Thursday, March 13, 2008


I've been trying to remember all day if there has ever been a time when I smelt anything stinky in Singapore. Well, Singapore is clean but obviously not so clean that you never smell anything bad. I racked my brains and finally remembered three instances

1) Little India (where it was not just stinky, rats and cockroaches scurried around my feet!!!)

2) My cluster bathroom about a year ago when the janitor lady took off for what seemed like eternity

3) My room, when I remove my socks

Other than not, I can't seem to remember any other place. Especially not in the sterile labs of NUS.

Today I went for my practical class for Microbiology. We have finished nutritional studies and all that sort of stuff. It was time now for environmental microbiology. There were two parts to today's session. One was trying to culture organisms from water and see if the water is contaminated with bacteria that are usually found in human gut (read: Faecal bacteria or simply put - bacteria found in shit). I wasn't too worried because I have dealt with spit, rat livers and that sort of stuff, so it didn't disgust me and I was sure as hell the paranoid caring lab people wouldn't let students get into contact with anything dangerous or disgusting. And I was right. We just observed the turbid solution and a little thingy inside that indicated these organisms produce gas (now you know you aren't the culprit!! :P).

The second part was a big shocker to me. My prof stands in front of the lab and brings 3 huge cylinders, all containing liquid. One was black as hell (like there was shit, crap and other stuff in it and I bet there definitely was shit in it), another was clear on top and murky brown at the bottom (It literally looked like shit. Purified shit) and another almost clear water. She announces that people from the lab had gone through great difficulty to get to the sewage treatment plant to get these samples. And the rain over the past few days apparently made it difficult to get "good" sewage samples so we were lucky to have gotten those three flasks. I could hardly contain my joy :-/

The cylinders she was showing us were all sealed on top and the cylinders themselves were clean on the outside. So I thought she is just probably showing us how sewage is treated using microorganisms by showing solution taken from 3 different stages of sewage treatment. Fascinating. I am serious. It truly was fascinating to see how the sewage water cleared up from an opaque black solution to murky brown to clear solution. Truly fascinating.

Then she tells us that the benches in the centre of the lab had one litre bottles of the sewage contents and we were to go, collect some and look at untreated sewage under the microscope :-/ GO NEAR THE FRIGGIN BOTTLE CONTAINING SEWAGE, THAT WAS KEPT WIDE OPEN AND LOOK AT WHAT SEWAGE CONTAINS UNDER A FRIGGIN MICROSCOPE! :O :O I DON'T NEED A FRIGGIN MICROSCOPE TO TELL WHAT SEWAGE CONTAINS!

*MG goes near open sewage bottle to collect sample*


Stink does exist in Singapore. In Ulu Pandan treatment plant :-/ And it came to our lab today.

I was thirsty as hell after lab. But I chucked my water bottle and bought myself 7-up.

I will never look at water the same way again.

P.S. More like an FYI. Apparently each human being produces 20 or more litres of waste that goes to the sewage plants! 20 litres of the black, shitty looking stuff! :O :O I agree with Sid (from Ice age) - Humans are disgusting!

P.P.S - Yeah, I am trying to use the exact same colours for the font as the shitty stuff in the cylinders :P


Clueless said...

Ha! What an appropriately titled post! And you've managed to say "shit" more times in your post than would ever be allowed under normal circumstances! Brava! *applauds* :D

Your MicroB labs do sound like fun - testing food, sewage and what not. Out of curiosity, what exactly did you see under the microscope? Huge, disgusting, creepy crawly things, or was it surprisingly normal-looking? :P

But, seriously. You gotta appreciate these sort of practical classes - they beat doing normal, routine stuff any day!

soleil said...

ROFL!!! I remember that prac! But I don't recall having such strong feelings about the whole shitty thing. You forgot to mention how often this 20L of waste is produced. In a day? A week? A month? Now you know why I liked MicroB pracs right? hehe.