July 14th, 2004

krazy koati

We'll meet again

A bomb left over from World War II was harmlessly exploded at a construction site near the East Coast Parkway on Monday. The eyebrow-raising part is the bomb was uncovered Sunday; nobody notified the police or armed forces for a day. Why? Since it was found on a Sunday, there weren't any managers around, and nobody was quite sure what to do about the unexploded shell, so the workers waited until Monday morning. I appreciate the desire in unusual situations to defer to the chain of command, but come on, guys, you're failing your initiative rolls here.

The jaw-dropping thing is some of the workers tried picking up the bomb; one said it felt like it massed about 80 kilograms. Granted Singapore has a looser attitude than North America when it comes to public and workplace safety -- for example, they leave largely uncovered the Monsoon Ditches, deep, steep-angled concrete channels to carry away heavy rainfall -- but come on. ``Don't touch a known or suspected bomb'' is kind of up there with ``don't wrestle porcupines'' and ``if you live in Gotham City don't learn Batman's secret identity'' as life-and-limb-saving pieces of advice you should only need to hear once, if you don't figure them out on your own.

Trivia: A first-class transcontinental railroad ticket from New York to San Francisco in summer 1869 cost US$150.00. In June 1870 it was US$136.00. Source: Nothing Like It In The World: The Men Who Built The Transcontinental Railroad 1863-1869, Stephen E. Ambrose.

Currently Reading: Louis Pasteur, Patrice Debré. It's a huge book, yes, and intensely detailed, but where else are you going to hear how the Franco-Prussian War affected Carlsberg beer?