Conversazione 2004… The much-awaited Conversazione 2004 was finally held on the 6 Nov at the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club. For a change, we had lots of sea breeze by the marina! What an ambience! Conversazione 2004 was indeed very different from all previous ones. We had the honour of the presence of the Director General of IMarEST UK, Mr Keith Read, CBE (Commander of the British Empire) as our GOH. Indeed, we had the East Asia Division in Singapore, who had a day earlier, held their meeting on the way forward for East Asia right here in the heart of the region. Ir Louis K.S. Szeto, the President IMarEST (East Asia Division), attended with the representatives from Indonesia, Malaysia and Hong Kong. The entourage included Mr. Harsono, Mr. Joe Prananta and Mr. Budhi Halim from the Indonesia, Mr Lim Kim Tay, Mr. Yeo Cheng Kwan from Malaysia and Mr Alan Tsang CheMoon from Hong Kong. We also had the Vice President SNAMES, Mr Ernest Wee and his wife attending the function. Altogether, we had a strong turnout of 70 participants. It was also noted that some members brought along their family members, giving the Conversazione 2004 a touch of togetherness. Mr Keith Read, an electrical engineer with many years in the Royal Navy, serving onboard ships and submarines like the Royal Navy Ship, Repulse, gave some very interesting accounts of his life onboard ships. Those who attended would not forget about how he described the perception of captains about the ships they sailed on, especially the bulk carriers, container ships and the submarines. And, of course, the joys of having the happy moments of seeing his ships off from the harbour! Keith certainly kept the spirits high without the influence of spirits, and in keeping with the nostalgia of the marine tradition. How nice it was to be, an evening of serious business too! Keith commented that the head quarters see lots of vibrancy in the marine industry within South East Asia, and that he personally envisages further growth in the region! Mr Szeto shared with the members on the key thrust of the East Asia Division. He also updated members on the formation of the PAAMES (Pan-Asian Association of Maritime Engineering Societies) comprising 14 members, mostly from China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Russia, with objectives of sharing, networking and friendship growth amongst marine technologists in the region. He cited China’s strive to be the world’s number 1 shipbuilder by the year 2015 and that a lot of shipbuilding activities will continue to remain in Asia. He also updated that he would be looking at organising seminars to be staged at various locations in the East Asia Division member countries and that it will pave the way forward with an increased level of engagement in professional matters. The Chair of the RINA & IMarEST Joint Branch Singapore welcomed all to the Conversazione 2004, and put on record, the contributions of the members and team who made the event a success. In recognising the efforts of senior pioneers in the profession, the IMarEST Headquarters presented certificates of long service to both Mr Ron Pereira and Mr Charlie Foo, both having their memberships dating way back by a good 45 years. That’s proof of sustained loyalty and interests in the marine engineering professions right from the formative years of Singapore! Together, they have a combined total of 90 years of shining exemplary performance as marine engineers for many our young to follow. Some would say that they have had spoken too much during their years in encouraging, mentoring and teaching the next and the next generation of marine technologists in Singapore and the regional countries, but many present knew that we can never have enough of them! Born a mariner always a mariner at heart and in the soul, never giving up and always chasing new goals! Never forgetting the importance of grooming young marine technologists, the Joint Branch gave away the year’s coveted prize to Mr. Rano Ermansyah of Indonesia. The young is the marine industry’s future, and with Singapore’s international workforce of diverse talents and innovation, the local branch recognises these talents regardless of nationalities! That speaks volumes of the way talents are recognised of their capabilities in this international marine industry hub. The evening ended with many renewing old friendships (goodness, we should have this more frequently!, one participant was heard commenting), regional ones as well as making new ones. When we saw one senior member bringing a junior out for further discussion on career planning and the types of work in the marine industry, one could feel that sense of brotherhood and camaraderie present that only mariners could fathom in going that extra mile! The evening was a great success and from the warm handshakes of “see you again”, one could feel that this many more Conversaziones will be organized in growing that unique chord of friendship. Well done, the organising committee of Conversazione 2004! How well the organising team got the show going, thanks to YK Leong and Leonard Teo and their gang who made the night a most memorable one.
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