Going on down at Ngee Ann City -- at least last time I checked -- was a Subaru endurance contest. The challenge, a repeat of last year's, is to stay standing up with your hand on a car, and outlast all the other contestants. The winner receives a fondled Subaru. (I don't know if there's one or multiple winners this year.)
On the surface a competition of standing in the sun and humidity all day, and the dark and humidity all night, trying to keep limbs from falling asleep may sound ridiculous. Deep down it is, too, although this year more women joined the group that, apparently, started at over 200 people. One of the hosts mentioned that none of the women had bowed out lately; only men had. I wandered by at a fortunate moment, just after one of the five-minute breaks people get every six hours. Someone was a few seconds late getting back from stretching and running to the bathroom, and thus we had the excitement both of getting back into position and of somebody getting disqualified, to the tune, of course, of ``Another One Bites The Dust.''
On stage behind the contestants was an LCD screen showing what I presume were SMS messages to the contest. Some messages were meant to rally exhausted spirits: ``Car 3 Keep It Up -- From Your Fallen Teammate''. Others were less inspirational: ``HAHAHAHAHA''. One probably meant to be inspirational but kind of menacing went: ``Guys You Are Great And You Can Be Greater,'' like they weren't standing and touching the Subarus enough? And another person, apparently with no limits on SMS service, wrote ``1ST U R lucky to win the call thru [ I guess the first round of screening ] and then picking the lucky ping pong ball [ I guess another round of screening ] ...'' It went on quite some while, based on the theme that everybody there was doing a great job and even if they didn't win the car they were winners. I learned watching the evening news that one person had to give up when he started hallucinating wood growing out of his fingernails. Someone else was taken away to hospital.
I don't know whether the winner gets the rather expensive Certificate of Entitlement (required to own a car in Singapore, with a fee typically hovering around S$10,000 for ten years) paid for. Last year's winner held on for about 74 hours.
Trivia: Mercury's transiting the Sun was first observed in November 1631. Source: Measuring the Universe, Kitty Ferguson.
Currently Reading: Quiz Craze: America's Infatuation with Game Shows, Thomas A DeLong.