July 16th, 2005

krazy koati

Carrying the banner through it all

And a happy 160th to The Straits Times. They set up a diorama in a mall on Orchard Road whose name I can never remember, but which has a Toys 'R' Us Express store in the sixth floor, which is different from a Toys 'R' Us by having the word 'Express' in its name. The diorama only has the front pages from the first edition and from the announcement of casinos being approved a few months ago, focusing instead on pictures. I'd rather they included more typical front pages since there's always something fascinating in the articles they don't think are interesting; for example, among the announcements on the original edition was a store selling ``ivory chess and backgammon men.'' Did backgammon sets used to have actual figures before they became the other side of the checkers board?

I got to see pictures of things I didn't know existed, like the Underground Ammunition Facility in Mandai, which is the sort of big cave for storing munitions you mostly see in dumb action movies. And there were many things now gone, such as the National Theater, opened 1963 and looking it, and torn down in 1986 for structural weaknesses. The Jurong Open Air Cinema was a western Singapore drive-in cinema; open from 1971 to 1985. The Great World Amusement Park was closed in 1978 and some time later torn down; the spot's now a mall, of course, including the Imax theater where I saw Apollo 13 by myself. A new amusement park is talked about as something that might go along with the Marina Bay development and casinos and such.

And then there were just little slice-of-life pictures, like one for National Day Parade tickets cutely titled ``Mind Your Peace and Queue'', or a picture of the hospitals along Sage Lane which was colloquially known as the ``Street for the dead.'' I'd not before heard about the early 80s incident in which a Dutch ship, the Eniwetok, carrying an elevated platform 69 meters tall, ran into the Sentosa Island cable car, which is only 60 meters above the water. And there was a picture of a group of something called ``guitar fish,'' which looked like cheery cartoon sharks in a singing trio. Interesting display.

Trivia: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins were notified they were assigned to Apollo 11 on 9 January 1969. Source: Deke!, Deke Slayton, Michael Cassutt.

Currently Reading: The Pencil, Henry Petroski.