Winter Solstice


It's the winter solstice today, and most businesses close early to allow families to gather for the traditional family dinner.

Of course, one of the "highlights" of going to your relatives flats at this time is a chance to observe how the southern Chinese deal with cold weather.

Now, us Northern Europeans, we'll close the flat to the outside elements and maybe put a heater on. Heat is, to us, something precious, and we love to have it. As far as I'm concerned, my home should be warm and welcoming in the winter time. I want to be able to go home and take off my layers of fleece and wool.

For the southern Chinese, it's quite different. No one heats their house. Therefore, everyone dresses as warmly as possible and therefore noone's house needs to be heated. So, even if your house is heated, you need to open all the windows because everyone is dressed as if all houses were freezers. Ergo, actually having a nice warm house is a waste of money because all of your Chinese relatives will complain about how your house is too stuffy because they've all turned up wearing arctic survival gear.

so in Hong Kong, almost nowhere is insulated. Almost all flats are single block outside wall, or equivalent. If you can imagine a garage in Ireland, with no cavity walling or insulation you'll get the idea. When it's cold outside, it's cold inside. While it only gets down to 10 °C here, it feels much colder.

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This page contains a single entry by dave published on December 22, 2005 6:16 PM.

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