Nope, we are referring to the daily (for most) ritual of taking a bath, nor that act of lying down in the sun (or in a capsule under a tanning light) with the aim of getting a few shades darker. Both of which are important and honourable nonetheless.
The activity we love and live by, is that of "Forest Bathing". It is loosely defined as taking a leisurely stroll in nature while relaxing one's mind and body, engaging one's senses and connecting with the surrounding elements of nature.
While the term was coined in early 1980s, first as "Shinrin Yoku" (森林浴) in Japanese then translated into "Forest Bathing", the practice it describes probably dates back to the start of time really.
And hence, "Bathers" is an affectionate, inner circle term for us Forest Bathers, who partake in this afore-mentioned activity.
I am born and bred in Singapore, which is a city, a country and an island all at the same time. Apart from a couple of years based in Bangkok and another in London, I've spent most of my time in this tropical place, and hence proudly calls Singapore, Home.
Neatly put across by Florence Williams in her book, The Nature Fix, in a few notable resonating (to me) lines, the relationship between my Home, Singapore and nature is as such:
"Like an insecure diva, the city wants you to notice."
"It all sounded good, but like much in Singapore, the nature love was well packaged, ready-made for brochures and airport posters."
"Singapore just represents the extreme end of constructed nature."
"In Singapore, nature more or less looked like nature, but it didn't sound like nature. It didn't act like nature."
Please don't misunderstand, the author was very complimentary about Singapore's green efforts. At the same time, she was also being frank and candid about the lack of wilderness and depth in the nature we have here. While I am incredibly proud of my nation and our feat in building a beautiful Garden City now better known as City in Nature in parallel to massive intensive infrastructural and technological development, there is a part of me which can see where these stark statements stem from.
Its this idiosyncrasy of Singapore's "constructed nature", which part-inspires, part-challenges me to proclaim that we will be forest bathing right here in our backyard within this very setting.
Yes the odds may not be in our favour. But let me pave the way and show you how it can be done, and guide you through that very journey.