19 October 2018
Hong Kong workers should be given a high-temperature vacation, or at least be allowed to work from home, when the weather soars to unbearable levels. Photo: EJ Insight
Hong Kong workers should be given a high-temperature vacation, or at least be allowed to work from home, when the weather soars to unbearable levels. Photo: EJ Insight

Let’s have a high-temperature vacation

Something is awry this summer. Ice-cream doesn’t cool us down anymore, and cold drinks don’t help, either. A dip in the swimming pool is like a session in a hot tub. 

If you’d rather stay home, don’t bother worrying about the cost of electricity, for the air-conditioning had to be turned on 24/7 – unless you simply love sauna.

How can Hong Kong be so hot in July? And how can visitors survive roaming around under the sun at Ocean Park or Hong Kong Disneyland?

With tropical cyclones hitting Taiwan and bringing heavy pollution to Hong Kong, who doesn’t miss the rains that drenched the city earlier this month?

Sunday, July 30th, was the hottest day in Hong Kong this year with an average of 34.8 degrees Celsius. But many districts hit 37 degrees, although it really felt like 50 degrees under the very hot weather warning.

In the neighboring cities across the border, it is as hot as ever, but it doesn’t go beyond 39 degrees in the mainland.

You see, since 2007, China has allowed factory workers to take the day off when it hits 40 degrees, while providing a monthly allowance of 150 yuan (US$22.30) for outdoor workers.

That’s why the joke is that the temperature reading stops at 39 degrees.

Kidding aside, friends from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou report that they’ve had high-temperature vacations. Workers take turns, of course, so as not the disrupt business operations.

Back in Hong Kong, one way to encourage citizens to support the co-location arrangement, which puts the “one country, two systems” principle to a test at the West Kowloon Terminus, is to let workers in the SAR have high-temperature vacations as well.

Why can’t we have the same privilege that our mainland counterparts enjoy?

Even Taiwan people are campaigning for such a vacation when the temperature soars to unbearable levels. A recent survey showed that more than 70 percent of the island’s workforce – and that includes their supervisors – support such a humane policy.

If it is too hot to work in the office, allowing employees to work from home is perhaps a good alternative. This will be a welcome development, especially for those who have to commute long distances to get to the office.

Amid the scorching heat wave, most people wish the summer will end soon (usually in September, but considering global warming and all that, it is more likely to stay until early October).

One senior citizen is not the least perturbed by the sizzling summer. Former Hong Kong Observatory director Lam Chiu-ying claims he doesn’t turn on the aircon at home, and only uses a 4-inch USB fan when he wants to doze off.

He explains: “Human sense lies in the upper body, so keeping your head cool is enough.”

Just like everyone else, the retired weatherman feels the heat and sweats. But sweating is not dirty or sinful, he insists, but rather it helps in detoxifying our body.

Lam may have a point there, but he remains in the minority.

The majority of Hongkongers want to have a holiday – whether to go out of town or just be able to bear the heat in the city.

– Contact us at [email protected]


EJ Insight writer

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