Japanese Responsibility And Its Fatality

The summer heat this past week or two is getting really bad. Granted, it isn’t exactly summer yet (yes, we’re still in the rainy season though it hardly rains), but the temperature hit a 36 degree celsius high today.

Now, Singapore may be smacked right on the equator and we may not have 4 seasons, but the heat back home is nothing like what they have here in Japan. And if you think the humidity in Singapore is unbearable, try living the summer here. Back home, as soon as you arrive at your next destination, you can be pretty certain that the air-conditioner would be set at a temperature that creates a virtual post-autumn, pre-winter experience. Even on the buses and trains.

Here, however, I’ve been sitting in the staff room under the crazy heat and humidity in the breeze-less summer with every teacher gasping for breath, soaking up their perspiration with sponges (OK, that’s an exaggeration but you get the drift), yet, they refuse to turn on the fan, much less the air-conditioner. Why?

2 words: 節電

Since the tsunami wiped out the nuclear reactors in Fukushima, the call for electricity conservation has been going on and every responsible Japanese took the campaign really seriously. I’ve also been trying my best to cut back on the use of electricity by not turning on the lights when I use the toilet and such. I seriously don’t understand why they need the lights in the toilet during daytime. Yes, I know it’s not that bright in the cubicles, but surely you don’t need a high definition visual display to do your business in the toilet. But I digress.

Honestly, I’d rather they switch off the lights in the staff room and turn on the air-conditioner or at least a fan, because this responsibility may become fatal. Here’s my idea. Use the air-conditioner and save on the electricity somewhere else. It works the same way I manage my finances. If I spend too much on shopping, I’d cancel my travelling. Likewise, if I were to go travelling, I’d cut back on shopping (not that I shop a lot anyway).

I do share the responsibility and feel the great need to contribute to the rebuilding of northern Japan but there are many ways we can cut back on electricity usage to help. Dehydrating ourselves is not one of them.


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