Prof. Yong Kwet Yew: 50th Anniversary of SEAGS

Yong Kwet Yew


Past President, Southeast Asian Geotechnical Society (2001-2004, 2004-2007)

Past Chairman, Association of Geotechnical Societies in SE Asia (2010-2013, 2013-2016)

I am honoured to write this message to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Southeast Asian Geotechnical Society (SEAGS) which was founded in 1967 at AIT by Dr Za-Chieh Moh. I was introduced to the activities of SEAGS in 1979 by the late Dr Tan Swan Beng (President 1977-1980) when I returned from UK to take up a faculty appointment at the National University of Singapore. I became more intimately involved in the running of the Society when I assisted Prof Seng-Lip Lee when he was President of SEAGS (1987-1990). Later I became the third person from Singapore to lead SEAGS as President for two terms (2001-2007) and has since remain an active member of SEAGS Council.

Singapore has contributed its share of geotechnical developments in the Southeast Asian region and its geotechnical engineers, academics and researchers have played a key role in the construction and infrastructure development over the past 50 years that has transformed Singapore from a third world country to a first world urban state. SEAGS played an important role in these developments and the Society provided the platform for Singapore geotechnical community to share and learn from other countries in the region and worldwide. Beside many specialty geotechnical conferences, Singapore organized the 2nd SEAGC in 1970, the 11th SEAGC in 1993 and the inaugural 18thSEAGC-1stAGSSEA in 2013 and also organized 2 Asian Regional Conferences in SMGE in 1979 and 2003. SEAGS was the catalyst and is still a catalyst to the establishment of the many geotechnical national societies in Southeast Asia, including the Geotechnical Society of Singapore (GeoSS) which was established in 2008.

While there are many eminent geotechnical engineers and academics who contributed to making SEAGS an internationally respected society in ISSMGE, Dr Za-Chieh Moh, the founder President and Prof A S Balasubramaniam, the longest serving Secretary-General from 1972-2000 (who was also President 1985-87) were the most visible in raising SEAGS standing in the ISSMGE community. Both are synonymous with SEAGS over the past 50 years. In recent years, Dr Teik-Aun Ooi continued the dedicated service to SEAGS exemplified by Dr Moh and Prof Bala.

I am proud to have been a part of SEAGS for the past 38 years and I wish the Society a Happy 50th Anniversary!