Mr Hoe Jerome Nukunonu Viali
Director of Civil Aviation
Ministry of Work, Transport and Infrastructure, Samoa
When you meet Mr Hoe Viali for the first time, his great sense of humour is what leaves an impression. That is what keeps you from backing off from the imposing rugby player build he presents. Laughing uproariously, he ensures any sense of distance disappears instantly. In town for the International Conference on Air Transport, Air Law and Regulation, he feels so at ease in Singapore that he regards it as his second home.
The 49-year-old speaks fondly of the good relations and cooperation between the two countries. “Singapore has been a really good friend to Samoa,” he pointed out. “Not only in terms of aviation related training, where SAA has helped groomed our staff, but also in other areas such as the kidney dialysis unit built by Singapore in Samoa in 1999.”
Having been in the industry since 1979, the years of experience and insight gained previously at the Samoan Airport Authority not only made him an expert on tactical operations but have also helped him develop a unique perspective on related issues. His present position has posed new challenges and broadened the scope of work, allowing him to contribute in areas such as policy implementation. As a policy-maker now, he personally decides on training and professional competency of his staff.
On efforts to mitigate the industry’s impact on the environment, he adopts a more pragmatic stance, “The Pacific Islands are one of the areas most vulnerable to the consequences of global warming as rising sea levels threaten the very existence of our countries. Unfortunately, we cannot turn back the clock. Even while we work to mitigate the situation, we need to ensure it will not affect the tourist industry as it is a major source of income for us,” he elaborated.
Not one to be all work and no play, Mr Viali is the President of a prominent rugby club back in Samoa and was an active player as recently as 2004. All this in addition to spending quality time with his seven kids, aged between nine and 28.
Singapore holds great memories and culinary delights for him. Chicken rice is his favourite local fare. In fact, he was so taken with the dish that he brought packets of the instant mix home to Samoa, only to have them disappear after three days. Singapore has won yet another fan through its cuisine!