Message from Prof. Ikuo Towhata
VP of ISSMGE
Dear SEAGS colleagues,
Hearing that SEAGS celebrates its 50-year anniversary, it is my great pleasure to send this message in order to appreciate and congratulate the effort and enthusiasm of the member people, both in the past and at present.
Everybody knows that the greatest contribution and achievement of SEAGS is its function as an incubator. Many good member societies were born from SEAGS in the past and other countries in South East Asia are also now proud of the high level of societal activities. To this marvelous achievement, the International Society owes profoundly.
At this opportunity, I would like to call upon your attention to the Philippines which is certainly a part of the Southeast Asia. Although this country is an active country with very good engineers as I experienced in the past, Philippine Geotechnical Society is not yet born. I made efforts in the past to promote a society in this country, results were not very good. However, there are ambitious young generation nowadays who are doing efforts to achieve this long-term goal. I am very happy to assist their efforts but would like SEAGS to play major roles as well. If SEAGS can send good lecturers and other supports to attract people’s more concern to international societal activities, SEAGS will be more renowned.
Another issue is the future possibility of geotechnical engineering in Southeast Asia. Our profession is one of the engineerings that are most affected by nature. Because nature changes from place to place, different regions have different approaches to achieve goals. In Southeast Asia, the problem of “thick” soft soil is significantly more difficult than that in Europe or New England where the conventional framework of soil mechanics was built. Under more severe natural conditions in Southeast Asia, there should be more advanced version of expertise. Similar points can be made also of the problem of heavy rain, flood control, volcanic slopes, earthquakes and very quick development of mega cities. I am really concerned with the growth of big cities in the entire Asia. Many governments are now very hard to develop necessary infrastructures in order to keep up with the population growth. What may be missing is the preparedness for deterioration of built structures that would occur within a few decades as, for example, USA experienced in 1970’s. Tunnel is a typical example of a vulnerable structure.
I would state that you, the SEAGS colleagues, are in the front line of future construction technology and business. You are very fortunate to be able to work on the new-generation issues. I wish you not to miss this opportunity and make substantial contributions to the welfare and happiness of the community of the entire world. I do not limit my remark to Southeast Asia.
SEAGS member since 1980s