Quirky news from Singapore: the mer-lion of Merlion Park has reopened. It'd been closed after taking a lightning strike the last day of February. Now, this isn't the Sentosa Island mer-lion, the ten-storey tall statue that's out in the open and has a nest of wires poking out of its head and shoots lasers from its eyes at night. Instead it's the maybe three-storey tall statue a little west of the southern end of the Singapore River, at the end of the business district with its many skyscrapers and not quite near the Port with its containerized cargo cranes, which up until the lightning strike sprayed a jet of water out of its mouth into the straits. (It's also not the smaller still mer-lion statue which I initially thought it was, which sprays a smaller stream of water and faces opposite the primary Merlion Park mer-lion.)
As far as the Tourism Board can tell this was the first time since the statue was inaugurated in 1972 that it was damaged by lightning, and they note that it was built as a sculpture and didn't have a lightning conductor. Well, it's an understandable oversight. They're working on ways to keep this from happening again. Still, as of the 18th it's back to its important work of spraying water and being photographed so I suppose the immediate situation is under control.
Trivia: Henry Morton Stanley, finder of David Livingstone, was born John Rowland. Source: Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power, Niall Ferguson.
Currently Reading: The Speckled Monster: A Historical Tale Of Battling The Smallpox Epidemic, Jennifer Lee Carrell. This is better than David Galerntner's 1939, in that while it presents scenes complete with dialogue and even personal thoughts at least, according to the endnotes, it keeps to stuff that the people involved actually wrote about around the time. It's still aggravating, particularly to find that a dramatically great encounter to climax the book, ah, well, there's not actually any documentary evidence to say whether or not it did happen. Don't you writers realize this sort of thing beats credibility to a small, gelatinous goo and makes the remarkable stuff harder to believe happen?