Friday, 18 April 2008

Happy, Happy Talk & Terminal Velocity

The day started poorly.

At 4am an electrical symphony outside the window of our condominium jolted me awake, the claps of thunder doing justice to the 1812 overture. With the ever increasing frequency of lightening permeating between the gaps in our blinds it was virtually impossible to get back to sleep.

Those of you who have lived or travelled in the tropics will know that when there is an electrical storm it is usually an impressive and forceful display.

Having breakfasted a couple of hours later it was time to catch the MRT which, because of the weather, was slightly delayed in its schedule. The result being that there were more than the usual passengers queuing for a place at every station enroute.

I had the singular misfortune to be wedged between a door partition and a Chinese national worker who stank of stale whiskey from the previous night's socialising.

When one disembarks at Buena Vista station it is a short walk across an over bridge to the bus stop to catch the 95. Singaporean pedestrians move at a variety of paces in the morning and I have noted this in a previous commentary.

Today I got stuck behind the "Road Block", a woman of ample girth whose bovine turpitude meant that those behind such as I, had to slow to her pace. She did not of course choose to move to the side to let others past but hogged the centre line with the precision of a Malaysian taxi driver.

Needless to say, when we finally crossed the street nobody was in a jovial mood. At the point of exit stands a young man who thrusts out copies of the New Paper to those who wish to take a copy.

This paper has its uses but good journalism is not one of them. Most use it as an improvised fan to get air moving around their faces as they stand in the fetid shelter of the bus stop.

Today as I waited for the 95 bus I did something unusual - I opened the paper. The feature story? Another expose on the inadequacies of Heathrow Terminal 5.

This story has been playing in the press since the terminal's grand launch and I suspect the inference one it meant to get is how much better Changi's new terminal is to the prize botch up of the Brit's new transport terminus? However one such story on this subject would suffice.

At least the English can laugh at themselves and a song penned on this subject by two amateur musicians has made it to #5 in the local charts (see video below). And when you have watched the video you might also wish to try out the online game in which British Airway's CEO, Willie Walsh, attempts to move luggage on the Heathrow terminal belt.

Of more interest in today's rag is a story on the mercantile wonders of British engineering which suggests that had the Titianic used good quality rivets it may not have sunk so quickly.

The other main feature in the New Paper is the identification of Singapore's happiest man - a gentleman who won a competition to find such a stalwart.

Lord Bittleston of Newnham was reportedly one of the judges, although with respect to the gentleman concerned, his name means absolutely nothing to me. No doubt a minor aristocrat from the British Isles?

Mr. Goh, who is now officially Singapore's happiest man, can remove the smiley face stickers that have been adorning his fingers in every publicity shot and look forward to his prize - three days in the resort town of Phuket.

No wonder he's smiling.

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