As an Overseas Singaporean living in an ever changing world and so is my extended family. Recently a Swiss has been added beside the Malaysian, Australian, American, Indonesian, Thai and English as relatives; they are mainly related to me through their marriages into my extended family. I often bear the blunt of a joke of being from a "fine" country at family gatherings. I know that we Singaporeans get fined for everything, but do you know that there are three states in Australia - NSW, Queensland and Western Australia restrict putting washing on a balcony to dry. For once, I laugh last. We are not the only fine country to have silly fines, after all.
An article's headline in this morning weekend papers said that the NSW state government is proceeding with environment-friendly strata regulations to allow residents to hang their washing outside. The article stated that the Department of Fair Trading in NSW has proposed a change to strata by-law which prohibit washing from being hung on anything except designed clotheslines without the permission of the owners corporation - a measure many believe has contributed to high use of greenhouse gas producing clothes dryer. Equally interesting is that if approved next month , the proposal will allow apartment residents to dry their washing on the balconies, provided it is "not visible from the street". The new laws allow an occupier to hang washing that will be visible from street level only with written permission approval of the owners' corporation.
Trying to balance environmental concerns with fears the aesthetics of a building would be diminished by laundry hanging outside with a culture that sees it as messy or a blemish on the landscape would be tough act to follow. Surely that kind of culture needs to be transformed.
I grew up in a terrace house in Singapore. My mother washed our clothes by hand with the help of a washing board and hung them out to dry on bamboo poles in the inner courtyard or the backlane (aw bouy hung). I never really saw a dryer until I was in my mid twenties when I came to Brisbane. We have a ten year old dryer which looks as new as it came off its packaging. It is right there in our renovated laundry room and very convenient to use. Now even we are in mid winter, we hate to say that we use our clothes dryer far less often than we should. Still, my past forces me to examine my rationalizations for using our dryer. Didn't my mother hand washed our clothes and hang the laundry out everything in the open to dry. She didn't even have the luxury of a washing machine.She didn't use softener for the final rinse but starch instead. And, as a kid, I thought the greatest thing was to watch the clothes came in baked stiff from the hot tropical sun that our school uniforms would stand up by themselves. And on those rainy days, the laundry hung in the bathroom and kitchen to drip dry but not without a stern warning from mother that we were to wear our school uniform for a week if we continued to play in the puddles in the unsealed lorongs (lanes) to and from school. Sorry for the side track and mumbling but burning coals in the power house to run a dryer while the sun is shining just doesn't make sense. Here is my 5 cents worth:
1 Cent. Clothes last longer.
2 Cent. Clothes and sheets smell fresher
3 Cent. Save energy, thus preventing pollution.
4 Cent. Save money.
5 Cent. You get some exercise and fresh air outside.