I had a dream last night. I dreamt that I was running for GE2015. I was submitting my nomination papers when the guy at the counter told me that one document was missing.
“What’s that?” I asked, scratching my head.
“New regulations for GE2015. You don’t know meh?” said that very familiar-looking guy in an orange T-shirt. “All candidates for GE2015 must have a pure heart. Your hearts must be pure. You must be here because you want to take care of residents and improve their lives. If you are just here to win the election, that is quite sad and the residents can tell.”
“Yes, I have a pure heart.” I declared.
“Do you have any proof?” asked the guy in the orange T-shirt.
“Don’t have wor. How to prove?”
“In that case, you must check into Mt Heartless Hospital, get them to remove your heart so you can show to us whether it’s pure or not.”
“Yao mo gao chor ah? I thought you said residents can tell. Why still must take out my heart? CT scan, MRI can or not?”
“I don’t take any MP allowance can or not?”
“Yao mo gao chor ah?” It was the guy in the orange T-shirt’s turn to say that. “You don’t spoil the market OK.”
“Well, your hearts must be pure. You must be here because you want to take care of residents and improve their lives. If you are yust here to earn your millions, then it is quite sad and the residents can also tell.”
I woke up from my dream and realised that I had been dozing off on the MRT. Luckily I didn’t dream about an MRT breakdown. Anyway, the root cause of a major disruption on 7th July 2015 along the North-South and East-West Lines affecting some 250,000 commuters has been found.
It started with water leaking at a spot between Tanjong Pagar and Raffles Place MRT. It’s reported that the water had “high levels of chloride” (seawater?), contaminating the surface of an insulator and decreased its resistance levels.
Electrical current was thus able to bypass the insulator and creep down the third rail support bracket down to earth, causing ground voltage levels to spike above “a certain limit”. The “higher than normal” voltage difference between the ground and running rail triggered a “protective safety” relay system, which then tripped the system as a “safety” mechanism.
The choice of words is rather telling and confounding at the same time. Water, bypass insulator, voltage levels spike, above a certain (safety?) limit, trip … was it a short circuit or what? Not scary enough? What about this:
SMRT will also raise the setting of its protective relay system, known as the 64P, to a higher level so as to make it less susceptible to power trips. It will be raised from 136 volts to 200 volts, which is in line with international standards and newer lines such as the Circle and Downtown Lines.
The first sentence nearly made me go yao mo gao chor ah? Decrease the sensitivity of the circuit breaker so that it won’t trip so easily? But then, the experts reassure us that this tweak is in line with international standards. So what was the 64P setting doing at 136V in the first place?
So the new “certain” (safety?) limit will be 200V and insulators with “low resistance” (defective?) will be replaced. I’m not impressed, but at least they now know what went wrong and won’t be groping in the dark. But frankly, I’m a lot more worried about the leaking tunnel than the high voltage on the “third rail”.
© Chan Joon Yee