity or technology.
In parts of Asia that have Long struggle with heat wavesOver the generations, families have developed their own cooling rituals. Some say they slept on the floor in kitchens, where tile surfaces retain a lower temperature, or spread bamboo mats around the house for the same reason. Others advised wearing longi, thin clothing tied around the waist, and eating cool seasonal foods like pasta or lassi to help keep the heat away.
When Mehr Singh was growing up in Delhi, India, sweltering heat and frequent power cuts often left her family baking without air conditioning.
“Delhi’s heat is very dry. Summers in New York City are humid but not quite as harsh,” said Singh, who moved to New York in 2016.
Experiences like this forced her to develop some lifestyle – wearing damp cotton T-shirts to sleep alongside an “army of floor fans”, bathing in cold water, and drinking lemonade was part of her summer routine.
Sheena Yap Chan, who lived in Cebu City until she was 10 years old, said, “One of the things we did during our stay in the Philippines was a local fan. It can be very hot, especially between March and May, when it can feel 40 degrees Celsius or higher. …I think the heat has gotten worse over the years.”
Yap-chan’s family had an air conditioner, but the high cost in the Philippines meant it was down for most of the day. “We usually wore it in the evening when we were sleeping,” she said.
For Karleen Chan, a Chinese American, the solution to staying calm involves increasing the heat in his diet.
“Spicy foods,” he said. “I grew up in New York City and usually only eat spicy foods during the summer months. I have noticed that many cultures in hot humid climates all year round follow a spicy diet, so I tried 10 years ago. Mainly Indian, Malaysian and Singaporean food helps. in dealing with heat.
The food was historically spicy It is more consumed in hot countriesStudies found. Scientists have I assume The antimicrobial properties of spices help keep food clean in places where refrigeration cannot be reached, but there isn’t much evidence to support this.
Others who lived in the Global South say in their experience, Sweat caused by spices It is a good way to keep calm.
Climate expert and UN consultant Saad Amer said putting a dab of water on each wrist to help cool the body through the veins is a common practice in villages. For the vulnerable population at the forefront of the climate crisis, he added, these measures can only be sustained so far.
When temperatures rise and resources dwindle, he said, simple actions are pointless, leaving the world’s most vulnerable people “unable to work”. He said Asians, on the continent with the largest population, are on the front lines of climate change. And those who know the most about it are the ones who have the least protection from the elements.
Near the border of Nepal, rural communities in northern India have faced both floods and droughts in recent years. They work outside all day without an air-conditioned house to return to, completely exposed to the elements.
“Recently, we were able to see temperatures of 120 degrees in Pakistan and India, which we have not heard of until now,” Aamir said. But in areas like this, especially in areas where you see extreme poverty, these communities just aren’t able to handle that level of heat. And so you see people dying, you see a drop in productivity. And it’s just disgusting.”
In the villages where Amer resided, electricity was basically unavailable and water became scarce.
“These are not societies that go to school and get PhDs in climate sciences,” he said. “These are the people who are directly experiencing a lot of those crises. It is the terrible scenario that people have been warned about for decades, and we are actively watching it infect our communities.”