7 Totally Non-political Things To Do This Cooling-off Day
Top image: Jerome Quek / Shutterstock.com.

It’s Thursday, 9 July 2020. At the time of publication, the skies are cloudy, and the temperature is a pleasant 32 degrees. On this perfectly normal day, indistinguishable from the other 364 in the year, what better to do with your friends and family than some normal, friends-and-family-friendly activities? RICE suggests a few that we think would provide a welcome diversion from the stresses of everyday life.

1. Watch Parasite

Image credit: NEON, CJ Entertainment & Barunson E&A.
Parasite is a 2019 South Korean movie that won a lot of awards at the 92nd Academy Awards, so you already know it’s a good movie, because only movies that win awards are good. 

The movie is about a family, the Parks, who live in a beautiful house. The house even has a basement that doubles as a bomb shelter in case of war. All the characters are sensitively written. The mother is an attentive figure who hires tutors and art therapists for her children, while the father has a sharp sense of smell to protect his family from odours. 

It’s perfect to watch with your children because the movie teaches them the importance of hard work and the power of meritocracy. Anyone can buy a big house, like the one the Parks live in, as long as we study hard and devote ourselves to our work. 

2. Watch Avatar: The Last Airbender

Credit: Nickelodeon Animation Studio.
If your friends or children prefer cartoons to laugh-out-loud comedic dramas, Avatar: The Last Airbender is a good alternative. 

Do not be fooled by its cute visuals. Set in a world where the Fire Nation has to unite a fragmented world under its leadership, Avatar touches on heavy issues that will make adults think as well. 

For instance, in Ba Sing Se, the capital of the Earth Kingdom, official manage to maintain peace even as international relations were degrading, highlighting the importance of stability in a country. Or take the Fire Nation, where its schoolchildren are taught important Fire Nation Values at a young age in order to appreciate everything that the country has done for them.

The only part of the show that children should not watch is when Aang visits the Southern Air Temple because Aang eventually adopts a lemur from the show. Keeping monkeys around you is unhygienic. This scene might encourage children to feed the monkeys around Bukit Timah and that is unacceptable because the presence of more animals will lower property prices.

3. Read Cooling-Off Day by Alfian Sa’at

Credit: Ethos Books.
Even though theatres are still shut, we can recreate the magic of theatre at home by reading published playscripts. One of my favourites is Cooling-Off Day.

As the title suggests, the play Cooling-Off Day is about a group of friends who take part in all sorts of wacky shenanigans in their attempt to lower the temperature of Singapore. In the play, the thermometers have been hitting crazy highs of 40 degrees daily, and Singaporeans are driven to desperation. 

One victim of this climate change is Singapore’s beloved $1 ice cream sandwich, which melts the moment the ice cream uncle scoops it out from his fridge. This makes people wax lyrical about having “a hunger / That bread and butter / Will not satisfy”, perhaps because they just miss bread and ice cream so much.

But hope shows its face in the monologue of Mr. Tan, a 90-year-old retired chicken rice seller. Despite the rising sea levels, he thinks Singaporeans are strong and smart enough to get through this together, because we are one united people: “When the water is high / The boats will naturally float.” 

4. Create a Spotify playlist

If this long work week—Is it just me? Somehow this ordinary week feels interminable!—has drained you so much that you barely have energy to watch or read something, then you might find solace in creating a Spotify playlist. 

Dragging and dropping your favourite songs into a playlist gives you the illusion of creativity and productivity without the tedium of doing actual work. You can even invite your friends and family to add to your playlist to make this a truly democratic activity. 

Embedded above is a playlist of songs stuck in our heads recently. Curating it certainly beat writing another article about [redacted].

5. Take a weekday trip to Sentosa

Credit: Visun Khankasem / Shutterstock.com.
Now that there are no tourists coming into Singapore, crowds have disappeared from our attractions. So this is the perfect time to be a local tourist and see our nation in a whole new light. 

The best place to do this is, of course, Sentosa. Tempting as it is to visit Universal Studios Singapore or the S.E.A. Aquarium, which imprisons “more than 100000 marine animals of over 1000 species” in tightly packed lodgings for our viewing pleasure, I would suggest going off the beaten trail and searching for the Mystery Man of Sentosa. 

Who is the Mystery Man of Sentosa? Legend has it that, around 30 years ago, there was a man who loved Sentosa so much that he refused to leave the island. To avoid detection by the authorities, he hid in a one-room guardhouse, and even took up a job with Sentosa Development Corporation. 

Even though this man has reportedly left our shores, his devotion to Sentosa, and more broadly, the vision of Singapore, is an inspiration to all of us. The least we can do to uphold his legacy of patriotism is to spend a day in Singapore and enjoy ourselves at “Asia’s favourite playground … the state of fun”, as this man did, for close to a decade.

6. Make A Plan To Go To East Coast Park

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7. Have a race

There’s a reason why this activity is left to the last: it’s the most dangerous. “But how dangerous can a race be?” I hear you ask. Well, I reply paternalistically, feelings can get hurt in races. People can get hurt. Sometimes intentionally, even though evidence to prove intent can be sketchy.

Despite its dangers, everyone should try racing at least once, if not more often. If not how can we say we are really a multi-race society?

But please remember that the suggested activity is racing, not playing police-and-thief. The latter is a bad American activity that might teach children naughty words like like “carceral archipelago” that do not belong in a traditional Asian society.

What other fun activities are you taking part in today? Write to us at community@ricemedia.co.

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