Pining for sunny Singapore in London

Pining for sunny Singapore in London

While writing my column this week, I was nursing two aches in my body.

The first was in my left elbow, a numbing ache that refused to leave. Ironically, I got it because I also refused to leave - leave the open-air deck of a boat, that is, where a function at my university was held one chilly night.

While everyone was sheltering indoors, I was glued to the deck because it was an unusually clear London night. The moon hung low and large against the skyline, illuminating the Thames River and the London Eye.

"This is worth the cold," I thought to myself.

It was not.

Especially not when I got home and couldn't feel my elbow. I tried running it under some warm water, putting it near the heater and rubbing my palm repeatedly on it. Nothing worked.

Oh my god, I'm in my 30s and I already have rheumatism?

That brings me to the second ache in my body - the one in my heart.

I never thought I would say this, but after six months of living in a temperate country, the thing I miss most about Singapore, after its food, is the weather.

Now this is quite a big concession for someone like me, who has sworn - in more ways than one - that Singapore must have one of the most undesirable climates on earth, short of Siberia or the Gobi desert.

It is hot. It is so humid. And while it did go through a recent dry spell, Singapore's usual method of cooling down is to have a major downpour, which in turn brings on the occasional flood.

Yet this tropical city boy would love nothing more than some sweaty 32 deg C heat right now. And I think I finally understand why, back home, the ang mohs seem to be permanently lounging next to my apartment's swimming pool because I'm about to become one of them.

The thing about heat is, it's pleasant when you lose a bit of it, say, when 32 deg C drops to 22 deg C. Then it becomes less enjoyable at around 12 deg C. By the time it gets to 2 deg C, as it does during winter, it becomes downright arduous - and most of my time here has been spent in that kind of 2 to 12 deg C kind of cold.

Next thing you know, you have mysteriously developed Unexplainable Elbow Ache just by standing outside for a while to look at the moon.

Unfortunately, I've found out that cold affects me in a way that cannot be easily remedied.

Even if I have taken care to wear warm clothes while I'm out, the insides of my body - such as my head, throat, muscles or joints - still feel discomfort, even when I'm back indoors. It's as if I can never properly thaw out.

Sometimes the cold can be literally painful, such as the day I was caught in a hailstorm while crossing a bridge to get to school.

On that November morning, the sky - which had looked perfectly fine two minutes earlier - suddenly began raining blows on my face.

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