Update: Further clarification from my editor reveals that it was the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources that raised their objections to the column to MICA, who then conveyed the feedback to Singtel.
The column I wrote entitled "mrbrown and the flood" was removed from the Insing site because
Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA) the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) took issue with it and asked for it to be taken down.
From what I understand,
MICA's MEWR's issue (via MICA) with the column was that it criticized a minister and a ministry.
I am now posting it on my blog in its entirety for you to enjoy:
mrbrown and the flood (Warning: contains satire and jokes)
I think we need to appoint a Minister of Freak Incidents soon.
After all, who is going to deal with the kind of incidents like the recent flooding of Bukit Timah? According to the authorities, the kind of rainfall that can cause such flooding was a 'freak' event that occurs only once in 50 years.
Environment Minister Yaacob Ibrahim even said, "We knew the diversion canal was not big enough to take this."
That was very reassuring to know. I can imagine someone saying, "You know, those canals are not going to be able to take very heavy rainfall."
And someone else in charge might have said, "We know. But what to do? We cannot make the biggest canals to accommodate the biggest rainfall possible. We can't cater to freaks. Anyway, once in a half-century only lah."
If your Ferrari happened to be submerged in a basement car park that fateful freak of a day, and your insurance does not cover "use of car as submarine", you can still find solace that the next time this kind of flooding occurs, it will be 50 years later.
So feel free to buy a new car and park it in underground car parks along Bukit Timah after this.
While this is not Katrina, the residents of District 11 do not have it good, either. They work hard, live on prime land, and their homes cost millions of dollars. Plus their area does not even have an MRT station yet. And now, poor things, their district is the new Singapore River.
I think we should see the bright side. Perhaps we can try to make the best of things. If you cannot stop the flooding, why not make Bukit Timah the Venice of Singapore? What could be more romantic and prestigious than living in Singapore's Canal District?
Instead of driving, residents can glide down Bukit Timah in gondolas and luxury boats. Why should only Punggol get the water sports fun?
The fancy schools along that stretch can have annual Boat Races there, a la Oxford and Cambridge. ACS, SCGS, Hwa Chong, NJC, St Joseph's, all competing in the annual Bukit Timah Freak Flood Inter-School Boat Race.
Schools there will no longer need their own swimming pools. Instead, we can groom a new generation of young swimmers who have been trained from young to swim to school for their exams.
It's not a flood-prone area, it's a waterfront lifestyle opportunity.
Our submarine corps need not go elsewhere for their training exercises, too. Just get those ex-Västergötland class Swedish subs into the Bukit Timah Canal District and do their drills there. It may be challenging to create parking lots for the subs but I am sure the government will find a way.
I hear they are installing some water-level sensor which will warn of rising water levels in Bukit Timah Canal. I suppose it is so that if the sensor goes off, the Traffic Police can notify nearby condominiums and residents can carry their cars upstairs to their attics or drive it to HDB multi-storey car parks nearby.
Frankly, I feel a simple sign will do. Something that says "If the water level along Bukit Timah rises above this sign, please alert the authorities".
Another initiative the government can consider is to start neighbourhood Flood Watch. All the homes in Bukit Timah will be issued with buckets and assigned flood duties. In the event of flooding, residents will pour out onto the streets to scoop up buckets of water and dump the water in the Bukit Timah Canal. Clever, right?
That is my suggestion to our leaders. Don't fight the flood, go with the flow! It is only a freak flood, Singapore.
Ah this just brings back fond memories of walking to my school along Bukit Timah Road in torrential rain, and walking right into the giant longkang near Coronation Plaza because flood waters obscured the pavement and the drain! Good times!
Right! Let's move on! Who wants to volunteer to be Singapore's first Minister of Freak Incidents and Drains? Hands up! The position offers good pay and you only need to worry about stuff once every 50 years.