10 survival skills every millennial needs to know
Life hacks 101
In a world where we type faster than we write and snap photos with a phone, there's bound to be a disconnect from the basic lifelong skills our parents' and grandparents' generation relied heavily on. We've decided enough is enough, so here's a guide that will equip you with a few tips and tricks you should have figured out... well, at least over a decade ago. It's now your turn to shine.
1. How to change a car tyre
You mean we can't call roadside assistance? Probably not during a zombie apocalypse. The good folk over at VW Singapore (aka our lifesavers) have put together a 16-step guide on how to go about switching up those tyres on your trusty ride. It's a little complex without audio-visuals, so we suggest you watch this video and take notes.
2. How to shoot film
What would we do if our iPhones dropped in hot soup and died a sad death while we were on holiday? Massive FML moment. It's time to whip out Dad's classic film Leica and actually use it. The problem is, this relic from the 1900s has no light meter (light meters are built into all modern cameras to ensure the right exposure), so how are you going to dial in that correct exposure, let alone snap that perfect shot of you waltzing in front of the Eiffel Tower?
"Try the Sunny 16 Rule, which is a set of five apertures that once memorised, will help you lock in the right settings for a well-balanced exposure," says Sayher Heffernan, photographer. All you have to do is remember this: A sunny day equates f/16, a slightly overcast day f/11, an overcast day f/8, a heavy overcast day f/5.6 and in shaded areas or at sunset, f/4. Sounds like a mouthful, but it's pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it. Once that's set, shutter speed is then determined based on the reciprocal value of your film's ISO. For example, if your film is ISO 400, shutter speed would be 1/400; if your film is ISO 200, shutter speed would be 1/200. Heffernan's film of choice? The Ilford HP5 Plus (ISO 400), as it's versatile in most lighting conditions.
3. How to paint a wall
These days, off-white walls just don't cut it. Even our paint names have become too bizarre for our liking — like "Whispering Peach" or "Likable Sand". Before getting your hands dirty with a fresh tub of "Obstinate Orange", put on some cute coveralls because paint stains are tricky to remove. Dulux recommends scrubbing your walls with sugar soap, as a clean wall is your best insurance against a ruined paint job. Next, load your roller and push it forward on the tray to see if it spins evenly. Once that's good, start rolling it across the wall. A rookie's paint job usually results in unsightly brush strokes, which is what you don't want. Then place your unloaded roller at the top corner of the wall, and with almost zero pressure, roll straight down until you reach the bottom. Do this repeatedly while slightly overlapping from where you first started.
4. How to change a light bulb
Before you go ahead and fry yourself, make sure the power is turned off. The safest way to go about doing this is to flip the main lever to "off" in the power box. Allow the bulb to cool before taking it out of the socket. Insert a replacement bulb, and keep twisting clockwise until it is firmly in its place. Now's your voilà moment — turn the power back on again and switch on the light. Our final words of caution? Light bulbs are very sharp, fragile items, so wrap the fused bulb in layers of newspaper or the packaging from the new bulb before disposing.
5. How to start a fire
Camping with your homies out in the woods can be a pretty exhilirating experience until everyone 'fesses up that it's their first time. Then, everyone looks at each other in horror and thinks the same thing, "Who's going to get a warm, toasty fire started?" (We concur, this scenario is likely not to happen in Singapore.)
Here's how according to Bear Grylls, resident male of the jungle: First, gather some wood or charcoal — small pieces recommended — and start lighting them up with matches. As more heat is formed, carefully place larger pieces of wood into the flame. But be sure that you're not packing them too tightly as this will stop the flow of oxygen. His golden nugget of advice? "Look after a fire when it's small, and it will look after you when it's big."
6. How to poach an egg
You've been there — that mortifying moment when you're having an Emma Watson lookalike over on a first date, you've got Nigella Lawson's red velvet pancakes going, and it all comes to a grinding halt because you've messed up one of the steps from the recipe. Plan B: Eggs Benedict to the rescue. In our opinion, poaching an egg is one of life's greatest skills, as it sits well with any meal.
Here's a failsafe method, as shared by Christopher James Phillips, culinary operations director at PS. Café: Choose a wide, thick-bottomed pan and half-fill it with water. Break an egg (make sure it's room temperature) into a separate small bowl. Add a glug of white wine vinegar to the water, approximately 50ml for every 1 litre, and bring to a light simmer over medium heat. Swirl the gently boiling water to create a circular motion in the pan, and pour the egg into the centre. Cook for about three minutes, before taking out the egg with a slotted spoon and allow it to stand on kitchen paper to remove any excess water before serving.
7. How to read a compass
Before vetoing this, we'll say this once again — Google Maps has crashed on us before, especially in built-up cities like New York or Sydney where pedestrians can't seem to get any sort of 3G connection. Guess what? The ancient, trusty compass works everywhere. Start off with finding your bearings by moving the compass until the travel arrow is pointing in the same direction you've been travelling. Then twist the degree dial until the orienting arrow lines up with the north end of the magnetic needle. To continue moving in your desired direction, hold the compass in the palm of your hand and turn your body till the north end of the magnetic needle aligns with the orienting needle. Just to be safe, place your compass on a physical map so that the orienting arrow is pointing to true North on the map. You're almost good to go — finally, draw a line along the compass edge and with your current position, maintain the same bearing as per the line you drew on the map. All that's left is to follow through and keep going. If that doesn't work (because you're geographically-challenged), just be that overly friendly person and ask for directions.
8. How to read a map
"The key to reading a map is understanding how it represents data. Before beginning your journey, decipher your starting point, route and destination," says Freya Gazder, assistant concierge manager at Mandarin Oriental Singapore. Knowing which way points North, East, South and West is imperative. Most maps are drawn with North at the top. If you don't have a compass, think up a mnemonic that you can remember — for us, it's "Naughty Elephant Shoots Water". After which, look at the scale of the map which is located on the side or bottom. It will look something like 1:100,000, which notes that 1 unit on the map is equivalent to 100,000 units in reality. Once you've worked out your route, which direction you're headed, and the approximate distance, you're ready to go.
9. How to tie a dead knot
When it comes to knots, the only one you're familiar with is probably the butterfly — perfect for shoelaces. But here's one you actually need to know to save your life, if you ever find yourself in Spiderman situations as you scale down a building. You never know, s**t happens. With a thick sturdy rope, decipher where the anchored end (at the top) and the tail end (at the bottom) should be. Using the tail, make a loop over the rope. Then with that, go under the anchored end. While still holding on to the tail, go through the first loop. And to finish off, pull the both ends as tight as you can and it's as dead as it gets.
10. How to fix a burst water pipe
Don't fret — it's not a Noah's Ark situation. Turn off the water from the main valve and fish out your extra-long garden hose and two hose clamps (which we recommend you get from Home-Fix beforehand). Measure the crack and cut the hose about 10 inches longer than needed to cover the broken area. With the clamps, hold the hose portion over the damage and compress it as tight as it will go. After which, put it to the test by turning the water back on. If that fails, please call the plumber.