April 20th, 2004

krazy koati

Take the train to the plane

I was scared the evening of 28 June 1983. I know because that was the day a bridge over the Mianus River in Connecticut collapsed. It's no Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse, but the notion that bridges might just fall apart, for no apparent reason, hit hard at my faith that things were built to work. The collapse was because of a design oversight, metal pins holding sections of the bridge together rusting, undetected.

Today, an explosion at the construction site for the Nicoll Highway MRT Station killed one worker. Three are missing. Three were injured but were released from hospital. Five lanes of the highway were damaged, and the region looks like a small meteor hit. It's not believed to be sabotage, simply an accident, the first one like that which Singapore has had in its subway construction projects. It's still scary.

Still, I can't help turning to the logistic problem. The highway collapse closes both that road and the Merdeka bridge across the Kallang River, a major artery into the main city. There's not very good alternative routes. MRT construction is thrown off as well. I feel a little sick that part of my mind is interested in how to carry on regardless.

In the final exam today -- and I'll write about that later, no doubt -- I noticed something odd. Every student received two blank blue books. Every student turned in at least one, often two books tied together. No student asked for an extra blank book. Yet more than one student returned two blank books. How? The only guess I can make is students hoarding blanks from earlier exams and turning them in today. But why return a book taken just in case it might be needed? It's not as though the university is in danger of running out. Clearly, blue books breed themselves.

Trivia: Some Maginot Line fortresses ended the Battle of France with more ammunition and supplies than they had when the battle began. Source: The Maginot Line: Myth and Reality, Anthony Kemp.

Currently Reading: Military Errors of World War II, Kenneth Macksey.