By Toh Xun Qiang
Thanks to frequent heavy downpours last month, temperatures in Singapore dipped to a low 22 degree Celsius and flash floods plagued several locations on the island. A few students share with the Nanyang Chronicle their worst experiences of being caught in the rain, as well as their strategies to manage a rainy day.
What was originally meant to be a five-minute walk to class turned out to be an hour’s journey for 24-year-old Muhammad Irsyad — because he had forgotten to bring along an umbrella.
The third-year School of Humanities (SoH) student had arrived at Pioneer MRT Station that Thursday morning, and caught sight of a Campus Rider bus picking up NTU students and staff.
Realizing that he was early for class, Irsyad made the fateful decision to use the washroom before boarding the next Campus Rider that would bring him into school.
Though the sky was clear at that time, Irsyad was greeted by a heavy downpour the moment he stepped out of the washroom.
Despite boarding the shuttle bus soon after, he was unable to make his way to the classroom after alighting at the Tan Chin Tuan Lecture Theatre bus stop due to the intense rainfall.
“It was raining heavily and the wind was blowing the rain into the bus stop. The shelter was rather pointless and most of us had to stand all the way back, with our backs against the glass wall. Some even squeezed themselves into a small space behind the glass wall to hide from the rain,” he said.
Deciding against sharing an umbrella with someone else as it would have gotten both of them soaked, Irsyad waited at the bus stop until the rain subsided.
As a result, he arrived at his seminar close to an hour late, drenched.
On why he chose to still go for class, Irsyad said: “It was a four-hour seminar that was not recorded, and I had already done my preparation and read up on the class materials. I thought that I could score extra participation points instead of wasting my effort by going home.”
Today, Irsyad never leaves home without taking an umbrella with him. If he forgets, his next strategy would be to start making friends with umbrella-wielding strangers.
“The weather can just change at any moment and start pouring. The rain doesn’t always grow from a light drizzle to a downpour. It can turn into one in just an instant. You’ll never know when an umbrella can come in handy,” he said.
Waterproofing your shoes
Sneakerheads and non-sneakerheads alike can agree on the inconvenience of rain — it wets your footwear.
Goh Zhao Jie, 23, a third-year SoH student, recalled the horror of his sneakers being soaked in a sudden downpour.
Goh had been walking along the road from Ngee Ann City to 313@Somerset for dinner on a Saturday evening when it started raining.
As there was no shelter between the two malls, Goh found himself stranded.
Though he managed to keep himself dry with the help of a waterproof hoodie, he was unable to do the same for his Adidas NMD R2 Primeknit — they were worth a hefty $250 and shipped directly from Germany.
“I walked slowly because I didn’t want the rainwater collected along the road to get on my shoes, but it wasn’t effective because the people beside me were running and stomping into puddles of water,” Goh said.
“Also, I accidentally stepped into a pothole filled with water. My day was immediately ruined when the water soaked through my shoes and socks,” he added.
Though Goh admitted that water does not actually damage the sneakers, he prefers to keep them dry and clean.
Upon reaching home, Goh scrubbed his shoes thoroughly. He has also since invested in a water repellent spray which he now uses to keep his shoes dry whenever it rains.
Water repellent sprays act as a layer of protective coating and prevent shoes from absorbing water, allowing them to stay pristine even on rainy days.
“I treat my shoes well because I want them to last. If you’ve already spent hundreds on your shoes, you might as well a water repellent spray that’s less than $15 to set your mind at ease,” said Goh.
During her first week of internship, final-year Nanyang Business School student Wu Xin Yan was alighting at Buona Vista MRT station on her way to work when the rain started pouring.
“It was as though Singapore was hit by a typhoon,” said the 22-year-old.
“Everyone was stuck in The Star Vista because the rain and wind were too intense,” she added.
Not wanting to be late on her first week, Wu decided to brave the storm and dash across the road to her workplace, armed with only an umbrella.
As she was standing at the road divider flooded with ankle-deep water, Wu’s umbrella was suddenly turned inside out by the strong wind.
“I couldn’t flip my umbrella back because there were too many people stuck on the small platform,” she said.
To make things worse, as Wu tried to check the time using her phone, it dropped into the puddle of water.
She was subsequently unable to get her phone to boot up again after retrieving it.
“I was horrified. I couldn’t believe all this was happening to me,” she said.
By the time Wu arrived at her office, she was drenched from head to toe.
Though she was initially afraid of having to explain herself for being 10 minutes late, Wu said her boss was extremely sympathetic and offered her towels to dry herself, so that she would not catch a cold.
She also eventually managed to get her phone to work after blow-drying it with a hairdryer.
On hindsight, Wu said she should have found a sheltered path instead.
“Don’t be lazy and take shortcuts,” she said. “I would find the nearest overhead bridge or covered walkway to the office if it ever happens again.”