For Sparky and myself, curiosity drives passion which in turn fuels our life's engine. Our passion was capturing the story of both unbuilding the Grace (1929 - 2007) and Pearman (1966 - 2007) Bridges and discovering the unbuilders. It takes a lot of passion to track a project from July 2005 until April 2007 - rain, shine, hurricanes or moving to Singapore. We discovered the joy of discovery learning. Ken Canty opened the front door for us - then Steve Testa, Ponch Billingsley and Mickey Rogers opened many side doors. Below are the highlights of what we discovered, who we met and what we learned.
And a reminder from T.S. Eliot (East Coker from the Four Quartets)
Home is where one starts from. As we grow older The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated Of dead and living. Not the intense moment Isolated, with no before and after, But a lifetime burning in every moment And not the lifetime of one man only But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
Singapore is simply an interesting place to work and live. Convenient to just about everywhere, you can fly to Bali for about $150 (US), to India for about $300 (US) and to Bangkok for about $100 (US), Vietnam for about ($150) etc etc etc). We are 1 degree above the equator and the sun rises about 7am every morning and sets about 7pm every evening. Little variation.
We do not own a car - but use the MRT (subway), bus and Taxi. I have an EZ-Pass for the MRT - cost to get to work is about us 50 cents. The EZ-Pass costs US $10, and can be increased in value when you almost use it up. It works for the bus and it works for McDonalds should you have a hankering for a kid's meal (as Ellen often does). Coka Cola is a disappointment here - I was addicted at home (ask my family) - but in the US, it is made with corn syrup. Here in Singapore, it is made with sugar. It tastes too sweet - like Pepsi - so now I drink tea at work, fresh lemon tea at lunch, and tea / mango juice at dinner.
Eating is a pleasure. Singapore is filled with food courts - called Hawker Centers. Typically there are 10 - 40 food stalls - with food varying from South Indian to Vietnamese to Chinese to Thai. Usual lunch is S$2.50 or about US $ 1.80 . Actually, it is cheaper to eat out than to cook in - so we have lots of culinary adventures. There is even a guide with rave reviews in the New York TImes: Makansutra - "The frank and no frills guide to street food and restaurants in Singapore". I like it because I can find food courts that serve fried bananas - my new addiction!.
So here is how I go to work each morning.
Here is their bus and in the upper right is the MRT station (elevated part of the Singapore subway)
And here they are lining up to enter the bus
Moms waiting for the last wave good-bye
Moms on the outside and faces from within - all in their yellow cap uniforms
Now the fun - playing with an egg carton
A funny face
and more funny faces
Then about 50 meters to the MRT station (elevated subway here)
Then out of the subway at Outram Park Station
Looking the other direction
The exit gates
and the way out
and crossing the street
It frequently rains in Singapore - and here is the covered walkway
and extension of the cover as the walkway crosses a street
and a covered alley walkway
Here is the covered walkway at the corner of Singapore General Hospital (SGH) Block 4
And a sign indicating how many parking spaces remain
This is the entrance to Block 4
and the entrance to the Outpatient Clinics (Blocks 1, 2 and 3)
Block C houses our new research labs
and Block C's car park
Walking to my office, one of our guys is coming up the steps
Block 3 - where my office lives
and a typical 4 language sign - English, Chinese, Tamil and Malay
My colleagues: Li Fook, our architect
Kok Heng, my IT Lab
and Wai Kuen - who is the force behind our fast paced researchers
and my office with bridge photos, of course
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
C. Frank Starmer