It has to be karma that Vivian Balakrishnan, notorious for his gutter politics during the May 2011 elections, has ended up dealing with drainage gutters. In all probability, he won't be any more successful than Yaacob Ibrahim, the cad who lied about acts of gods and blocked drains, they are both made of the same political mold.
This chap is putting off the construction of a much needed diversion canal to relieve the overflowing Stamford Canal, because it would cost between $300 and $400 million ("in the long run, these need to be done," he is quoted saying). But he did not hesitate to waste $387 million on the YOG debacle - food poisoning and fake certificates of appreciation for local volunteers, free hospitalisation and R&R for the foreign one - and even boasted to a reporter he'll do it again anytime ( "I felt it was money well spent").
We don't know if serious money was spent on the 12-member panel making recommendations on flood mitigation in Singapore. We do know that one of the suggestions, porous pavements, was a no-brainer. When the junction of Scotts Road and Orchard Road was submerged, everyone knew that the absorbent grass knoll would prevented the flash flood if it wasn't paved over for the impermeable concrete monolith of Ion Orchard. What was commonsense among netizens aged 6 to 66 is now officially confirmed, "Urbanisation has undoubtedly led to an increase in storm water run off in Singapore."
Asked about Balakrishnan's procastination on the diversion canal requirement, Prof Balmforth of MWH UK said, "It would be unusual to produce a range of measures on a city that didn't involve some upgrade of some conveyance capacity somewhere." The minister may dismiss internet input as chatter, but will he listen to the experts? Maybe he's just afraid to contradict the declaration of the octogenarian "expert", "No amount of engineering can prevent flooding."