No less than the first prime of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew consider that the air conditioner is the most important innovation of the 20th century, at least for this country. During an interview over twenty years ago, when Singapore was in a far different place than it is now, this statesman even attributed the availability and existence of air conditioning units in the country’s overall economic growth.
For some people that might appear to be an exaggeration, but for Singaporeans who live through the country’s humidity levels, it is not surprising any longer. Singapore, after all, was once called “Air-conditioned Nation.”
Before the massive district cooling and Singapore’s downtown hectic scene, the country’s tropical weather definitely dictated the commerce of the country also. As many officials recall, all business transactions including selling and meetings were limited to the day’s cooler hours. That meant that by about 11 am everyone would go on break. That has carried Singapore for a very long time until an American brand of aircon entered Singapore during the 1950s. It was definitely the business sector that immediately fell for the promises offered by air conditioners. Shopping malls and fancy restaurants soon followed. The availability of aircon provided a hudge edge to all business establishments. As expected, everyone wanted to have access to aircon.
However, it is worth noting that it took some time before the airconditioning phenomena was joined by households. Aircon also had a significant influence on Singapore’s residential landscape. From wall-to-wall and high-rise living areas, balconies, open-air, and bungalows were springing up fast.
To this point in time, it is very safe to say that both the residential and commercial sector has caught up sufficiently with the aircon phenomena, and made Singapore the top user of aircon across the ASEAN.
In addition to the economics of air conditioners, this innovation has definitely brought a high comfort level for all users. It is now deeply ingrained in the lifestyle of Singaporeans that these overall benefits are frequently overlooked.
It has been shown that Aircon reduces the potential of asthma attacks due to reducing mildew, molds, and humidity. Of course, that needs to be combined with regular maintenance and cleaning of the air filters, since aircon can also be the home of various bacteria.
Interestingly enough, parasites and insects have a tendency to avoid airconditioned areas. Many pet owners have also observed that their dogs don’t have leas when they are in airconditioned areas. In a very humid country such as Singapore, those health benefits that are provided by air conditioners cannot be discounted. Remaining in a cool area is among the best way of preventing dehydration and heatstroke, particularly during the summer. Aside from that, air-con also helps to improve the quality of sleep, something that can make the extra cost of electricity worth it.
From being a very cost-effectivity, commodity, aircon’s role in the lives of the people of Singapore has evolved significantly to be a highly personal one. It is clear that Singapore is still an Airconditioned Nation, twenty years later.