# Ringing in my ears

I had the vague idea while wandering around the relatively deserted Plaza Singapura to take notes of what was closed for Lunar New Year Eve, what was open, and what closed early. For example, Spotlight, a home goods/sewing/crafts store, was closed altogether; but the four video CD/DVD stores in the mall were all open. San used books was open, but Eclectic Attic -- a combination antique store and restaurant -- was closed. Times the bookstore was open; Hallmark cards was closing early.

But then things were disrupted by this announcement: Your attention please. The fire alarm has been activated in this building. We are investigating the situation. Please remain calm and stand by for further instructions. Thank you. The bit about ``please remain calm'' was unnecessary, since in the store I was the music was playing too loud to hear the announcement, when it began. I only heard it on the repetitions. Even the people who did hear it were calm, to the point of ignoring it, apart from vaguely drifting down. I think a few stores closed earlier than they planned for it.

In any case after about ten minutes the new announcement interrupted the regular repetitions of the warning: Your attention please. We have investigated the alarm. It has proven to be a false alarm. We apologise for the inconvenience. Please resume your business. Thank you. At this, a mall with a scattering of people went on as if nothing had happened at all.

The More Than Words store remained open through the crisis, so if you needed to buy a Betty Boop or Popeye novelty license plate, or -- we never know when this will be needed -- a plush frog holding a plush baby frog, you could despite the alarm concerns.

Trivia: Moritz Pasch discovered, in 1882, an oversight in Euclid's postulates of geometry. If a, b, c, and d are four points on a line, and it is given that b is between points a and c, and that point c is between points b and d, then point b must be between points a and d -- but this cannot be proven by Euclid alone. Source: The Mathematical Experience, Philip J Davis, Reuben Hersh.

Currently Reading: London: The Biography, Peter Ackroyd.

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