The island of Penang lies practically on the Equator. The average daily temperature is 30 degrees, and the place is so humid that one could well use a pair of gills to breathe with. Such a climate, naturally, shapes the relationship between the people and the environment. In Europe the climate is generally so cold and dry that it forces the people to become insular, to huddle into thick warm clothes, to do everything to protect themselves from the elements – in short, the climatic conditions create a gulf between the people and the environment.
In the tropics it is an entirely different story: the heat and, above all, the humidity that prevail throughout the year in the equatorial belt, forge a sturdy physical bond between the people and their environment. The sweat on one’s face, the moisture in the air, the raindrops on the palm leaves, the spray of exhaust fumes from automobiles passing by, and the beer in the glass in front of one’s eyes seem to exist almost in contradiction of or in exchange for one another. The world remains stuck to us, will melt with us, will dissolve us in itsef – or will rip something out of us.
First Publication: 14-2-2012