Lament of the electric fan

This weather — it’s one of those recurring topics that I’ll bring up every so often, usually in the form of a complaint. Not that I actively go around campaigning against humidity, proclaiming how it corrupts the soul of children and that it’s the catalyst to human extinction (though at times I do feel like doing just that); it’s the fact that there are moments where you just can’t ignore the oppressive heat, and those moments are plenty.

It’s like stepping out of the house and getting slapped in the face before ending up wrapped in a raincoat and left to sit in a sauna. Being in an air-conditioned room is like being in the eye of the hurricane, whereby to leave the sanctity of its protection is to face impending doom. I’m obviously exaggerating wildly yet again, but such is the nature of Singapore’s weather to drive a man to such extremes. (It’s probably just me being borderline crazy though.)

While the cat languidly naps on the cool, tiled floor, let me bring to light an unsung hero. Our island nation has many such individuals — and I say so with absolute sincerity — but there is one that truly goes unnoticed yet always performs to the best of its ability. We sometimes even neglect it completely, only acknowledging its existence in its absence.

And because I gave it away by putting it in the bloody title, complete with a sexy header image, I’ll just provide confirmation: yes, I’m talking about the humble electric fan.

For decades has this loyal companion guarded both our households and outdoor haunts, serving til death do they part. Oh how far they’ve travelled along the evolutionary path! We now have a breed of fans that don’t even require blades to work — it’s like the hovercar of the air circulation industry! (I think.)

Imagine for a moment, had nobody stood near a propellor plane and concluded that every family needed one; if these house-rotors didn’t suffer from an assembly error and actually worked as intended; if electricity was branded the work of the devil by the Inquisition. The modern-day individual would be forced to exert himself in the act of fanning — albeit with a hand fan made of carbon-fibre or whatever material passes for attractive these days — only to hasten his expulsion of oily sweat.

Life without the electric fan would be no life at all, unless life happened to mostly take place in natural climates that have the decency to have all four seasons. So for this Hari Raya Haji, why don’t you spare a thought for your selfless, spinny, breeze machine and give it a little cleaning? Wash the blades and grills. Oil the parts. (Maybe let those dry before you turn it back on.) Let your fan know that it’s appreciated, if not everyday then at least this day.

Now, to plan the dust particle genocide…

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