Lest We Forget


Compiled by Faruq Aiman Bostaman

His work – predicting the future

NOVEMBER 25, 1978 – Brunei might soon be getting the first daily forecasts in its history.

This prospect arises from the arrival of Dick Cooper (pic), 39, a weather forecaster from England on a three-year contract with the Civil Aviation Department.

“There is no reason why we shouldn’t be able to produce a 24-hour forecast fairly accurately,” he said.

“Our basic obligation is to aviation and aircraft safety but we could also give a daily forecast for the public.”

However, his main job at the airport’s meteorological station is to let arriving aircraft know what weather to expect.

New equipment is on order to enable the forecasting to be done locally.

“Forecasting temperature and humidity is easy because the variation is so small. The main difficulty will be forecasting the heavy rainfall we get here,” Cooper added.

“There is not an awful lot known about tropical weather, as the most sophisticated meteorological offices exist in temperate climates.”

One of the biggest handicaps to weather men in this part of the world is the lack of observation points.

“This is because there is so much sea in this region and such a large percentage of jungle on land. Also, there are no weather ships until you reach Japan,” he said.

Cooper joined the British Meteorological Office in 1959.


Weather expert’s advice for better forecasts

NOVEMBER 13, 1998 – Intensive and specialised training should be given particular attention if meteorological forecasts were to be more effective.

This is important because the presentation must be clear, easy to understand and attractive, stated the Chief of Public Weather and Operational Information Unit from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), Haleh Kootval (pic), during a recent meeting with media representatives at the Civil Aviation Department.

She was in the country on an official WMO visit to monitor the presentation of meteorological forecasts to the public, especially on television.

She said the presentation of weather forecast should be highlighted with colourful graphics to help the public understand it more clearly.

She added that in western countries, graphics and moving objects are normally shown during television weather forecast.

The print media can also adopt the method of using colourful graphics, she added.

Kootval said presentation methods in some countries were different depending on the experience of staff and equipment available.

There are a lot of steps that could be taken to upgrade meteorological forecast when presenting information on forest fires, haze and change in weather due to the La Nina phenomenon, she said.

She planned to conduct workshop and training courses here to improve weather forecast presentations so that the public can understand them better.

During her stay in the country, she visited several government departments and discussed ways on how WMO can help improve meteorological department services and forecast presentations. – Text and Photo by Achong Tanjong


Telephone exchange trebles capacity

NOVEMBER 23, 1968 – Eighteen months’ work to install equipment to increase Brunei Town’s automatic telephone exchange’s capacity from 1,100 to 3,300 lines has now been completed.

However, most applicants for new telephones will still have to wait until additional cables have been laid to take advantage of the new capacity. Most fortunate will be applicants who are on the route of temporary overhead lines which are being erected in some parts of the town and along the Tutong and Berakas roads to provide immediate relief.

Sixteen cable-carrying pipes have already been laid underground outside the exchange in preparation for a new underground duct scheme, on which work is expected to begin next January.

Installation of the cable-carrying ducts throughout the town area will give Telecommunications Department staff access to cables without having to dig them up. – Text and Photo by Borneo Bulletin

Awang Damit bin Piut, a technical assistant in the Brunei town automatic telephone exchange, points out the rotating selectors which subscribers activate when they pick up their telephones. This is part of the new equipment installed in the exchange