28 September 2005

Dear Singapore: While you were sleeping...

Chua Enlai stars in Separation 40, a play written by Jit Murad and Haresh Sharma, about the fiercely competitive twin nations of Malaysia and Singapore, whose leaders use identical political means to suppress dissent in their citizens. The play will be staged in Kuala Lumpur from 29 September to 2 October at KLPac.

Now, there's a danger in going too far with the "Singapore and Malaysia aren't at all different" routine. According to Bernama News and Xinhua Agency, Malaysia has one thing Singapore doesn't: A nuclear power plant. And soon, another nuclear power plant.

Yes, while Singapore was sleeping, Malaysia built the 1 MW TRIGA Mark II nuclear power plant in Bangi, Selangor, for research purposes for 5 mil. Ringgit in 1985, and is due to build a 1000 MW nuclear plant within the next 15 years. This means Malaysia has nuclear scientists!

Meanwhile, Singapore's biotech scientists are busy crowing about their pee-powered batteries. Go, Singapore!


rench00 said...

between nuclear energy and urine generated electricity, i would actually be prouder of the latter.

firstly, we developed the latter. while the former, it's only a matter of learning to use it.

secondly, there really isn't a need for Singapore to go nuclear. so really no need to be envious that other people have something that we don't need.

thirdly, for all intents and purposes, nuclear energy produced by fission is too much of a hassle. too many safeguards needed, great risks (given the potential destruction, even a 1 in a billion chance is too high... cf chernobyl) and what are you going to do with the nuclear wastes (which stick around, polluting the world for eons to come...)? also, after all that is said and done, there are bound to be radioactive leaks from a plant (i.e. radioactive particles being emitted, not in the form of wastes, but due to the normal operation of the nuclear power plant)

yes... i am actually against nuclear energy... because it pollutes and cause a great big bang if something goes wrong (and by murphy's law, things always go wrong), unless there is some overriding reasons to have a nuclear fission power plant (i.e. really no access to other sources of energy...).

the only type of nuclear energy i think worth pursuing is fusion. but ITER is only in the beginnning stages. long long more to go before they get energetically efficient, controlled fusion.

i wonder whether there are any Singaporean (or Southeast-Asian for that matter) scientists in ITER...

if anything, Singapore scientists should continue down the line of generating energy from bio-waste (pee, leftover food, etc), cos these things are readily available. and using bio-waste to produce energy will help to reduce the volume and mass of waste that is rapidly piling up, slightly more environmentally friendly.

and so... what if Malaysia has nuclear scientists? what contributions have they made to the field? i don't think they did much. and it's not like they'll develop nuclear weapons anytime soon. and even if they do, i don't think they'll dare use it on Singapore. unless they are really really desperate.

anyways... what sort of scientists a nation has really depends on the needs of that country, the contributions these scientists made to the advancemente of science, in terms of utility and the search for truth. it depends on what we want and frankly, i think Malaysia made the wrong decision to go nuclear.

akikonomu said...

Ah, but what are you going to do when Malaysia nukes Singapore? Fight them back with pee-powered bombs?


It'll be very hard to negotiate on equal terms with a nuclear-powered neighbour in the future. That's what I'm more worried about.

akikonomu said...

if anything, Singapore scientists should continue down the line of generating energy from bio-waste

I agree here. Peak oil, however, will probably occur much earlier than Singapore's scientists pushing biowaste energy to its limits. Which still isn't enough to power the whole of Singapore.

When peak oil hits, Indonesia's natural gas reserves will be reserved for Indonesia. Singapore will be dependent on Malaysia for not just water, but energy. Due date for the merger, imo.

rench00 said...

i don't think Malaysia will use nukes no singapore. Too close to themselves and to Indonesia. and i don't think it'll be that easy for them to develop nukes. so if there are to be any armed conflicts in the region, it'll prob be restricted to conventional weapons.

as to the shortage of fuel... well... yes. that is a problem. i don't have enough information to assess how big a problem that is. though intuitively, i think we won't be that desperate to have to merge with Malaysia. though i'm not sure why i say so.

last point. i don't think nuclear power (unless it's fusion... and even then that's iffy) is suitable for Singapore. a fallout can essentially wipe out the whole nation, leaving the region to suffer for decades to come.

Anonymous said...

While it's not really a laughing matter, given how the discussion in the comments has gone, I just couldn't help but think of Huzir Sulaiman's Atomic Jaya (http://www.kakiseni.com/articles/reviews/MDM3OQ.html) when reading the first and last part of your post together. Now that play was a real blast!

pleinelune said...

Why is it that the first thought that pops into people's heads when they hear that a country has nuclear power, it will automatically have nuclear weapons and will use them mercilessly?

Why would anyone even bother bombing Singapore? I think Malaysia has more pressing issues than eradicating this little red dot and garnering a lot of damage along the way.