How to beat the blistering heat
The sweltering weather poses few problems for people working indoors or in air-conditioned workplaces, but for many people who have to work outside, it takes some creativity to beat the heat.
- Published: 8/04/2013 at 12:52 AM
- Newspaper section: topstories
A construction worker quenches his thirst while working in the sweltering heat at a building site in the Sutthisarn area. (Photo by Thanarak Khoonton)
The Bangkok Post talked to several people who earn their living outside - traffic police, construction workers, street cleaners and street vendors - about how they cope with the sweltering weather.
From stockpiling cold drinks, to wearing protective clothing with ice packs underneath, the workers shared several ideas about how to survive in the sun.
Kim, a 40-year-old foreman at a construction site on Rama III Road said the workers spend most of the day in the heat.
Their main strategy is to wear long-sleeve shirts, trousers and headscarves.
The more skin coverage, the better, Kim said. It's not long before their clothes are soaked with sweat, he said.
When that happens, there's a simple solution.
"We just take a break under a tree," he said.
"Our clothes are soaked, but we don't mind because when the wind blows through our wet clothes, we feel cool."
A snack vendor in front of Platinum Fashion Mall in the Pratunam area said he converts a towel into an ice bag and wraps it around his neck.
"When the ice melts, I put new ice in the towel," he said. "It helps keep my body temperature down."
Most of the outdoor workers agreed Bangkok's hot season seems to be getting hotter every year.
Some workers said they believe the increasing number of high-rise buildings is making the city hotter as the glass panes and concrete trap the heat.
The Meteorological Department has projected the highest temperature of the year in Bangkok could hit 42C. That day is coming soon as April is typically the hottest month of the year.
The department said the average temperature in the hot season, from March to May, is 38-40C. It predicted the hottest day of the year will be April 27.
Pol Sen Sgt Maj Suthat Thongwichai, a traffic police officer from Huai Khwang station, said he keeps a bucket filled with ice, soda and energy drink nearby while he clears traffic. The energy boost pays off, he said.
"The faster I finish clearing the road, the faster I can take a break," Pol Sen Sgt Maj Suthat said, as he wiped sweat from his face.
Nopparat, a junk dealer, showed off a large jar filled with water at his makeshift shack in Huai Khwang district.
He said the easiest way to cool down is to dump the water over his head and body.
A 59-year-old street cleaner in Klong Toey district named Tim, said she drinks more water than usual while at work in hot season.
In her view, a bigger problem during the hot season is pollution caused by traffic.
She said street cleaners are at risk of various health problems, including skin cancer, heat stroke, and eye problems spent from too much time in the sun.
"Working in the hot weather and air pollution is tough, but I have no choice," she said. "I have a family to feed."
About the author
- Writer: Natchapon Jindanon & Phanida Wonganan