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“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” – Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Fresh Reads from the Science 'o sphere!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Waves And Curves

Just went to the Henderson Waves pedestrian bridge last evening for a touch of photo opportunities and some exercise.

I should say that it's a fair bit of exercise - more than I expected!

Here's the Henderson Waves bridge, connecting Telok Blangah Hill on the left with Mount Faber on the right.

From this vantage point, the bridge looks tall and spindly - not particularly impressive.

More on this later.

The photo was taken halfway up a steep set of stairs that go up the Mount Faber side. You can also access the bridge via Telok Blangah Green on the other side.

Hey, did you know that it's the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore? At 36 metres (or about 12 floors) above street level, it is certainly high enough to instill a fear of heights.

Luckily for you, I'm merely agoraphobic, not acrophobic.

So up we go!


I took this zoom photo to show you the underside of the bridge.

Later when I walked on the bridge itself, I noticed that wooden boardwalk has many small gaps in it - you can see through the gaps all the way down!

Indeed, the bridge bottom is supported by many (metal?) ribs with gaps between them.

So if you drop a coin on the bridge... it could roll into the gaps between the wooden planks and fall twelve stories to the ground below.

Hang on to your loose change!

And here we are at the start (foot? shoulder? neck?) of the bridge.

As the titular sign indicates, this is the Henderson Waves.

I love the word "titular" - it totally sounds as if it means something else.

It's my favourite word of the English language.

This being Singapore, we are immediately confronted with a warning sign.

Let's see - no spinny-rolly things... push your bike across... and no fire.

Duh, of course no fire. Wood and fire don't get along so well.

Who would be so stoopid as to put fire in a wooden structure?

I think I just pissed off everyone who live in cold countries.

So this is how the Waves look like from the Mount Faber side. The bridge is not actually level - it gradually rises upwards toward Telok Blangah Hill.

I think that this is the ideal spot where the bridge looks the most photogenic.

The curvy decorative feature was designed using some mathematical formula (light diffraction perhaps?) to generate a series of three waves, the crest in the middle being the tallest crest (primary maxima?).

Some people say that it looks like a huge snake undulating across the bridge.

To me, the middle crest bears an uncanny resemblance to the voluptuous bottom of a sexy woman.

Don't know what I mean?

Simply turn your head 90 degrees to the right and imagine the "waist" of a woman where the curve meets the v-notched pillar.

See? This guy knows what I'm talking about.

Since it was a Saturday, there were many families strolling on the bridge - here are two kids trying to run up a curved side of the boardwalk.

If you want to take pristine architectural shots of the Henderson Waves without people blocking the view, it's best not to go on a weekend.

Having said that - pedestrian bridges are meant for pedestrians...

Unlike most other pedestrian bridges, this one doesn't come equipped with a roof, so you'll get a nice "open skies" feeling while walking on it.

The downside is that there is little protection from the elements - the "curves" contain seats but their open-ribbed structure doesn't really block the sun or the rain.

Here's the middle crest/hump/sexy woman's bottom with three benches inside. You can clearly see the upward incline in this picture.

There are also markings on some wooden floorboards indicating the height of select points on the bridge, accurate to the nearest centimetre.

Oddly, it is expressed as height above sea level, rather than above street level, so the measurements are in the 60+ metres range.

Whichever way the height is measured, there's no doubt that there's plenty of height. Here's the view from bridge looking southwards, where you can clearly see the sea in a distance.

I always feel woozy when taking photos over the edge of some tall structure - even worse when I watch other people suspend their cameras over the edge to take a photo.

Maybe it's just me.

Halfway through the exploration of the bridge, I suddenly heard the roar of fighter jets overhead. Yes, it's that time of the year again - air force F-16s were rehearsing their manoeuvres for the National Day parade.

Actually, the bridge is a nice spot for seeing the aerial display, but I wouldn't personally recommend it because everyone else probably thinks the same way and it can't be fun to be stuck on a bridge with hundreds of other spectators...

Ooh it's getting dark! The lights start to come on as I reach the Telok Blangah side.

Due to the way the bridge itself curves (it is not symmetrical), photos taken from this vantage point isn't as pretty.

As the golden hour approaches, the bridge becomes a more impressive photographic target. Deep blue skies and orange-yellow mood lighting complement each other to result in a satisfying colour combination.

You can also see the gaps between the wooden planks more clearly in this photo as light from below the boardwalk seeps through.

Back to the Mount Faber side, the bridge lighting has blossomed, transforming an inanimate structure of concrete, metal and wood into the semblance of a slinky golden skirt stretched over the ample derrière of a curvaceous belle.

Now you know why I never win any poetry competitions.

Would you like to know more?

- The Southern Ridges (National Parks Singapore)
- Photo Gallery Nine


Lab Rat said...

I thought the third warning sign meant "don't rollerblade on a skateboard".

Lim Leng Hiong said...

Heh... or it could mean "no hoverblading above a hoverboard".

Seven more years till 2015!