May 15th, 2004

krazy koati

Not a tale I distort

So walking up Orchard Road I saw a quite buff, bronzed man wearing only a loincloth standing still on a small square platform, arms spread out, with a long cable from off somewhere leading to his earphones, which were playing a weenie folk singer's cover of My Way loud enough to hear him from eight feet away. It's got to be art, but what did it mean?

Orchard Road -- which is the big central shopping district for Singaporeans and tourists alike -- was jammed with amusement park-like attractions today, everything from henna artwork to sketch artists ready to give you a picture of yourself as if Rowan Atkinson were portraying you. It's a tempting thing to see, really, but I'm awkward-looking enough that I don't need to heighten my natural resemblance to Mister Bean.

Speaking of which there is a yoghurt and drinks chain called Mister Bean around here. One advertising poster featured a minimally anthropomorphic bean with the slogan, ``Let Mister Bean Prepare A Delicious Drink For You,'' which would make any decent person recoil in horror. Perhaps that's why I haven't seen that poster in a few months.

In miscellaneous news there was a little earthquake this week, epicenter in Indonesia. It was the kind of petty thing Californians scoff at, and it was only felt (as typical for Indonesian earthquakes) in select regions of Singapore. One of those regions was the vicinity of the Nicoll Highway collapse from last month, causing understandable nerves among skyscraper residents.

Responding to general feelings that construction site safety isn't a priority the Land Transport Authority is offering a S$1,000,000 prize for winning workplace safety improvements. Some have protested the award should not be open only to construction contractors.

And I missed a parade of giant balloons that were gathered on some pretext or other. Sorry. I also missed last month's Qoo Kawaii Towne (Flash required for no good reason) at Cathay Cineleisure, although a ``Kawaii Qoo'' seems dangerously like overloading the power of the cute little Japanese beverage alien monster.

SBS Transit is reiterating the power outages that stopped the Bukit Panjang LRT for nearly five hours this week were a freak event and are not related to the string of mechanical and computer glitches which caused nearly fifty service outages on the automated light rail system from its opening up to 2002. This is a neat system; the rail takes it very close to some apartment complexes, and to guard resident privacy when it gets too close to a building the window nearest the apartment blanks out, turning a solid milky-white. It blinks out the moment the car has passed. I'd like to know how they do it.

And Starhub Cable today began a two-week preview of the new Playhouse Disney channel, which it promises will feature educational children's programming like Rolie Polie Olie and PB & J Otter, two shows which for some reason and against all sense my brain refuses to believe are separate programs. We'll see. It's also got creepy CGI animated Winnie the Pooh. If they add Toad Patrol and Darkwing Duck I'm sold.

Trivia: Had he not been grounded for medical problems Deke Slayton's Mercury capsule would have been named Delta-7, delta drawn from its mathematics and engineering interpretation of ``change in''. Source: Deke!: An Autobiography, Donald K. Slayton and Michael Cassutt.

Currently Reading: The Secret Armies, Albert Marrin.