A few days after I started work, I discovered that MSS was hosting a research centre called the ASMC (ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre). At that time there were three scientists attached there, Dr Rosa Perez from PAGASA (the Philippines' Met. Office) and Tukul Rameyo Adi & Suratno from BMG, Indonesia. Adi and Suratno were not exactly meteorologists but doing some technical work for BMG. Adi once showed me his wedding photo & I couldn't help laughing because although he looked very nice in his Javanese costume, he had this glassy-eyed expression of disbelief on his face.
When Rosa's stint ended, she said before leaving, "We shall meet again. Meteorology is a small world." This turned out to be true, because I met her some years later in Manila (she seemed to have forgotten me by then, though! :lol: ) Adi also reappeared in our office a couple of years later when he returned for a training workshop. It was nice seeing him again, with his sheepish grin.
The next two ASMC scientists I met were also from PAGASA : Jun & Bubut. I was quite puzzled by their names at first, until I discovered that Jun's real name was Landrico Dalida Jr and that "Jun" was short for "Junior". Bubut (pronounced Boo-Boot) kept insisting her real name was Bubut until someone else told me it was Fredolina Baldonando.
There have been several other ASMC scientists, including a pretty woman meteorologist from Vietnam, but I didn't get to see them much as they seldom came over to the Operations office.
On my first day at work, the Deputy Director noticed that the desk I was using in the library was dusty, so he went off & reappeared with an elderly technician by the name of Edmund, & told him to clean the desk. I felt pretty embarrassed; it's not as if I can't clean my own desk. Anyway I got to chatting with Edmund; he was a wily & intelligent character, & since I was stuck alone in the library for those first few months (while waiting to go to Reading), he was more or less the first friend I had in MSS.
He said his official title was Port Met. Officer, but that this was just a glorified term for the technician who visits the ships that carry our met. equipment. (There are a number of ships that have agreed to carry our met. equipment & collect weather data, & it was Edmund's job to visit them when they came to port in order to collect the data sheets & replace equipment parts when necessary). Edmund would pop by the library sometimes & feed me various bits of gossip about the office; & although there were a lot of things about MSS that he didn't seem happy with, still I noticed he took a lot of pride in doing his job well. Besides collecting ship data, it was also his duty to look through the newspapers every day & cut out all articles related to weather & file them away. He was so meticulous about this that he looked through everything, even the sports section, & if there was even one line mentioning weather (eg that it drizzled during a football match) he would cut the entire article out.
It was Edmund who arranged that Pat & I visit the Changi observing station & also our Upper Air Laboratory at Paya Lebar where the balloon carrying the radiosonde was released. He also arranged for me to accompany him during one of his ship visits. It was interesting - once you enter the container terminal, it's like entering a different world. There are none of the usual road markings & it seemed to me that the vehicles there were simply driving wherever they wanted. The vehicles were enormous (they had to be, in order to transport the containers) & I was quite terrified that one of these monsters would collide with us & crush Edmund's car to a pulp. (I could just imagine the car crumpling up like a piece of paper). The ship seemed enormous too & it was scary climbing the rope ladder up & the climb seemed to take forever. Edmund, in his usual glib manner, informed me that the sailors on board probably hadn't seen a woman for weeks & would be leering at me. However, everyone was very polite while we were there & we collected the data & left without me noticing any leering.
The only time I was ever unhappy with Edmund was when he made me sell T-shirts for him to raise funds for his church & didn't bother to sell any himself. I was quite indignant when I found out I was doing all the work for him! Other than that he has been a good friend & I always enjoyed getting updates from him about his wife & kids & listening to all his stories. I think he could have done better than work at MSS. He said if he were younger & had the capital he'd like to open a restaurant. He speaks well & auditioned to be a DJ once. He seemed interested in everything & once amused me by telling me he reads everything, even the labels on cans. I sometimes think I could take a leaf out of his book. :lol:
SCIENCE CENTRE BOOKLETS
The Singapore Science Centre has published a series of little guide books which I like a lot, on nearly every aspect of Singapore's flora and fauna - wayside trees, birds, sealife, & flowers, to name a few. Some years ago they wanted to have one on the weather of Singapore as well, & asked MSS to help write it. Unfortunately, the project fell through due to lack of funding. I really felt it was a pity, it would be nice if we could have our own weather pocket guide book at last.