The Asean winter has hit the region with a vengeance sending temperatures plummeting to single digits in rural locations and the low teens in major cities.
While some people consider 15C (59F) the temperature at which thought is given to dispensing with winter woollies and breaking out t-shirts, to those used to nightly temperatures just last week in the mid 20s (25C/ 77F) the sudden winter change is devastating.
On the streets of Asean people have suddenly taken on Michelin Man (Bibendum) like appearances, piling additional layers of clothing on top of each other and then zipping the entire lot inside arctic-style down or synthetic insulated jackets and vests. The sort of thing more appropriate for wearing on the slopes of Mt Everest than on the streets of Bangkok, Hanoi, Phnom Penh, Vientiane, or Yangon.
Even long-term expats can be seen shuffling around their favourite haunts wearing hooded jackets and gloves in some places, while ‘fresh off the plane’ tourists find the weather remarkably mild.
What’s all this talk about how oppressively hot and muggy the weather is in (insert your favourite Asean city)? being the often heard question.
While Asean’s winter is relatively short compared to what countries in the northern and southern hemispheres experience, it can be especially brutal on the regions most vulnerable; the poor, the old, minority groups, and those who live in substandard accommodation supplied as part of their employment. Deaths have already been reported due to the sudden drop in temperatures.
In the cities the middle-class fare not much better. While hot and cold running water might be de rigueur in western bathrooms, most Asean bathrooms have just one choice. Cold water.
The sudden drop in temperatures brought with the Asean winter has therefore made the morning shower somewhat of a very awakening experience.
But don’t take our word for it. Sit back and enjoy the laughs as two Thai men show what it is like in the shower during the Asean winter without a trustee water heater.
Previously published as All decorum lost as Thais battle Asean Winter chill (video)
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