Sunday, December 27, 2015

Living daily in fear of ever increasing flash floods in Singapore island

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The people of tiny equatorial island Singapore's greatest enemy is not their totalitarian rulers, their lives as slaves, but the rising sea. Today the tiny island with their tiny population which claims all sorts of firsts, real or imaginary, just as North Korea does in their propaganda sheets, lives every day not knowing whether the flood waters tomorrow are going to be at their knees or their waists. And what is worse, it is a problem that will only get bigger and for which the dictatorial rulers have no clue what whatsoever.

Let me repeat what I said. The rising sea flooding the entire island is a problem that will get worse daily and for which there is no answer. To put it another way, Singaporeans are damned by the sea.

And here comes a lesson in geography, climatology and astronomy.

Singapore sits almost squarely on the Equator. This means of course very high temperatures, very high humidity and very heavy rain or to put it in another way torrential rain.

Rain is caused by the condensation of water vapor in the atmosphere. The hotter it is, the more water vapor it can carry and when it rises and condenses, heavier rain. Generally speaking, at night the island cools down, from sunrise the island gets heated up, up goes the water vapor and down comes the torrential rain in the afternoon.

The tiny island is surrounded by the sea. Because the water is warm, the water expands in volume and the tides get higher and higher as the water continues to get warmer and warmer due to global warming.

Tides are principally cased by the gravitational pull of the Moon and also by the Sun if it happens to be in the vicinity of the Moon. Generally in Singapore island, the Moon goes round the Earth twice a day. That is why you have 2 high tides and 2 low tides daily. When the Moon is above you, the gravitational pull of the Moon cases the waters to rise. On occasion when the orbit of the Earth takes the Moon and Sun to be aligned above you, their combined gravitational pull causes exceptionally high tides known as "King Tides".

So twice a day, at high tide, the water from the sea encroaches into the island and the encroachments get further and further inland as the climate change continues to intensify. Of course one does not know when it will rain but if the rain happens to be at the same time as high tide, the torrential rain water which falls on the island cannot flow to sea because the sea water is trying to come in. And that is when you have the flash floods. It is almost like Russian roulette. You never know when it will flood because the Moon is above and close to you when it is high tide.

There is no uncertainty over high tides, because they happen twice a day. The only uncertainly is when it will rain. If your luck is bad and it rains at high tide, you are guaranteed of a flood. Which means you can even have floods twice a day daily if it rains at those times. And another fact which is certain is that the height of floods will continue to increase, never decrease because global warming is an established fact which cannot be stopped at any time soon. This means more and more floods, higher and higher floods and greater and greater rainfall with no remedy whatsoever.

Such a life in total fear of ever increasing floods and ever increasing frequency is understandably intolerable and unbearable. Businesses whose stocks are constantly damaged by rain water would decide not to do business in the island anymore. Hundreds of cars which are completely damaged and unrepairable causes extreme loss to their owners in an island where your car can be more expensive than your house. Roofs collapse and people are injured due to water logged buildings, elevators and escalators malfunction due to wires tripping and people may even die in the thousands if water seeps into the underground train system.

Jets on final approach can crash if their engines flame out as a result of being water logged.

Singapore island is in fact facing its most existential threat ever, but the totalitarian rulers understandably like ostriches have their heads in the sand. Nothing is being said to address this issue which will literally destroy them. In the past when the issue was at least discussed, it was the consensus opinion of most experts that no amount of engineering can solve this problem. The island is at most places only a few inches above sea level and it so jam packed with people and so built up that you can do nothing to heighten its elevation.

You cannot simply move everyone to the small knoll of Bukit Timah Hill which is only 500 feet high while bulldozers raise the entire city down, fill it up with earth another 5 feet high and rebuild once again all the skyscrapers and all! Simply not possible.

You cannot solve the problem with building deeper canals because this would only mean more sea water would occupy them; therefore not solving the problem. You cannot pump the water back into the sea because  it will only come in again. You cannot dump it in Malaysia because they don't want it. You cannot export it to China because they don't want it either. You cannot send it to Mars either. Neither can you make Lee Kuan Yew's son drink all of it either.

If you look at the days it has flooded recently, it happened on Dec 5, Dec 10 and Dec 11. It is happening more and more and with more and more intensity. If this problem is going to get worse, businesses would leave to cut losses. Our little dictators are looking completely helpless while their island sinks underground.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
Singaporean by Birth
Now American Citizen
Fremont, California (San Francisco)
Tel: 510 491 8525

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