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DOWN MEMORY LANE WITH BORNEO BULLETIN ARCHIVES
|Compiled by Lance Thoo Sin Lin|
Gurkhas in Brunei to be withdrawn
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (December 7, 1974) – Gurkhas based in Brunei will be withdrawn by Britain under further cutbacks in her overseas forces, it was announced this week.
Victims of Britain’s latest defence slashing to save money, detailed by Defence Secretary Mr Roy Mason, are the 1,000 men of the First Battalion, Second King Edward’s Own Gurkhas.
But no date has been fixed for their withdrawal, and reliable local sources say that it will take at least a year to carry out this move.
The Royal Brunei Malay Regiment, meanwhile, is currently in the process of forming its own second battalion to be stationed at Tutong.
Chopper blades hit coconut tree
SANDAKAN (December 29, 1984) – The pilot of a Sabah Air helicopter had a lucky escape when it crashed during takeoff from a timber camp near the eastern-most tip of Sabah last week.
Captain Amarjit Singh, 25, had only minor injuries from the Thursday lunch-time crash, which left his Bell 206 chopper badly damaged.
The aircraft was on charter to the Taerman Hutan Timber Camp (located just north of Dent Haven, that eastern-most tip, and some 180 kilometres south-east of Sandakan) and had just delivered four passengers to the camp after a flight from Sandakan.
Staff of the camp rushed to the pilot’s air and he was taken to the Tambisan clinic for treatment. A four-man investigation team was sent to the crash site. It was reported one of the helicopter’s rotor blades hit a coconut tree; there were strong winds at the time. The Bell, worth $500,000 was one of the two based in Sandakan.
Scramble for new TV channels
DECEMBER 31, 1994 – As five more channels of television entertainment could be viewed in Brunei, hundreds of TV enthusiasts are already making a beeline to a well-known distributor to get their own ‘black boxes’ that enable them to see these popular programmes.
This high-tech gadget costing only $300 is selling like hot cakes in the capital and the demand is growing almost overnight, trade circles told the Weekend Bulletin.
The “black boxes” or the decoder enables the subscribers to decrypt scrambled programmes beamed by Star TV and CNN, which cannot be obtained on the ordinary TV screen.
Enthusiastic viewers who learnt of the decoder on sale just by word of mouth are rushing to the only shop authorised to distribute them, observers said.
There has been a bid turn out since the day the item was put out for sale, said Awang Ahmad, an executive in the private sector who joined the crowds to buy the decoder.
Five new channels available through the decoder include Star movies, TNT Cartoon Network, ESPN, Discovery and Home Box Office (HBO), an all movie programme.
Viewers in Brunei who could only view local programmes plus three Malaysian TV channels have been hooked on their tubes since few months ago when Star TV and CNN began their services.
However, the five new channels have been encrypted making it impossible to watch these programmes without a decoder, informed sources said.
But with the decoder now made available, viewers can make their choice. – Malai Hassan Othman
Public call for more work safety measures at construction sites
DECEMBER 27, 2004 – Several concerned members of the public have called for security and safety features to be provided to construction workers especially those working at high-rise buildings.
They expressed their shock to the Bulletin after witnessing several construction workers working on a rooftop of a four-storey construction block apparently without adequate safety equipment.
The workers were reportedly seen sitting on the rooftop without any visible signs that they were tied to a secure beam. Safety harnesses could help ensure that the workers do not fall to their deaths or sustain serious injuries should they slip.
A few of the workers were also seen walking precariously across to the end of the unfinished block on a roof beam barely as wide as the soles of their shoes.
“They may not fall but accidents do happen. If they were safely tied to beams or posts at least it would be safer should they slip,” they said.
Witnesses then urged concerned employers to enhance security features for their workers especially those in the construction industry.
They said that one way to instil in workers a greater sense of safety awareness and to make them aware of their rights to safety protection is to stress that their lives are at stake, and to ensure that their representatives on worksite safety committees fully understand the objectives of such committees.
It would also boost the morale of employees if the top management of companies, in a display of care and concern for staff welfare, make regular, unannounced inspections of worksites to observe the working conditions of their employees and to understand the risks they face.
Bosses can also grant their safety managers direct access to the workers so complaints and near-accidents are reported instead of being covered up by line managers.
Workers should also be provided with incentives such as free holidays and awards when they achieve accident-free periods.
The construction industry contributes to more than 28,000 jobs, nearly 90 per cent of which are filled by foreign workers, according to a report made in 2002. – Rosli Abidin Yahya
© 2013 Borneo Bulletin Online - The Independent Newspaper in Brunei Darussalam, Sabah and Sarawak