September 18th, 2006

krazy koati

Got as far as the door

I thought visit Suntec City and see if the International Monetary Fund/World Bank security had made the mall portion as deserted as the news said. There were signs of security out to the City Hall MRT, mostly groups of police or security, some directing traffic. Around Suntec are chain-link fences blocking the nearer half of roads, concrete barricades on intersecting roads, and a few police by the overpass from CityLink to Suntec with the warning sign: ``Pedestrians Use Overpass To Suntec; Show IMF/World Bank Passes For Bridge.''

By the overpass they meant a different pedestrian overpass. The signs lead past a hotel where pedestrians were stopped to let the special bus service and cars with World Bank license plates out of a hotel to Marina Center mall/hotel, from which it turns out there is an overpass, which can be used to get into ... not Suntec City, but into Millenium (sic) Walk, another mall which connects by underground walkway to Suntec. This doesn't sound far, but Singapore likes to defy rectilinear street layouts, in the hope that odd angles will make the city feel larger. It all meant I lost my orientation. Before I could figure it out and continue, a security guy came over and asked where I'd like to go; I said, ``Millennium (sic) Walk ... which I just stepped out of, didn't I?'' I had, but he knew an entrance closer to the mall's spine, so it was an improvement.

Suntec was not a ghost town, relatively. It was lightly populated, the kind of crowd of the middle of a workday, rather than Sunday afternoon. A few stores hadn't bothered opening or closed early. Inside were groups of police and Civil Defence forces wandering around. Three police I saw gathered outside a toy store, admiring the Hidamari No Tomi toys. These are cute hypnotic solar-powered toys, of big-headed entities in idyllic settings, who bob their heads, and that's all. They're irresistible.

I thought I'd get back by skipping the underground-and-mall routes, but found security stations or gates at most of the streets I saw. In addition, by one stairway up to the ground level was a fair-sized canvas tent. A policeman poked just his head of out. He watched me a while, not showing any more of his body, nor ducking his head back in, as I found that street blocked off, and he followed me as I walked back, and found the other way no good either. He went back in when I started going back down the stairs. I don't know why, but I felt like the studio audience should have been laughing.

Trivia: Of Vanguard III's 4,200 magnetometer readings, some 2,872 were designated as ``prime data'', of being the highest quality and most free of time errors. Source: Vanguard: A History, Constance McLaughlin Green, Milton Lomask. NASA SP-4202.

Currently Reading: Planets of Adventure, Murray Leinster.