There are some things in life that can never be explained.Amongst those things,are the inexplicable nature of me having a stomachache as soon as I board the ferry and then suffering from the worst bout of seasickness ever.So,God hath humbled my darn egoistical perspective that I will never be seasick.In fact,I had brought along a thick book to read.Needless to say,the only book I should have brought along on that trip,should be entitled,”The Idiot’s Guide to Surviving Ferry Rides”.It still brings a smile to my face when I recall,just how someone was banging his fist onto the bathroom door,in which I was in.He banged and banged and all I did was to bang back in return.He must have crapped his waste in his pants.I learned a lesson.Never drink coffee on a morning ferry ride.
First Day & Night
Reaching the island’s ferry terminal was a relief.We were ushered out,and I noted with glee at how all the items were priced and pegged to the Singapore currency.In other words,the island was a rich man’s playground.My colleagues and I were then brought in the bus,amidst the greeneries and sea view of the island.
The Bintan Lagoon Resort was a 15 minutes journey away from the terminal.We were surprised that it had to take a certain amount of distance to reach.I thought that such things were always,within an arm’s length.Apparently not.
Upon reaching,as the bus pulled away into the entrance of the resort,we were greeted by a rapturous welcome of traditional dance,done by a pair of songket clad dancers.The lady dancers were eye candy.I’ve always admired that part of our culture.The traditional Malay dance.It’s elegant and sophisticated at the same time.A uniformed lady,not looking more than 20 years in age,handed me a glass of orange juice.Excellent welcoming gesture.A good start.
I checked into my room.I was scheduled to bunk in with my manager.Initially,I had my apprehensions on how that will work out,but on the good faith of learning,it was not a bad idea after all.Lunch followed after that.The spread of food was just heavenly.It was everything you would expect out of a high end resort.I ate to my heart’s contents,with servers attending to my every needs and whims.”Excuse me,coffee please,”became my calling card for the trip.
That very first night,I craved for my session of relaxation.My director,who was an avid fan of karaoke suggested that we book a room for a long night of lullabies.After dinner that night,Fariz,Mikael and myself made our way to the Leisure Clubhouse.As we trudged our feet down the winding staircase,we noted that there was a club of some sort.We peered inside,and our sights were greeted with the gyrating bodies of ladies and men,with the blaring noise of a live band playing your usual dose of Top 40s.Looking at each other,we nodded in agreement,that it was not the night to revel in such merriments.Thus we made our way up to the karaoke lounge.
The lounge was atypical of those you find almost anywhere in this archipelago.Dark and filled with cleavage baring hostesses.Okay,I’m exaggerating.That particular lounge that night had only one,cleavage baring lady,greeting us.Heh.Due to the lack of rooms,as the rest were booked earlier,we had to entertain the idea of singing in their lounge.We called our director who was one her way to the lounge,with the rest of my colleagues,telling her of the lack of available rooms.She was fine with it.And so we proceeded to the lounge area.The supposed space that should be filled with patrons hovering over bar counters.But lo and behold,there was nobody there.Yups.Nobody.So,we had that big area all for ourselves.My agency had the lounge for ourselves into the wee hours of the morning.
Woke up early to perform my dusk prayers.Amazingly,the sky was clear,even though it was only dusk.I’m amazed at the nature of how the sun rises in islands.In Singapore,it always seems very dark,but I guess that’s just because our island is filled with tall buildings,that obscures the sun’s rays.I had a light breakfast of pancakes and maple syrup even though there were things such as cereals,mee,rice,toasted bread and other spread of breakfast.But I knew that my stomach did not have the tolerance for such things so early in the morning.
After breakfast,we had the proposed Annual Yearly Planning session.It was a fun session of recognitions and goal setting.I was fired up by the atmosphere and pledged my goals with utmost enthusiasm.I want to go Las Vegas next year.With my family,God willing.Besides,it’s about high time,I enjoy my fair share of this business.I’ve been far too generous with my treatment to prospects and clients.Need to be firm,cause it’s for a long term gain for a long term relationship.
After the session of meeting,I suggested to my colleagues that we head over to the Leisure Clubhouse to have a session of Laser Quest.5 other colleagues gamely sounded their interest.At the stipulated time,we met and arrived at the clubhouse.2 females and 4 jocks.We decided to split into teams of two.Three teams.The female of the group who decided to stick together was seen to be our shooting ducks.And thus the game began…
I was running around like a commando,screaming things like,”Die,you freaking bitch,swallow my bullets you darn alien,eat my dusts you mutilated zombies!”Yups.I was reliving my fantasies of shooting down entities,who in reality are colleagues,but within the confinements of the arena,are zombies.My gun kept going down on me,and I had to exchange my kit many times before I finally settled on one.I rolled,I jumped and I ran.My knee worked in tandem with my frantic mind.I shot my own team mate too,in that euphoric madness.
15 minutes later,the game ended.As I made my way out of the door,I was so sure I had it nailed.I should have the top scores all sewn up.Guess what greeted the rankings?I was placed third.The first spot was my unit’s PA,Siti followed by her team mate Moonly.And their team won the team’s tops score.What the hell?4 beefed up men,bested by females?You know what they say.In warfare,there should be no sympathies.I forgot that.Siti was the leading markswoman in gunning me down.I was shot the most by her.Darn.
After the session,we all made our way to Pasar Oleh Oleh to get some goodies,to bring home.Nothing interesting to explore,though I did travel alone exploring the sleepy village and found a beautiful yet simple built mosque.It was just a relaxing ambiance to be in.Spent some time there listening to the Quranic recitations blaring over the loud speakers placed at the mosque’s minaret.Singapore’s mosques could do well to emulate such practices.
We then left the village,back to have our dinner at the resort.The idea of continuing the karaoke session came about again,and so we did just that.Fariz had rented Monopoly,and whilst we were sitting outside,to start playing,one of the lounge’s hostesses made her way out,dressed in fancy clothing.I could not help but ask,as to where she was going.She replied that she was off to the club we found the day earlier,since she was done with her shift.After bidding her farewell,we(Fariz,Mikael and myself),looked at each other.The silence said it all.
As we were rushing back to our rooms,we were surprisingly,held up by the appearance of a big group of Indonesian transvestites,dressed seductively.It was an ego boosting session,as we received cat calls and whistles.3 men being whistled at by 8 men/women.It felt good.Anyway,they were making their way to the club,and so we know,it will be an interesting night.We all made arrangements to meet in 10 minutes.As I was changing,Zai,my manager came back to the room.I was laughing inside and just saying softly,that this was perhaps God’s way of saying that I should abandon the whole idea.Visiting a club Jaz?Hahahaah.
Zai asked,”You going out?”
“Yupz.To play Monopoly with Fariz and Mikael.”was my immediate reply.So,the lie mechanism had just kicked in.I was half cursing my answer.A lie,darn.
“Great,I’ll see you guys downstairs then.We can have our chat about the unit whilst playing,”he answered.
Immediately,I smiled.I knew that it was not meant to be.With a nod in my head,I made my way out of the door.The generic lie machine in my mind started formulating an escape strategy.As soon as the elevator made its way down,Fariz ran up to me.
“Dude,”I said,”Zai’s coming down.”
“What?Hey Jaz,do something lah,”came his exasperated reply.And I did,I picked the phone up,dialed my room number and handed it to Fariz,and I signaled to Mikael who followed behind me,as we made our way into the club.Leaving Fariz alone in his moments of exasperation was a mistake.Cause,my hope of him perhaps saving the situation was unfounded.Cause,as I was just settling into my seat,in walked Fariz with Zai tailing behind.Hahahahahahaah.I think our facial expression at that moment must have betrayed us.Zai sat beside me,and a lady server came up beside me,an whispered into my ears,asking for the orders.
“All Diet Coke,”I whispered back.Wahahahahaha.But seriously folks,even without Zai around,I would have still ordered Coke.I’ve given up on drinking eons ago.But the look on Fariz and Mikael was cute and definitely Kodak moments.The looks that say,
“I’m here to nail some chicks and chill my mind,and here is my mentor/manager sitting around!”
As I was sitting down there,I was thankful that I was married.Cause I felt grounded.The leers and lingering eye contacts were replied with my confident smile of appreciation.I’m not being pompous in saying this,but I felt confident,that for the first time,I was being “checked out” instead of the adverse opposite.I listened appreciatively at the live band’s take on Top 40s,as the 8 transvestites made the dance floor theirs.I was giggling non stop watching this particular one in the group struggling to keep her tube on,as she danced.Cause there were no boobs to support the tube,it kept sliding down.I was laughing away,and highlighted it to Zai,who just nodded.Zai paid for the drinks.SGD$8 a glass.For Diet Cokes.Darn.
An hour of being mesmerized,we decided that enough was enough,and so we made our way out and sat at the veranda of the resort.Zai started on his moments of reflections,and I knew that Fariz and Mikael was gonna on screen saver mode.Hahahaha.Zai asked,how I felt.I told him that I’m immune to such experiences.Numb to the deceptive nature of entertainment.But I did agree with him on the aspects of taking care of one’s spiritual strength.You definitely do not want to be caught in a blazing fire and die in the club,God forbid.But the flipside of the coin also,highlighted to me,the need to just be grounded,and not be fazed by such things.Nothing outwardly happened.And I did not think it would have,even if Zai was not around.
After that short session of reflection,we decided to head back to our rooms.I decided to play Monopoly,and headed to Fariz’s room.Once inside,Fariz was adamant that we return to the club.I tried dissuading him,but the attempt was futile I guess,because in a mere five minutes,we were indeed back in the club.This time without Zai.As we were sitting down,I managed to chat up a few locals there.As I was chatting away,Fariz and Mikael indicated that they were gonna step outside for a while and will be back.Noting that I had company of the resorts staff,I nodded.Half an hour later,there were still no signs of them.I excused myself from the newly acquainted group,and stepped out of the club.What greeted me was amusing.
Fariz and Mikael were chatting up the transvestites.One of the m,was sprawled on the grass patch,with his/her top off,and skirt in disarray.Two were having their arms around and on Fariz’s trousers.One was leading Mikael down a dark corner.One of them who was sitting down,pulled my hand,indicating me to sit down.I did.
“You look good.You want a smoke?”the he/she asked.
I shook my head.
“Okay.”came the reply and before I knew it,he/she fainted to the floor.Totally wasted.Hahahahaha.
I called out to Fariz and Mikael,and we made our quick escape.As we headed back to our room,we exchanged funny anecdotes about the whole thing with the transvestites.Apparently they were trying to make Fariz take his pants off,and one was offering Mikael a “spit”.A slang for oral sex.Wahahahaahaha.How come not one of those was offered to me?It was funny.Precariously funny though,cause we could have ended up as rape victims.
We came back into our room at 2 am,and out of boredom decided to really play Monopoly.I am proud to say that I was the undisputed real estate tycoon that morning,as Fariz and Mikael conceded defeat.The game ended at 4 am,by which we were also totally wasted.
Whilst on the bed,we decided to exchange stories.Man stories.Things you do not share with the female gender.Most were humorous.Some were weird.But it was just a great alpha male bullshit.We did made a promise that whatever that was shared,will be within the island of Bintan.I then made that statement of,”Whatever happens in Bintan,stays in Bintan,”in reference to its Vegas namesake.And we dozed off.
We headed back in happiness and satisfaction.I made a quick round of the resort in the morning,and noted with awe at the immense power of the waves beating the beaches of Bintan.I still shudder at the thought of how a tsunami can just wipe out the entire face of an island.And I’m sure Bintan is not invincible to such calamities.I said a silent prayer of safety.I was a bit terrified,seeing the waves of the South China Sea.
The trip home was smooth sailing.
I was glad to be home.to the arms of my wife and son,and my family.
Whatever that happened in Bintan,stayed in Bintan.Sweet memories of friendship and teamwork.Definitely looking forward to my next unit trip.