February 12, 2008

In From the Cold Into the Cold

I swear to god it's colder inside this building than it is outside. WTF? Just had a conversation with some of the folks downstairs re: the purpose of shelter. The people who designed this building put together a very modern looking thing with a swooping roof and a lovely covered bridge that is reminiscent of traditional Chinese architecture. I was knocked out when I saw the place.

But now, it's 12.2 Celsius outside. I took my gloves off a few minutes ago so I could rant about how cold it is inside and now my fingers are almost numb. Why?

All the windows are open. Everywhere. Except in my classroom. There are windows on both ends of the hall, double doors on the first and second floor, windows in the stairwells, and along all the hallways. All of them. Wide. Assed. Open.

The locals complain about the cold all the time so I can't understand the reflexive opening of windows. When I come in in the morning, I close them in the office, and close the office door. If I step out of the room for thirty seconds, I return to find that the doors and windows are open again, even if the office is empty. I don't know how my office mates are doing this to me. Or why.

Can anyone explain to me the reasoning behind this practice?

Someone just tried to. She told me that Westerners are all used to the cold weather outside and that we go inside where it's nice and warm and that's what we're accustomed to. But in Taiwan, people are used to it being cold inside all the time, so it doesn't bother them. Because there's no heat. There's no heat, y'see, so they're inviting more cold in. And a mighty wind.

But it's hotter than hell in the summer. Aren't the Taiwanese used to hot weather? Why do they have air conditioning? Huh?

Someone back me up here. I'm not being ridiculous, am I?


Paul said...

Seeing as how Spring is springing, it seems necessary to update the post. The weather has been beautiful all week, and the windows in the teachers' room are firmly shut and the blinds have been pulled down. So much for the circulation of air theory.

Parker said...

Paul, having lived in TWN for 3 years in the early/mid 90s (94-96) ... and in Shanghai ...

The best explanation I ever got was from a great guy from Hubei province - "Yeno Deng". Yeno explained that 'heated air' had a ... well, in pinyin I believe it is very 'men'. His point was that the air smelled/felt "stale".

Luckily, I was the boss, and while I'm not completely insensitive, my desk was between the office & the window ... so - I moved my desk, and agreed to have the window open a bit.

Then I invited people to come into my office to 'freshen up' on the non-stale air.

Eventually, I moved the photocopier - which obviously was installed as to block the emergency exit - and the staff could open that door to their hearts content.