We've just got back from Langkawi Retreat 2005. It was themed 'The Leap Year'. 'What leap year?', did you ask? It's a year where we will be making 4 critical 'leaps' in our journey as a team. Let's call them,
- Sales Target Leap
- Technology Leap
- Brand Leap
- Team Leap
We left KLIA in an oldish AirAsia bird at about 12.55 pm, Thurs, 6/1/05. We arrived at Langkawi at about 2.00 pm.
It was sunny and windy at Langkawi.
The travel agent assigned to pick us up waved a 'XiMner Team' signage at the Arrival Hall.
XiMner..? That's us!!?
OK, that's not that bad sounding for sure. But, what/who are we? XiMnettes? XiMnetians? XiMmers? XiMs? Nettes?...I don't know.
What about 'X-Men'? Hrm...Our newspaper vendor down our office at MPPJ call us 'X-Men'. He simply can't say the odd looking, weird sounding (to him at least), 'XiM Net'. Our 'now on another job that thrills' Founder left a permanent 'scar' on us...an unspeakable word for a name...
'Aahhh, X-Men, you punya paperrr, 'The Starr', itu lagi ambik 'Ed-gee', (The Edge, he says it as 'Edgy') sudah mari'.
Back to the trip.
We got to Holiday Villa and unpacked quickly. By the time I went to the beach, I saw Deb walking away, Pinky 'sun-bathing' with a white tower over herself (!!?) and Andrew and Daniel walking aimlessly.
Flo and Lydia were digging up hermit crabs...
I walked with Andrew and Daniel to the rocky edges at the left side of the sandy beach. After snapping some pics, we joined Flo, Lydia and Jasmin digging for hermit crabs and flinging 'beached' star fishes at each other. (OK, I was throwing star-fishes at them like a ninja...Andrew got attracted to the sliming star-fishes...for whatever reasons...')
It must have been around 4.30 pm when we were soaking up the 'calmness of nature'...
OK, if you really need to ask. No...the tsunami didn't make a comeback. The sea didn't retreat or foam at us. It was strangely 'laid-back'. It was quiet...polite...but unapologetic.
The sea was just itself that day.
But the sea was cold. The land temperature must have been around 32-34 celcius. The sea water was about 24-26 celcius, I think. It felt that cold. And it was bitterly salty. I don't remember the Andaman sea being that cold or salty...not like the South China Sea. And it was full of algae...or were those seaweeds splayed from the bottom of the sea? I don't know...
I didn't want to think too much about the sea water.
We went back to the hotel's pool at around 6.00pm. We slipped into the open-air jacuzzi and a few 'Mat-Sallehs' leaped out, as quickly as we came.
Did we looked like we have SARS? But none of us look Japanese enough to be mistaken for Mr or Mrs Tsunami...
That 's when I witnessed an Italiano senora walked up to her husband and twacked his head from behind.
And as she turned and walked away, she was berating him loudly for all to hear. It was such elegant anger! Just like the operas but no music in this case. Just the giggles of 3 kids punctuating the pauses of her lyrical outbursts. Must be Italian kids...them.
--Angry stream of words & rolling of tongue. Pause. *Insert giggles*
--More angry stream of more angry words & faster rolling of tongue. *Insert louder giggles*
I sat there trying hard to focus on the bubbling water and positioning my body for the water jet to massage my back.
'Mind over matter...mind over matter...Ohmm...', I chanted within. But it was no good...the opera was too intense for me to relax...
I dived into the main pool and swam away.
He was chatting up the pool waitress...that Italian guy, you know...and maybe she (the senora) had too much of pepperoni pizzas that day. Good thing it wasn't a rolling pin that landed on the back of his head that day...
Later, we watched a short movie called 'Legacy' and then worked through Steven Covey's, 'The 7 Habits' from 9.00 pm till past midnight. The session was capped with awards for 'The Apostles'.
The next morning, we aligned ourselves to our corporate goals and calibrated our compass for 2005. Flo talked about 'The 6 Thinking Hats' and we explored our team synergy rating with Human Synergistics' Sea Survival Game. As I've always known, our team needs more work to leverage on individual strengths. Later Andrew took us through 'The Branding Gap'.
At about 4.00 pm, Lydia drove us on a Spectra van to the 7 Wells. We saw the effects of the tsunami on some kampungs along Pantai Cenang. It was bad enough. I think some villagers were having a funeral prayer. They were dressed formally and crowded silently around a house, the area surrounded by dried-up, muddy mess.
The 7 Wells was a steep climb. Everyone was panting by the time we got up there.
I took out my shoes and soaked my feet in a cold, gurgling brook with small fishes. Hrmm....the feeling was heavenly. Others joined in. I am not sure if we've disturbed the ecological balance of the forest with our act of selfish pleasure. I guess we didn't because I looked out for tell-tale signs but I didn't see any dead fishes floating downstream.
But there was a lone monkey who dipped his cupped hand and drank-up many times at the slippery edge (cheers to that!) before the stream cascade down the rocks to the waterfall below.
Did he taste something extra sweet that day? Ahh...I don't know...
When we got down to our Spectra at the foot of the hill, another lone monkey sat on top of our green van and he/she was trying to get inside. I think he (...got to be a 'he', no mannerslah...) saw my 'Ngan Yin' ground-nuts inside our van.
Was it the nuts, or was it the 'Thumb Up' brand he was trying to have? Does branding work on monkeys too? Will he also eat 'Tong Garden's nuts?
Are you nuts?
On Saturday morning, we took the cable car and went up to Gunung Mat Cincang. It was an worthwhile experience! The view from the summit was exhilarating. There was a suspended bridge at the top but it wasn't ready for visitors yet. The observation deck was well built and we breathed in the cool air and the took in the sights for about half an hour.
Then we descended.
We hopped into our Spetra and headed for Kuah town. After picking up some duty-free items, we arrived at the airport. A strange Russian steel bird came by. The Russians discovered Langkawi...
We departed a windy and sunny Langkawi at 5.45pm and landed at a gloomy and rainy KLIA at about 7.00pm.
It had been fun. We all wished we could stay longer. Ah...that's an indicator of a good trip.
For now, we are reminded of the 2nd Habit of Steven Covey: 'Begin with the end in mind'
And we are now ready to 'Make the Leap!' and take on the world, starting for 2005!
Check out the pics here :