Prof. Pedro Seco E. Pinto: 50th Anniversary of SEAGS

Pindro_messageMessage from Prof. Pedro Seco E Pinto, ISSMGE Past President

1.    The Southeast Asian Geotechnical Society (SEAGS) was founded in 1967 by Dr. Za Chieh Moh as a regional society to integrate Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Taiwan and has played a major role for the development of soil mechanics and foundation engineering, engineering geology, rock mechanics, geoenvironmental engineering and geosynthetic engineering.

I would like to stress the vision of Dr. Za Chen Moh and to remember that this world was built by people who felt some discontent with the way things were and knew they could be better. Greatness always arrives for those who are never satisfied even it looks nice.  SEAGS during these 50 years was served by 15 Presidents and 5 Secretaries General that behaved as a guru that following Sanskrit is one who dispels the darkness and brings more understanding and light.

2.    The Journal Geotechnical Engineering was created in 1970, with 4 issues per year, records now in 2017, 47 Volumes prepared by 5 Editors in Chief. The Editors with a permanent and continuous effort have played an important role in this geotechnical world that always change and progress, opening new challenges as the scientific truth is not definitely achieved.

3.    The first Conference organized by SEAGS in 1967 took place in Bangkok and the 19th Conference held in Malaysia in 2016. These Conferences gave the opportunity and time to think, plan and reflect and with incremental steps the goal was achieved.  I believe that there is but one failure in life and that is the failure to try and is important to consider what fun is life without a hint of mystery? What joy is life without a little adventure?

4.    The Association of Geotechnical Societies in Southeast Asia (AGSSEA) was created at the 16th Southeast Asian Geotechnical Conference (16SEAGC) held in Kuala Lumpur in 2007. Currently, it has eight national member societies, namely the Southeast Asian Geotechnical Society (SEAGS), Vietnam Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (VSSMGE), Hong Kong Geotechnical Society (HKGES), Geotechnical Society of Singapore (GeoSS), Thai Geotechnical Society (TGS), Chinese Taipei Geotechnical Society (CTGS), Indonesian Geotechnical Society (HATTI) and Malaysian Geotechnical Society (MGS).

The objectives of the Association are the promotion of co-operation among geotechnical societies in SE Asia; and the assistance to member societies who have limited number of members.  AGSSEA has explored new ways, supporting the Core values and Models for excellence and being a continuous source of inspiration for today and tomorrow.

The current Chairman Prof. San Shyan Lin, from Taiwan, and the Past Chairmen for their culture of great exigency and austerity deserve our praise and gratitude.

5.    I had the opportunity during my presidentialship to attend 16th Conference in Kuala Lumpur (2007) organized by Dr. Ooi Teik Aun (Chairman) and Yee Yew Weng (Secretary).  In my interaction with the people I have listened twice as I have spoken, as I strongly believe that listening intently to someone is one of the best ways I know of to honor that person and forge a deep human connection. As you live your days, so you craft your life.  Everybody brought from Kuala Lumpur lovely souvenirs due to the superb work of Dr. Ooi Teik Aun and Yee Yew Weng.

6.    Later in 2009, in 2011 and again in 2012 I had the opportunity to participate in several ISSMGE International Seminars that took place in Malaysia, Philippines, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar. The challenges topics for these countries related natural hazards (earthquakes, landslides), ground improvement, tunneling and foundations were covered.

In a world that moves in the direction of the global village it is very important the universality of the knowledge and the need for a permanent renewing. It is important to communicate, to share experiences, to compare methodologies and to monitor the results. The benefits of an open dialogue between academicians, researchers, practitioners, contractors and owners are huge.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Invited Lecturers Dr. Ooi, Prof. Madhira Madhav, Prof. Dennes Bergado, Prof. Charles Ng, Dr. Lim Soktay and many others for their devotion and cooperation.  They help me to remove the blocks I count on them in so very many ways.  They support my work to advance my Mission to serve ISSMGE, to live this highest goals.

7.    This Symposium on 14-15 September 2017 at the Asian Institute of Technology Campus in Bangkok celebrating the 50th Anniversary of SEAGS is jointly organized by the Thai Geotechnical Society (TGS) and Southeast Asian Geotechnical Society (SEAGS). Dr. Suttisak Soralump is the current President of TGS and Dr. Noppodol Phienwej is the current President of SEAGS.  The Symposium programme integrates 39 prestigious Invited Lecturers.  Last but not least I would like to address to the Organizing Committee and to the Lecturers a word of praise and gratitude for their contributions and a message of hope that this Symposium will allow us to develop a feeling of universal responsibility and to create the ambition to serve better our Society Following the memorable words of Anatole France:

“To accomplish great things we must not only act,
But also dream, not only plan, but also believe,
And the belief in a thing makes it happen”.

Prof. Pedro_1