Monday, May 28, 2012

Camping in Singapore

Singapore has a surprising amount of open space/parks, but it's basically densely populated  and urban. "Getting out into nature" is not something that most people do (one reason 90% of Singapore's youth require glasses: lack of exposure to natural light in youth causes myopia).

B and I really like nature and hiking, so we've been to most of Singapore's parks; they are usually mostly empty, and when people are present, they are often (white) foreigners. This may be because white people love the outdoors, or just because Singaporean natives are too smart to trudge around outside in 80+ degree weather with 100% humidity when there are lots of perfectly good air conditioned malls.

A few people do want to experience the great outdoors, so they go camping. The park across the street from our house has a campground, pictured here. It's strange because it's about 50 feet from bathrooms and a large McDonald's, and a short walk from a major highway. Yet every weekend, people are there in their tents, experiencing the fun of 'roughing it', Singapore style.


  1. Too much near work (e.g.reading) causes myopia, not lack of sunlight. Sunlight causes cataracts, pinguecula, wrinkles, skin pigmentation and skin cancer.

    1. Both contribute. Here's a reader friendly write up on the subject:

    2. I am an optometrist who has been practicing for 12 years. This 'study' only looked at the effect sunlight has on chicks and monkeys, not humans. There are no other studies supporting this theory. Excessive sunlight is very damaging to the eyes. If you are outdoors for more than 15 min at a time, you need to be wearing sunglasses. That goes for children/babies as well. I see sun damaged eyes every single day, in adults and children. Even if this sunlight theory proves to be true (after many more repeatable, reliable, scientific studies), in my opinion, having myopia is better than having the whole host of problems associated with sun damage.

    3. I know that sunlight is really bad for you (including your eyes): actually I've been told to wear sunglasses whenever possible to prevent sun damage (apparently I have unusually large pupils: I didn't know this was even a thing). I probably should have mentioned that in the post but thought it went without saying. The perils of brevity I guess!

      But I don't see that this is a contraindication against playing outside. Kids should wear sunscreen and sunglasses and hats, yes, but I think exposure to natural light is very important (and find the research on its effects on vision pretty compelling). It makes me sad that so few children here ever get to enjoy the outdoors, not just for vision reasons but for all the other benefits it brings.

      Thanks for the reminder that I should be more consistent in sun protecting little R!