Unbuilding the Grace and Pearman Bridges

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.

October 5, 2006:
Filling in for Sparky - going to work with Frank

Sparky's camera is being repaired and I was having a guilt attack with no updates for the past week. So today, you have the opportunity to go with me to work - at the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School.

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.

It all starts here outside our building as I pass by kids on their way to the local Japanese school.


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


Outram Road


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

oct_05_9806_parking.jpg oct_05_9807_parking.jpg

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


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

C. Frank Starmer