austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

In a hurry it's a sad situation

One of the Singapore Discovery Center exhibits is a cylindrical room with a metal floor and screens all around. The video starts with the caption, ``Could This Happen Here?'', and shows people going about their morning routines and getting on the bus and MRT line, which would seem to happen almost daily. But then there's glimpses of darkly dressed, nervous-looking young men clutching black sports bags under their MRT seats, and as the train pulls in to Raffles Place Interchange there's a flash of light and the floor the audience stands on shudders -- like an amusement park theater ride. It carries on in the aftermath of a simulated bombing, and the video asks, ``Would You Let This Happen?'' Assuming you don't, the next exhibit outside that offers one way to avoid it: Dance. (It's a presentation -- with Chroma-Key effects for willing dancers -- on different dance styles of major ethnic groups in Singapore.)

This came to mind today as I waited for the MRT and noticed the ``Next Train'' board stopped its routine announcements, instead showing a little train icon X'ed out and the announcement: ``DISRUPTION -- No Train Service From WOODLANDS SEMBAWANG''. These are on the North-South line -- near the northernmost points of it, in fact -- and I was on the East-West, but it's still an announcement I've never seen before. My guess was a power failure, or a train stuck on the tracks, or something like that, although the Woodlands and Sembawang stations aren't consecutive.

But I kept on, as I was going downtown with my camera and tripod to see if I could get pictures of me around any noticeable Singaporean icons, since one of my brothers has e-mailed several times that he has no photographic evidence that I've been here, and he'd like to show off me in some suitably tourist-oriented setting. Since I wanted to get to Merlion park and the Singapore River, that made my logical destination Raffles Place Interchange. When I got off there there was a new Disruption notice, this one warning there was no service from Woodlands and Sembawang towards Marina Bay (the southern end of the North-South line, and one station past Raffles Place on that line), and there was an announcement that due to an incident there would be a delay of at least fifteen minutes in that direction. I thought it over and hurried out.

Whatever the problem was, it didn't make the 9:30 news, and I didn't see it on the Channel NewsAsia web site, so it can't have been as urgent as the snowstorm in the US or the start of sales of Wii systems in Japan.

Trivia: Sweden began holding regular modern censuses in 1749. Source: Maps and Civilization, Norman JW Thrower.

Currently Reading: Hoover Dam: An American Adventure, Joseph E Stevens.


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