Wednesday, the 16th of June 2010 will be remembered as the day when torrential rains flooded the most renowned road in Singapore, Orchard Road. I was not even aware of it until the next morning when I read the papers. I live and work in the east where the rain was mild that day. First reaction? Surprised, but no big deal, or so I thought. I brushed it aside as I left my house for work that morning.
It was on Thursday that I realized the impact of this news. It had traveled far, across the Straits of Malacca to the most populous country in South East Asia, Indonesia. I was in Jakarta on a one-day business trip. Business aside, the talk of the town was the flood in Orchard Road. Every one of the 7 business acquaintances I met that day was mocking the flood. I was surprised. Even more so when I heard that it was headline news in the local newspaper that morning. Wow…, I thought.
At that moment, I realized that we, the second youngest country in South East Asia, after East Timor, had established for ourselves a rock-solid reputation for our infrastructure. Our neighbours hold us in such high regards that they had never imagined flooding of such a magnitude occurring at all, much less in the heart of Orchard Road.
So, what are my thoughts on this flood? Singapore is not impervious to failure but our strength lies in learning from our mistakes. We remedy, we grow, and we improve. We change.
From this flood, I also see opportunities. I can almost visualize that more ‘horsepower’ will be added to the control system – IP67 industrial plug connectors will be needed to withstand the harsh outdoor environment, surge protection to guard against the failing of the control system due to lightning strikes, an array of data communication and protection devices for reliable transmission from CCTV systems, a robust SMS relay will sending an SMS (to the PUB) when triggered by the remote sensors, and many more!
Regrettably, I was not able to witness with my own eyes, the last flood in Orchard Road.