Singapore bundles up as cool weather lingers

As a monsoon surge over the South China Sea continued to bring in cool air from the winter chill in the northern hemisphere, people in Singapore have been spotted staying warm by donning coats and scarves. Welfare organisations are also keeping a clo
As a monsoon surge over the South China Sea continued to bring in cool air from the winter chill in the northern hemisphere, people in Singapore have been spotted staying warm by donning coats and scarves. Welfare organisations are also keeping a closer eye on seniors who may suffer from health issues due to the cold weather.ST PHOTO: ALVIN HO

Temperature hits low of 21.4 deg C; groups helping seniors and others keep warm

The weather may be a little cooler, but acts of kindness by people here will warm your heart.

Some are giving out warm clothing and blankets to those who have to spend the night outside, while others are helping seniors who prefer not to leave home due to the weather with their grocery shopping.

Temperatures in Singapore hit a low of 21.4 deg C in Jurong West yesterday, as a monsoon surge over the South China Sea continued to bring in cool air from the winter chill in the northern hemisphere.

The winds and rain here have led some to break out their winter wear. Some people have already been spotted donning quilted winter vests and thick hoodies as they go about their daily tasks.

But even as many enjoy the uncharacteristic cool in tropical Singapore, some senior citizens are taking precautions by keeping their windows and doors shut, and avoiding showers.

Welfare organisations are lending a hand. Senior-care associates from Touch Community Services, for example, have been giving sponge baths to seniors who request one.

Mr Kavin Seow, senior director for the elderly group under Touch Community Services, said the organisation is also keeping closer tabs on senior citizens who may suffer from health issues due to the cool weather, and are unable to leave their home to buy groceries.

"These vulnerable seniors may need extra help during this period," he said. "Our staff have been advising our home-bound frail seniors during their home visits to keep themselves warm."

Restaurant owner Francis Ng, meanwhile, was distributing blankets to those sleeping on the streets last night.

 

"I am afraid they will be cold," said Mr Ng, 44. Last week, he chanced upon an old man shivering at a void deck in Chinatown. The sight moved him, and he bought a blanket for the man the next day.

"But as I walked around, I saw many old people sleeping on the streets, so I bought 10 more blankets for them. But it wasn't enough."

That was when he decided to buy 100 more blankets to distribute to the seniors there.

Mr Ng, who is doing the distribution alone, said he hopes to distribute the blankets over the next few days.

Meanwhile, volunteer group Homeless Hearts of Singapore told The Straits Times that one of its volunteers paid for a hostel stay for an old man who usually slept out on the streets. The group also plans to distribute warm clothing and ponchos at the weekend.

More people have been down with the common cold and flu too, with doctors reporting an uptick in the number of patients coming in with these symptoms. Dr Leong Hoe Nam, an infectious diseases physician at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, urged those feeling under the weather to wear a mask to prevent spreading the virus.

And for those looking to avoid catching a chill, Dr Michael Wong, family physician at Raffles Medical, said maintaining a healthy lifestyle, such as eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep, will help. Washing hands and disinfecting kitchen and bathroom countertops will also help minimise exposure to viruses.

Mount Elizabeth's Dr Leong agreed, saying: "These measures protect not only from influenza, but colds as well. And this is exactly what we do in hospitals to keep us safe."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2018, with the headline 'S'pore bundles up as cool weather lingers'. Print Edition | Subscribe