Strange Horizons: The giant spinning tops off Tampines Road

9 05 2013

What does look like two giant spinning tops from the bottom of a grassy slope along Tampines Road are actually two concrete inverted cone shaped storage tanks built to each hold 8448 cubic metres of NEWater – water recycled from waste treated to become drinking quality water. The elevated tanks which measure 43 metres in diameter at the top, make up the Tampines NEWater Service Reservoir maintained by the Public Utilities Board (PUB) provide storage for NEWater produced nearby for use by nearby electronic chip manufacturing factories which require very clean water.


So, it wasn’t the cat after all!

17 06 2010

So it wasn’t really the cat after all, or the dog for that matter. The PUB confirmed this in a statement issued late this afternoon. Quoting a Channel NewsAsia report, “in its statement the PUB said the drain’s capacity is adequate as it has handled previous rains of similar intensity”. In the statement, the PUB blamed the flooding on the build up of debris which were trapped in a culvert near Delfi Orchard. The culvert which diverts water from Nassim and Cuscaden Road into two sections of Stamford Canal, runs along Orchard Road. As a result of the heavy build-up of debris the rainwater from the heavy rainfall was diverted to only one the sections of the canal.

High and dry ... this cat certainly wasn't the culprit, nor the dogs that were said to have fallen with the cats!

The PUB did say in the statement that it would be increasing the frequency of maintenance and inspections of critical closed drains as a result. While this does help to prevent future repeat occurrences of Wednesday’s flood, it would certainly be more effective if we were to tackle the problem at its source. Walking around Singapore these days, there is certainly a lot of litter that can be seen strewn around: plastic cups, plastic bags, plastic bottles, styrofoam food containers etc. Many of these do eventually find their way into the drains and canals when it rains. The recent launch of the new anti-littering drive which was announced last week and the associated measures to curb littering now takes on a greater degree of importance. Let’s hope the recent flooding helps to bring the message to everyone that the consequences of littering can be a lot more far reaching than many of us would like to believe.

The heavy downpour caused debris to be trapped diverting water into only one of two sections of the canal. An open section of the canal is seen here behind Tanglin Shopping Centre.

Walking around Singapore these days, litter such as plastic cups, styrofoam containers, plastic bottles and bags, etc. can be found everywhere.

Much of the litter eventually ends up in the drains and canals, not just choking them, but also diverting them into our rivers and reservoirs.


8 05 2009

Nowhere else in the world is the New Year heralded with so much passion as in Scotland, so they say. Hogmanay, which the Scots celebrate on New Year’s eve, is celebrated as only the Scots know how, with beer and whisky, a rendering of Auld Lang Syne on the stroke of midnight, and a lot more whisky, so it seemed …

Port Charlotte, Islay

Port Charlotte, Islay

Three Singaporeans and two Englishman hardly sounds like exciting company, and it did seem so for five days or so – especially when large parts of the days were spent holed up in a tiny cold cottage set along the windswept shore of Port Charlotte on the isle of Islay. Visits to a round church in Bowmore, made so that there were no corners for the devil to hide in, a couple of distilleries, and a hail interrupted trek to catch a glimpse of winter geese in the west of the island with only the bags we were carrying to shelter us didn’t feel quite so exciting as well.

The Round Church at Bowmore, Islay

The Round Church at Bowmore, Islay

The highlight of the week we did spend in Port Charlotte might have been the Ceilidh, if not for what the experience the village’s pub was to provide on Hogmanay and into the wee hours of the New Year. Still with pint glasses from the beers we were drinking, the atmoshpere was to change on the stroke of midnight as the strains of Auld Lang Syne rung out. There was a buzz of excitement and through the smoke filled pub air, lo and behold, we could see what did seem like all the whisky bottles in the pub, laid out on a long table – left for all in the pub to indulge in. It wasn’t long before single malts were being downed by the pint, our glasses refilled almost magically the moment we did empty them (when no one was looking into a drain where we were seated by outside the pub). It was probably about 2 or so in the morning, when we noticed one of our mates had gone missing – we assumed he was sleeping in some dark corner of the pub and didn’t think much more of it. We did eventually find him when staggering back from the pub at dawn, we stumbled onto our missing mate, sprawled across the flowerbed outside the cottage. The temperature must have been close to zero, and how he did not show any hint of suffering from hypothermia after four hours out cold in the cold eluded us – it was perhaps his rather expensive fleece jacket that saved him, or maybe all those pints of whisky he must have downed!

Our adventures on Islay did not go unnoticed

Our adventures on Islay did not go unnoticed