April 21st, 2004

krazy koati

The road that leads to you

Further updates on the Nicoll Highway collapse: the three missing are still missing. In one remarkable stroke of luck most of the workers who would have been underground were taking a tea break, and so missed the collapse and the Kallang river rushing in. And one contractor's employees were sent home five hours before because the manager on-site had a bad feeling about some noises he heard. Land Transport Authority officials are rather sure the explosion happened when gas pipelines were shattered by the collapse, and did not cause the collapse.

For now the understanding of what happened was a temporary wall to hold back sea water for Circle Line MRT digging gave way, letting dirt and then sea water in. Why that happened is unknown, but the interesting trivia point that the Nicoll Highway was the first highway in Singapore built entirely on reclaimed land does raise eyebrows. (It's several decades old. Singapore reclaims land like a SimCity 2000 player who used the double FUND trick, to the point Malaysia's suing over it.)

Meanwhile in west Singapore I finished grading Tuesday's final exams. I'd enter the grades except the blue books are designed that students can only enter their ID numbers, not their names, on the covers, unless they disregard the lines. Fine, right? No, because I've never had a roster listing students and student IDs. I can get lists of either, separately, but not together. There's an online gradebook I could almost use, to enter assignments by name or by number, but it does not, for whatever reason, let one calculate the course grade based on the entered numbers. I don't know who designed a system that lets one enter all one's grades and then not get a course average out again, and I would like to slap him silly. I have until Saturday to deduce whose exam is which for this class; till Monday for the exam I give tomorrow.

Trivia: 19th century Javanese court poet Raden Nganahi Ranggawarsita, assigned the task of writing a history of all time, composed three pages a day for thirty years, producing a book at least six million words long. Source: Krakatoa: The Day The World Exploded, Simon Winchester.

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