Sunday, January 08, 2006

Specialist Monkey

Is it my training or is it just me?

People always say that NUS general degree produces nothing but generalists who knows nothing. But why do "geographical" stuff keep jumping out and hitting me in the face? Maybe I simply aspire to be like Prof Wong who told us that if you want to be an expert in your field, you must be able to go out there and be able to assess the environment with one look and be able to sum up the problem. Of course he also said that his ability came with 30 years of field experience. Maybe I would like 30 years of field experience too. In fact, I was really impressed when I saw Prof Wong's Honors Thesis on the physical environment of Singapore in 1966(?). How incredible. I hope I would be able to go through most of the geog thesis ever written in the history of geography department.

Why do I bring this up?

Yesterday on our way to the hairdresser, when we drove by this slope near my Aunt's house, near the PIE exit, something suddenly caught my eye. A relatively large area of the slope had suffered from mass movement, if I'm not wrong, it's either a rotational slip or a slump. It looks exactly like the diagrams we see in textbooks all the time.

Slumps are supposed to be lubricated by groundwater seepage and this was precisely what occured if I'm not wrong. There was a spring gush of water coming out from the exposed slopeface. I suspected it was the effusive permeation due to the excessive rainfall but my parents think that it could be a water pipe leaking since we don't really have real groundwater flow in singapore (hah! so they think).

I can't verify until I go and take a picture of it soon, as soon as the rain stops of course. *cough* But thinking rain made me think of something totally different that happened around this time last year.

This time last year, we were having a dry spell or drought and even resulted in quite a bit of bush fire!

Looking back at last year's blog posts, Straits Times reported "256 bush fires in 40 days" on 13 February. Understandably, that is still a month away and this almost monsoon like wet season might be over. Still, this really smells like climatic imbalance to me, does it not?

Aftermath of Bush fire in february 2005

On one hand, we have floods and water pipes bursting in holland village with overflowing water every where but last year this time we were dryer than summertime chapparel grassland. Or maybe the fengshui experts will suggest an elemental imbalance. *snigger*

2006 Anthropogenic Flood at holland avenue
Photo courtesy of the otter.

Oftentimes, it is occassion like this where most of slope failures and disasters occur. People in temperate countries get plagued by the flu and in California, the rain (yes it rains in CA!) results not only in floods but massive landslides which killed many people (like La Conchita last year). Trains get stopped and tracks get washed off. Multiple car accidents happened as highways get too dangerous. Even in Singapore, as above, the landslides do occur too! Just pray that nothing gets worse than this.

The infinite rain looked as if the sky opened up and dumped the south china sea on us.

No comments: