Thursday, January 08, 2015

Your mind fulfills your desires...all in good time.

One of my curiosities while growing into adulthood was wondering what it would be like to be working on a construction site. Being out there in the hot sun among workers digging and erecting, drilling and nailing oblivious to everything else going on on the outside. I would envision this scenario in my mind every time i pass a construction site and sure enough upon my return from Japan my first job placed me right smack into one of the largest construction site along the East Coast; the construction of the Petronas Refinery in Kerteh.

My job commenced in 1998 at the very early stage of the construction and i worked for a local construction company called Ibai Bina which operated out of Kuala Terengganu and I was recommended for the job by my next door neighbor who was a policeman and whose cousin was a staff member of this company. I got the job right away and thus began my experience on the construction site where I was able to witness all sort of major construction works from the erection of huge above ground storage tanks to high tension pipe racks bunker like control rooms built for safety against major blasts from flammable liquid. How underground cables miles of it being laid out and how huge condensers and filtration systems were being erect on top of tall structures.I twas all engineering and construction at its best and i was right there being an important part of the whole team. 

Everything was installed with precission and fitted like a jigsaw and there were no margin for errors as all the screws were laid out as such to fit just right when the large equipment arrived on site. It was like a choreograph and the site manager was the director overseeing that everything went on smoothly without any hitch. Each and every individual knew their task at hand and carried out the instruction without a second's hesitation, it was a thrill to watch men really at work doing what they meant to do.

I did these sketches while i was on site doing my share of responsibility and it was with the blessing of my bosses as they often told me that i was the only Safety Officer on site all the time looking very busy even if i was just doing my sketching; it had an effect on the workers. The workers too, the Indonesians the Vietnamese, the Chinese, the Indians, the Malays and the Europeans often encouraged what i was doing as they said they felt safe with me around like a scarecrow in the middle of a cornfield.

The man in charge of Safety for Foster Wheeler at the Gebeng, Kuantan site was a an Englishman a Mr. Steve Morton whose job title was Safety Specialist and hew one too. One of the characteristics that i noticed about him was that he was at the mercy of the heat and was always wiping his bald head and face with a hand towel; I felt sorry for him. He was stern but he was fair and was never aloof when carrying out his duties.

Van Seumerren did most of the installation of the larger equipment and machines that runs the refinery and this process took a whole lot of tedious precise motions allowing for no errors. The use of blocks and pulleys, lifting by crane and jacking were part of the process that everyone were acquainted with.

There were between ten to fifteen Safety officers whenever there was a Safety briefing and each represents their own companies. There was a sense of comaradery among all the officers after we got to know each other and we made it an effort to cover for each other on the job site. 

Safety walks were carried out every so often especially when things got a little out of hand or became salcking and the man in charge of these walks was Foster Wheelers Chief Site Manager. Nothing gets past by his inspections and woe unto him whose site it was that had these discrepencies.

My wish for an experience to work on a construction site was fulfilled more than I had anticipated and how often times i would stand in the middle of it all and reminded myself of how the mind is capable of manifesting one's desire if it was genuine and sincere.

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