(Return to - PART 1)
The company I worked for was a Malaysian family concern. All the brothers, uncles, sons and in-laws of a male persuasion were there. This arrangement guarantees everyone does whatever the hell they want and nobody gets along. A few of them resented the hell out of us Aussies being there.
They’d been tunnelling the old fashioned way for a while using the full manual labour method. Hand jacking a shield into the mud and shoving as many blokes they could fit in the pipe with shovels to dig out the face. A filthy, stinking, dangerous job. They used Thai labour.
Someone decided to get the company into the 20th century and purchased a bunch of brand new hydraulic tunnelling machines. Thailand’s economy was booming. Trouble was they didn’t have enough family members willing to learn how to use their new machines. That’s where I came in.
I seemed a strange choice for the job of site manager on a micro-tunnelling job. Rough as guts smart-arse in my mid 20’s who had run a diamond drill rig underground a bit and worked at a gold mine as a mill operator and truck driver. This was a bit different.
The machines aren’t overly complicated to learn. I got a manual and a Japanese consultant Iseki sent over due to the size of the order. He slept a lot, spoke very little English and wasn't much use.
I reverted to the good old trial and error method. It’s the Australian way.
Like it? See - PART 3