「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら
「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら


Water talk

By Tan Ying Zhen


"May I have some water, please?"

If you eat out in Singapore, you may find yourself asking this question. Unlike in Japan, not every eatery automatically provides free water. You may have to ask for it, and sometimes pay for it too.

As the Restaurant Association of Singapore told the The Straits Times in 2015, around 1 in 10 eateries in Singapore charge for tap water. A glass of water typically costs between 30 and 80 Singaporean cents (¥25 to ¥66).

There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, there's the cost. A restaurant can spend SG$5,000 to SG$10,000 (¥411,300 to ¥822,600) every year serving free water. Restaurants also lose money from lost drinks sales, which can make up at least 20 percent of a restaurant's total earnings.

Some eateries are also mindful that wait staff may have to constantly refill glasses on top of their busy workload.

However, many eateries do understand customers' need for water. Some get around the manpower issue by providing jugs and glasses, and having customers pour their own water.

Some eateries go a step further by providing both warm and iced water. This is another difference between Singapore and Japan. Customers here often have the choice between warm and iced water, and there is a definite demand for both.

When I was younger, I would always opt for iced water over warm water, and iced coffee over hot. With age, I have grown to resemble my parents and older friends and relatives. No matter how hot it is, I tend to choose warm water or hot drinks.

My parents are happy with my change. I never used to believe them when they said that drinking cold beverages causes your blood vessels to shrink, thus hindering digestion. But over the years, as I have paid more attention to how my stomach feels after drinking cold beverages, I've come to realize I do feel better when I stay away from cold drinks. Even on sweltering hot days, I opt for room-temperature water.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find any solid scientific studies on the health benefits of drinking warm versus cold water. Some health websites claim that cold water is good for weight loss. Some say that warm water helps you to feel better when you have a stomachache.

For those who are used to drinking ice-cold water, the idea of warm water may seem strange. Perhaps it sounds as alien as drinking lukewarm Coke or hot beer. I never would have thought that I'd start enjoying warm water too. But perhaps, as with many other things, all it takes is a few tries to start warming up to, well, warm water.



The Japan Times ST: May 18, 2018

The Japan Times ST 読者アンケート




2018年6月29日号    試読・購読   デジタル版