During Operation Desert Storm, America amazed the world with the pin-point accuracy of their GPS guided Tomahawk cruise missiles, launched miles away from a remote battleship in the Mediterranean Sea. The BGM-109 Tomahawk land-attack missile (TLAM) can hit a building from 700 miles with a CEP (Circular Error Probability) of the order of 10 meters. The PUB is now telling us rainfall over Singapore has similar targeting precision, aimed squarely at Tanglin Mall and St Regis Residences. A PUB spokesman had said earlier on Sunday that flooding in the affected buildings was due to an "excessive amount of rain which fell directly into the basements".
In June around this time last year, PUB said a clogged drain was responsible for the Orchard Road floods. Except that the drainage canal opening was large enough to drive a SMRT bus through. No photographic evidence of the debris causing the blockage was ever presented. To date we don't know whether it was Minister Yaacob Ibrahim or PUB CEO Khoo Teng Chye who conjured up the creative tall story.
Yesterday, PUB claimed a "computer glitch" was responsible for alerting all buildings in the flood vicinity except for Tanglin Mall and St Regis. No further details were provided, whether it was a program bug, system crash or human error in inputting of the database. Or whether suspect buildings had a preponderance of voters who cast their ballots for the opposition parties. Needless to say, PUB credibility is at an all time low. And flooding occurrence around the island is at an all time high.
Unlike Vivian Balakrishnan, the PUB CEO cannot use the "I am not an engineer" lame excuse. The guy has a civil engineering degree from Monash University, courtesy of a Colombo Plan Scholarship funded by taxpayers. Whether he was too busy being CEO to apply his engineering knowledge to practice is a question only he can answer. Fortunately you don't really need an engineering qualification to point a finger at the building owners for installing under-sized water pumps. Orchard Road Business Association executive director, Mr Steven Goh, countered with a raised-middle-finger-type response: no pump system in the basement of every shopping centre would be able to handle the deluge of water that came gushing down on Sunday. Indeed, if drainage pumps were the magic bullets, shouldn't PUB have installed them at all flood prone areas island wide?