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Friday, December 2nd, 2005

Time Event
1:11a
It brings on many changes

So after a few false starts we finally made it down to the Tiger Balm Gardens. I was particularly looking forward to using my new wide-angle lens and polarizing filter on the many bizarre sculptures, built to show off various aspects of Chinese mythology and culture in the 1930s. So I got my camera, the filter, and the lens, and it will no doubt surprise everybody to learn that I forgot to bring the lens adaptor so I could actually use them. More, I somehow messed up setting my alarm clock when I intended to take a brief nap, so I didn't have time to process pictures from the large file size we take them at down to reasonable web sizes. I'm not sure when I'll have time to process them but undoubtedly I'll take it when I really ought to be working on something else instead.

On to the most urgent issue, though: What the heck is with the mountain of rats and rabbits at war? We went to the ticket-taker at the Ten Courts of Hell, where the rat-rabbit war is, and asked him; he pointed us to another guide, over by a gift stand. That guide said there was indeed a story behind that setting -- there's a story behind every setting -- although he didn't have so much information about that particular scene. The last private company to run the park had been interested in collecting entrance fees, but not on upkeep, which is why so many of the statues are chipped or faded and so many of the explanatory labels are missing.

And he didn't have so much explanation about the rat-rabbit war. It's a territorial war, though, apparently fighting over the mountain, but he explained the Singapore Tourism Board -- which took over the gardens (and is why they're free, besides the Courts of Hell and the Jade House) and is restoring them -- would be able to explain the context for it. You might well argue we knew that already from the rats and rabbits fighting over the mountain, but at least now we've got a lead.

Trivia: Willard F Libby tested the reliability of Carbon-14 dating of artifacts by testing a piece of wood from the tomb of the Pharoh Sesostris III, buried around 3800 years ago, and radioisotope-measured to be 3700 ± 400 years old. Source: Life Science Library: Time, Samuel A Goldsmit, Robert Claiborne.

Currently Reading: Explorers of the Infinite, Sam Moskowitz.

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