Call it the Sami situation. An Ethopian named Sami, who has been living in Chongqing over the past 11 years, asked his employer for another holiday this summer, saying he could not stand the brutal heat.
His home country in Africa is enjoying a balmy 20 degrees Celsius, half of the current temperature in the place also known as the Four Hells in China.
It is also unbearably hot in Hong Kong, but perhaps we shouldn’t complain too much.
Instead, we should count our blessings, such as having a relatively mild 33 degrees after a rainy July, while other parts of the world are experiencing record hot spells.
Traveling abroad may not be such a good idea, considering that some tourist spots in Japan and South Korea have just recorded temperatures of more than 40 degrees. I myself cannot think of a destination for a short summer vacation within four hours of flying, except Yunnan in southwestern China.
Friends coming from holidays in Europe and North America also say that summer in those places were pitiless, but that’s probably because we’ve been used to riding air-conditioned buses and trains and whiling away our time in air-conditioned — and, of course, the first thing we do when we come home is turn our aircon full blast.
Going to the beach or public swimming pools may offer some respite, but most of us would rather stay at home.
Ice cream? Cold drinks? Sure, but we can only have so much of that and we have to watch our calories.
Besides, people my age try to avoid cold drinks for health reasons.
Disneyland? Ocean Park? You must be kidding. They are open areas, the most exposed to the sun in Hong Kong.
Staff in those theme parks, especially those donning the Mickey Mouse and Captain Whisker getups, ought to be given hot weather pay, if not an extended holiday.
Otherwise, we shall have more Samis in Hong Kong.
Suddenly, I am reminded of a Chinese poem I learned in primary school: “There is nothing better than sleeping in the midst of summer.”
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