Friday, July 02, 2004

The massive blackout we had on Wed night is quickly fading from the minds of most. The whole experience was creepy more than scary, and I think some people are finding fault for the wrong reasons. For instance, some have complained that they weren't able to reach the police to ask for information, like "Was it JI?" and "When's the power coming back?"

These critics should reflect for a bit and then whack themselves smartly on the head for panicking. The police hotline is for emergencies, not information. If they want information, well, that's what radios are for. Besides, so what if the blackout was because of a terrorist attack? Would that have stopped these critics from wringing their hands? Maybe, if it made them panic some more.

The main concern here should be why this widespread blackout happened in the first place. Five blackouts in the last two years is unacceptable to begin with, and this recent one is by far the most severe of the lot. When all it takes is one malfunctioning valve on Jurong Island (effectively the same as cutting off the flow of natural gas from Indonesia) to result in 70%-80% of Singapore reading the papers by candlelight, it doesn't take a Clausewitz to realise that there's a blatant vulnerability there on the magnitude (or ineptitude) of the Death Star's thermal exhaust port. Government is making the right noises, but we'll see.

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