IT IS easy for office workers to crank up the air-conditioning whenever the outdoor temperature rises, but the same cannot be said for people who work under the sun.
With the current hot and dry weather expected to last until September, many of these outdoor workers such as construction workers, lorry drivers and hawkers are taking extra steps to make sure they do not collapse under the unforgiving weather.
Food deliverer Chin Kok Keong, 40, said he drank a lot of water to keep himself cool and hydrated during the hot spell.
“I have been in this job for 10 years so I am used to having to work under various weather conditions, from sweltering heat to heavy rain.
“Coping with hot weather is not hard, you just need to know how to take care of yourself and not push your limits,” he said.
Lorry driver Long Bah Sel, 40, also relied on drinking copious amounts of water whenever the heat became unbearable.
“The weather really interferes with my work because the sweat gets into my eyes while I am driving and the harsh sunlight can make me dizzy,” he said.
Indonesian construction worker Nukhet, 30, said he usually brings a large five litre bottle of water from home and drinks about three litres during hot days.
“Sometimes my boss treats us to drinks as he understands how hard it is to work inside a semi-constructed building, where hot air is trapped and there are no electric fans to cool us off.
“We are also given two 30-minute breaks and a one-hour lunch break a day.
“We go to coffee shops and cool down with cold drinks,” he said.
Construction worker W.K. Phang, 45, said his wife’s dedication played a huge role in making the hot weather more bearable to work in.
“She packs a thermos of cold herbal drinks that she brews herself whenever I leave for work in the morning and always brews drinks that are known for their cooling effects, such as lo hong ko.
“Without her drinks and constant reminders to keep myself hydrated at all times, I would forget to take care of myself,” said Phang, who has held his job for 18 years and led a happily married life for 25 years.
Rojak seller Lau Yik Mooi, 58, said she sometimes ate the fruits she sold in an effort to cool down.
“Eating fresh fruits is a great and natural way to keep hydrated and cool, without having to resort to iced carbonated drinks that contain too much sugar and preservatives.
“Unfortunately, while my business improves by leaps and bounds during hot spells, it also leads to me having to buy more bags of ice to keep my fruits fresh,” she said, adding that she usually used about half or one bag of ice on normal days, while two bags are needed on hot days.
Lau admits that the thought of taking it easy and retiring to a comfortable, cool home sometimes flitted across her mind whenever she had to go out and sell her fruits in the sweltering heat.
“However, I still have to support my family.
“The job may not be very comfortable whenever the weather takes a turn for the worse, but like all people trying to make a honest living, I have no other choice,” she said.