In case you missed it, here’s the link to the Day 1 blog post of the program: [link]
THIS POST IS A DETAILED RECOUNTING OF DEFINITELY THE MOST AWESOMESAUCE FIVE-DAY FOUR-NIGHT HOLIDAY WORKSHOP EVER!!!
Oh yeah, Tun Dr Mahathir was there some of the time with us too.
So read on for the second day of my thrilling time with the program!
Day 2 – Saturday, 27 March 2010
Balaganesh was a really cool roommate. Today was the first time in my life I’d been woken from my sleep by a catchy Tamil song! Nothing like good Indian music to start your day, especially when it’s 6.15am in the morning!
So after freshening up a little and getting dressed, the both of us made our way downstairs. It was 6.50am and Genting was freezing cold!
Up an’ At ’em!
According to our schedule, we were supposed to have morning exercise. Surprisingly most of us managed to turn up on time.
After a short briefing by one of our fitness instructors – his name eludes me now – we set off for a brisk morning walk through the misty landscape.
Boy, was it misty! You couldn’t see anything more than 10m away from you because of all the thick clumps of mist!
L-R: Zahid (UM), Baehaqie (UPSI), Firwan (IIUM), Fahmi (UM), Awesomesauce.
Our walk took us to the Telematch Field for a rousing round of aerobics. The instructors really put us through our paces – I remember using a lot of muscles that hadn’t been used in awhile!
Breakfast was definitely at the top of everyone’s mind when we were done. But we couldn’t sit on our butts enjoying the food forever; the next agenda on our program beckoned. I managed to wolf down some cereal before rushing back to the room for a hot shower.
Dr. Fazley was on hand to welcome us at the meeting venue, a hall downstairs called Dewan Tanau. He gave us a briefing on what to expect, and chastised some of us for our dismal test scores.
Apparently the committee had already finished marking more than a few papers, and the results did not look promising. Ouch! I’m sure everyone in the hall at the time smarted a bit when Dr. Fazley said that.
We didn’t have much time to mull it over though, as our guests-of-honor for the session that morning had just arrived.
Our panelists this morning were: (L-R) Tan Sri Khalid Abdullah, Dato’ Fuad Tan Sri Hassan (the director of JASA as our moderator), Tan Sri Sanusi Junid and Datuk A. Kadir Jasin.
The speakers all personally knew Tun Dr. Mahathir to some extent, and were here to share their knowledge of his leadership from three different aspects: political, economic and journalism.
Later, J.R. – a law student from UKM – seized the opportunity to quiz Tan Sri Sanusi on the 1988 constitutional crisis supposedly engineered by Mahathir. Tan Sri Sanusi’s reply was.. well, let’s just say I’ll take what was said with a pinch of salt!
On a side note, waking up early did have its drawbacks. Many of us began to feel sleepy during the session. Worse, some of us actually did manage to fall asleep. I wonder if the camera crew caught any footage of those catching their forty winks.
Running out of time, we were quickly ushered to lunch and last minute preparations for the arrival of Tun Dr. Mahathir for the officiation ceremony.
L-R: Ravin Kumar (UTM), Sivabalan Perumal (USM), Tashrieq Haiqal
(Limkokwing), Firwan (IIUM), Awesomesauce, Krishna Moorti (UKM)
It took awhile before he did actually get there, but he received a rousing welcome from all the assembled guests – VIPs that seemed to have turned out of nowhere, including the state directors of JASA and members of JASA’s think tank, and us humble students.
According to a few people, they were shocked to see how much he had shrunk. We later learned through his speech that he’d overstrained himself during his holiday in Argentina, and was now recuperating under the strict advice of his personal physician.
So Tun gave his speech.. about leadership, charisma, daring to do the right thing in the face of intense opposition. All in all, definitely something that inspired a lot of people in that hall that day, especially us students.
Question and answer saw almost half our number race to the nearest microphones. As expected, not even half of us got to speak, considering time limitations.
Still, Tun Dr. Mahathir fielded the dozens hundreds thousands of questions gracefully. He demonstrated the sharp wit and sharper tongue many had come to know so well.
His self-deprecating sense of humor was definitely something that clicked with the crowd, especially when he said,
“Leaders must learn from history so that they do not make the same mistake twice. Unfortunately, I myself have picked the wrong deputy twice so I guess I still have much to learn from history!”
I didn’t get to ask Tun my question though. But no fear, simple because..
Mealtime with Tun
..high tea was something else entirely.
Our elected Penghulu, Wan Ahmad Hazman (UTM) – we chose him the night before, along with Nur Fatima Wahida (UiTM Shah Alam) as our de facto group leaders – pulled me aside after the speech by Tun Dr. Mahathir. He said I’d be sitting with Tun and his wife, Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah, at the same table for high tea.
Like, what the hell?! Chance of a lifetime, dream come true yahoooo!!
*clears throat, regains composure*
Actually, I didn’t get to sit next to either one of them. That honor fell to Tashrieq Haiqal (Limkokwing) and Firwan (IIUM), while I sat across the great couple. The rest of us at the table were:
- Berlina Dolores Doyou (UTM) – a sweet Ipoh-born lass!
- Nurul Rafeeza (UiTM) – awesome and pretty chick thankin’ her lucky stars!
- Thara Zainal (UMS) – the cutest participant EVER like OMGiwannachewonyourcheeks cute!
- Ravin Kumar (UTM) – not just Ipohan, but Michaelian too!
- Amy – having already got to know her before, I called her ‘sweetheart’ throughout the meal, LOL!
Best Foot Forward
I didn’t get to sit long though. Up next were the performances for Tun Dr. Mahathir, and I needed to ready myself for helping out with the taekwondo one!
There were a number of performances scheduled that night:
- Dikir barat kompang solo performance by Datu Mohd Rais Aslam (UMS)
- Piano duet of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” by Gan Sin Dru & Lim Hui Shan (UPM)
- Indian classical dance by Shobana Sandrasegaran (UPM)
- Song duet of Yuna’s “Dan Sebenarnya” and Zee Avi’s “Kantoi” by Nur Sabrina and Areej (UPM) with guitar accompaniment by Samuel Nadarajan (UNIMAS)
- “Taerobics” (combination of taekwondo and aerobics) by Chan Wen Zhen, assisted by myself, Yusuf Hashim, Ahmad Bakri and Ahmad Hazwan (UTP)
- Sajak presentation by Khairunnabihah (UNIMAS), Viknesh Kumar (UTP), and Lim Hui Shan (UPM)
L-R: Hui Shan, Khairunnabihah, Shobana, Sin Dru,
Rais Aslam, Areej, Sabrina, Samuel, Viknesh, Wen Zhen
Needless to say, I’m still blogging so Wen Zhen didn’t knock my block off after all!
Right before Tun Dr. Mahathir and his beloved wife, Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah were whisked away by his entourage, I managed to wriggle my way near him and asked for his autograph.
Cunningly, upon the page where he was going to sign, I had secreted a question that I’d been dared to ask him, albeit slightly reworded:
Tun, how do you keep your complexion so clear and smooth?
He laughed, a chuckle ringing in my ears even now. He turned to me and smiled, and he said:
“I’ll have to write a book on that!”
Drama ala Casanova
We rushed to our rooms after Tun Dr. Mahathir left to prepare ourselves for the night’s activity – a lavish barbecue dinner and impromptu performance night!
The rules were simple: showcase whatever talent you have on stage in front of a judging panel. Top three winners take home prizes!
As I entered the restaurant, I noticed a group of girls discussing animatedly about their planned sketch. I approached them to hear what they were planning, but somehow or other got roped in as part of the acting crew!
The role I was going to play? A cheating Casanova who gets discovered by all four of his girlfriends at once! Funnily enough the backdrop was the reunion of our program’s participants about one year down the road.
L-R: Berlina (UTM), Thara Zainal (UMS),
Awesomesauce, Rafeeza (UiTM), Farhan (IIUM)
Speaking of Casanova, that word flashed in my mind while I was in the shower before the dinner. Coincidence?
All Night Long
Many other people took to the stage that night. There was a drum performance, numerous other sketches (strangely involving married couples or families?), medley performances.
Even Dato’ Fuad Tan Sri Hassan got into the act when he played saxophone on stage with the hotel’s live band, and Dr. Fazley took to belting out a couple of hits too!
L-R: Sivananthan (UniKL), Awesomesauce, Berlina (UTM),
Rafeeza (UiTM), Farhan, Nurul Dalilah (IIUM)
It was an awesome night that lasted all the way to 1.30am in the morning. I practically had to drag myself to my room. Before sleeping, though, I took the opportunity to simmer in the hot tub.
Ahh, sweet bliss for my tired, aching muscles!
By the time I actually tucked into bed it was already 3.00am. This program, I thought, could only just get better from here on out!