Sunday, 24 February 2008

Heroism & Hazy Recollections

My 'day job' is at the National University of Singapore, more specifically working in their Alumni Office.

All of us are looking forward to the May move into our new premises - a purpose built home for returning alumni.

Regrettably though, two days ago on the afternoon of February 22nd, a large 60 metre crane working on the site suffered what was apparently structural failure and crashed to the ground killing three workers. Media reports today have identified the crane driver, a Mr Mohamad Homsen Kassan, as a hero.

He apparently stayed in his cab after shouting a warning and attempted to steer the boom of his crane away from the nearby student bus stop and Business building. By remaining in his cabin he was crushed and was killed in the accident. A brave man!

Visitors and locals alike will be very aware of the hundreds of cranes dotting the Singaporean skyline at the moment as there are a plethora of major projects underway. It is perhaps therefore not surprising that from time to time a crane should malfunction. Apparently though, nobody in recent memory can recall such a catastrophic collapse of a large crane.

Today is Sunday and the haze from the burn-offs in Sumatra are back, although not yet at the lung-clutching levels of late 2006 which we experienced shortly after we arrived in Singapore. It remains to be seen if the prevalent monsoon winds will blow this debris away or towards the country. Either way, Indonesia has once again demonstrated a complete disregard for it its neighbours despite previous assurance that they would crack down on errant plantation owners and small holders.

When you burn off land that amounts to the size of 2,000 football fields no wonder there is a problem.

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