Saving Battlestar Galactica

SINGAPORE - The distressing news that no one in Singapore wanted to hear came through earlier this week.

Battlestar Galactica is down. Repeat. Battlestar Galactica is down.

The story shocked a nation. There were so many unanswered questions.

How did Battlestar Galactica go down? Was anyone involved? What the hell is a Battlestar Galactica?

For the unfamiliar, Battlestar Galactica is an intergalactic battle between heroes and villains. It's a race to save Planet Earth.

It's a couple of roller coasters.

But the duelling roller coasters at Universal Studios Singapore (USS) closed mysteriously on July 21 and haven't opened since.

When we heard the news, my wife asked the most serious question... Has there been an accident? (There hasn't.)

I then asked the next most serious question... What about my USS annual pass?

That sounds extraordinarily selfish and kiasu, I know, but there aren't that many adult attractions at USS and I've been on the Sesame Street ride so many times, other visitors are starting to stare at me.

It probably doesn't help that when I line up I like to pass the time by singing: "Sunny day... Sweepin' the clouds away... On my way to where the air is sweet... "

But the annual pass concern is not as selfish as it might initially seem. For those not familiar with the layout of USS, the roller coasters are between The Mummy ride and the Transformers 3-D simulator.

Take Battlestar Galactica away and there's such a walk between the other two that I end up going on the Sesame Street ride just to have a rest.

I've practically moved in with Bert and Ernie.

And my wife needs no further excuse to move away from attractions and push our bewildered child in the direction of sweaty theme park employees dressed up as cartoon characters.

It's bad enough that the queues for photos with animated characters are so long, but it's even worse when you line up behind someone who really shouldn't be there.

Why do grown men - with no children and no partners - queue to have photos taken with Woody Woodpecker?

I can explain why they have no children and no partners. They queue for photos with Woody Woodpecker.

When a man eagerly joins a long line to stand alone next to a children's cartoon character, you can be sure of only one thing.

He's going home alone.

So until Battlestar Galactica re-opens, I have to spend more time in queues with Mr Home Alone and small, crying children because my wife has pushed them over to get a better photo.

I've no idea when the roller coasters re-open because USS has been coy on the subject, saying the ride is closed for "an attraction review".

Such a vague explanation lends itself to unwanted speculation. Besides, most riders don't care.

If we've queued for more than an hour for an attraction, we don't care if the wheels have fallen off. We're getting on the damn thing.

Last month, I went to Universal Studios in the United States (same deal as USS, but a bigger park, bigger prices and disturbingly bigger people).

After queueing for 65 minutes for the Men In Black Ride, it broke down... just as we took our seats.

There was a mini-mutiny.Fellow riders refused to vacate the vehicle. No one moved.

A teenage employee, who appeared to be younger than my chin stubble, tiptoed over to our vehicle and politely asked us to get off the ride.

Paraphrasing slightly, I said: "Listen, mate. Look at my stubble.

I was clean-shaven when I joined this queue. My daughter has turned blue because she's desperate to pee. So unless you're holding a tranquiliser gun powerful enough to bring down a horse, you're not getting us off this ride."

My childish theme park bravery stems from my childhood, when amusement parks and travelling fairs were places you visited to break limbs and lose digits.

Deadly rides called "The Whiplash" actually did what they said on the tin. If you didn't get whiplash, you got your money back.

Family-run travelling fairs were the most dangerous. The rides were all operated by brothers with the same surname and the same brain cell.

They smiled a toothless grin, grunted, and pulled down a lever to start a ride called "Neck Breaker", which threw everyone out of their seats and into a neighbouring field.

We checked for broken bones and then handed some coins to toothless, grunting ape man and went back on "Neck Breaker".

So I'm ready to volunteer my services to test Battlestar Galactica as part of the "attraction review".

I can't keep going on the Sesame Street ride.

And I've really got to stop asking Woody Woodpecker for his photo.

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