Wednesday, April 29, 2009

That Sinking Feeling

The tranquil surroundings of the training ground

" Intern will most likely be required to commute to our offshore facilities "

I was quite excited when I found out about this in my confirmation letter. After all, not everybody gets the chance to commute to an offshore platform in the middle of the sea.

The closest I have been to it is in PetroSains, but instead of fighting for tickets with hyperactive schoolkids for entry to the platform, this time I am going to the real thing.

And because of that, I need to clear 1 last hurdle before I am deem worthy.....the Basic Offshore Safety Emergency Training

The 3 day training is conducted at SMTC's training ground not far from our office. We get a rough idea of what to expect from our conversation with colleagues who had done it all before.

Of course, they told us it's going to be a fun & enjoyable ride. Yeah, right...

First thing that you will notice after stepping into the training ground is the large swimming pool. You see that 2 storey high platform in the pic, that's where we are supposed to jump from as part of the training.

But for the 1st day, we did not do any water related activities. Instead, we learn all about FIRE & FIREFIGHTING. For the practical training, each of us took turns to enter into a Smoke Room, which if you haven't realised already, is a room completely filled with smoke.

The Smoke Room is actually the little container
the helicopter

Don't be fooled by the small size of the room. It's very dark inside, you won't be able to see a thing. The trick here is to keep your right hand in constant contact with the wall & sooner or later you will reach the exit.

Then we moved on to extinguishing a fire with, well a fire extinguisher. This is the same thing a bomba will demonstrate to you during one of those dreaded fire drills. Somehow, I haven't tried doing it before because I was *cough* too shy to volunteer every time they came to my school.

There is no exception here though, so everybody has to do it ala Burning Flame.

On the 2nd day, we did our Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (HUET). And yes, it is really as scary as it sounds.

For the HUET, we are supposed to use this thingy called the Emergency Breathing System (EBS). This thing is suppose to help us breathe 'normally' when we went underwater. We had to breathe through our mouth instead of nose, it is quite a challenge and definitely not 'normal'.

Now is a good time to start panicking

Then, we got into a fake helicopter & where they slowly dunk us into the water. Once the water reaches chest level, we all deployed our EBS. Before long the whole heli went underwater & PANIC kicks in!

I unbuckled my belts quicker than you can say 'Houdini' & immediately drag myself out of the damned thing thru the window.

Ever wonder what it feels like to be inside a spinning
washing machine?

It's very scary, more so for a non swimmer like me. I am not even using the EBS correctly, just virtually holding my breath & clinging on for dear life.

The worst part is we had to get back in for another 2 rounds. For the 2 rounds, the heli was capsizing & we were being turned upside down. It's even scarier as we remained underwater for a longer period of time.

Can't believe the company actually paid RM1000+ for us to undergo this kind of torture. It's like volunteering ourselves for waterboarding.

The whole heli sinks faster than the global economy

The 3rd & final day is also spent mostly in the pool. This time we had our lifejacket on & had to do all the survival techniques such as chain swimming, huddling & the survival circle. I actually enjoyed this part, with the lifejacket on you felt like you are lying on top of a giant water bed.

Doing the survival circle

And finally before we can get the safety endorsement, we had to jump from 8 metres into the pool! Suddenly the platform looks so much higher than the one I remember seeing during the 1st day.

Looking down to the wavy waters underneath will make you develop vertigo instantly. But there's no turning back from there.

When it's my turn to jump, I strode up to the platform & stood at the very edge of it. One hand covered my nose while another held on to my lifejacket. Then, I took 1 look below to make sure there's no obstacles. Took a step forward & just plunged downwards.

The most important thing here is to cross your legs, or else there will be no more happy hours for you according to my trainer.

With that, I concluded my BOSET Training. I got my safety endorsement, a certificate & a car sticker that reads...


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Suddenly In Miri

It's been months since my last blog post. In fact, I am suppose to blog about my trip to Melaka but everything came to an abrupt end during the intense period of studying for my finals.

Didn't even log into my Blogger account for ages. Obviously, there will be a massive gap in the timeline of this blog.

I was enjoying life in KL, went to Melaka during my last post...then suddenly *poof* I am in Miri, Sarawak now.

The obvious question will then be, what am I doing here in The Land of Hornbills, Kolok Mee & Kenny Sia?

*answering my own question*

Well, I am here to do my internship, attached to a large/huge/gigantic multinational company for 20 long (hopefully not miserable) weeks.

I am not going to name the company though, in case I need to badmouth them here in my blog in the future. Due to my tendency to procrastinate, I am actually already into my 2nd week of internship.

I depart from LCCT on 12th April. Since I will be relocating myself there, there is quite alot of things to bring along. My 2 luggage bags looked like it's going to burst open anytime.

And when I check in both my luggage bags, imagine my horror when I found out that it was overweight by a whopping 7kg & for that I was charged an extra RM105! That's almost the price of my flight ticket itself!!

My friend's luggage bag was even larger, he can even fit a washing machine in there if he wants to. And for that he was fined close to RM200. That makes me feel a whole lot better ha ha

It's like going for the movies & buying another seat just to put your popcorn.
Thanks alot Mr Tony Fernandes.

Two hours later, we arrived in Miri. The airport is so much better than LCCT. It makes LCCT looked like Tesco with check in counters & lots of chairs.

For all you ignorant city dwelling people who thinks Miri is just a small shanty town. It's actually a Bandaraya which puts it on the same level as *gasp* KL.

We checked into Imperial Hotel in the heart of Miri. We get an amazing room with kitchen, washing machine, Astro, a double bed & daily buffet breakfast to boot...all paid for by the company.

We lived like kings, at least for 5 days.

It has been an enjoyable 1st week in this part of Malaysia. Will try to blog more about life from the eyes of a KLite in Miri, but don't get your hopes too high though ;)

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