Well, to be fair, the students loved the place. They shared three to a room and these rooms are spacious. Actually, they were supposed to share 4 to a room but 11 students didn't show up despite confirming by phone. Hhhm, I think they should miss a turn and "go straight to jail". The students also enjoyed the food and the line dancing and the environment around the Resort. Lots of big trees have been retained. But construction is as usual shoddy. So when it rained, you have walk through puddles of water. And with the continuous stream of rain channelled down on to the rocks just outside my room window, I thought the sky had fallen down. And the rain washed out our outdoor programme on sunday afternoon. I think the students were very disappointed.
Ah, not only the no-shows who should go to jail. The Resort guys should also go to jail. When we were negotiating, they promised that transport would not be a problem. 60 people one shot, can handle ah? No problem, we have this and that; priority given to guest. So 8.30 am came and there was still no boat. Ah, ferry out of service, have to use smaller boats. By the time the "captain" left the Penang Island Jetty, it was already 9.30 am. I gave the guy a loooong piece of my mind. I said I am not recommending their resort in future.
Janet didn't waste time getting the students to get to know each other as we waited for the boat. This is called ice-breaking
Only because of the boat? Oh, my beef is more than that. Already my staff had visited earlier and found out that the promised WIFI only covers the ballroom area. We were promised WIFI is everywhere. "I want it in writing", I said. "No need, it's everywhere" - the Resort's sales rep responded. How about discount for the SPA? I give you 30%, to all USM participants. And then I discover from the web that EVERYONE gets 30%. So, not very honest about it. Hhm, we want smaller breakout rooms. Hhhm, Hah, emm - long story short, we can use the ballroom only, partitioned into two, that means two groups to one partition. After the first session, the manager was called. Can you do something about it? It's too noisy. He thought for awhile. Sorry, I can't do anything. There are actually two more smaller rooms. Sorry, cannot help. I went to take a look at the rooms. Nicely arranged with mineral water bottles (definitely not in my seminar room) on the tables. But nobody around. Maybe already reserved. BUT nobody is using it when we wanted it.
Talking about water. There was a huge plastic container (which was cover with a red cloth because the outside itself looked shabby) filled with water in the ballroom. I had given instructions - "I don't want to see any water in plastic bottles". And no plastic wraps on the food. Well, I was the first to drink. I didn't suspect anything. And then Abe filled up his tumber and saw particles. So we called management. OK, they took the who container away. Brought in one with a clear glass usually used for juice. Guess what. The first glass full by Lean Heng was cloudy (and stayed cloudy). The next glass showed brown particles in it. And we were told that the water was actually from mineral bottles! (not good huh? they don't understand why we don't want to use water from plastic bottles). So, back it goes. And out came several metal jugs with water in it.
One of my colleagues had a horrific experience (and she told the manager over breakfast - "I am so sorry about this", was what the manager could offer; and a huge freshly cut papaya). She had a sore throat. Called up reception, 4 or 5 times over a period of one hour, just to get some salt to gurgle. She got some "salt" from one of the staff. When she gurgled, it tasted funny. She's very sensitive and upon examining the crystal discovered it was MSG! Eventually, a technician who came to fix the air-con went to the kitchen and brought a salt shaker. Guess what? It was empty. Poor thing, she had to open up the bottle and tried to scrimp for the few grains of salt. Horror story huh?
Well, the bottomline is, it is not designed for seminars and workshops. So, please lah, don't sell seminar and workshop packages! Team-building, maybe - if you don't washed out by heavy rain.
Janet asked me in Langkawi - "why do you blog". "It's my release", I said. I guess also some people seems to like reading my blog. One of them in the picture is a fan of my blog.
Oh, what about the workshop itself? How did it go? Over lunch, I called a couple of students over and asked "So, how do you feel after listening to VC?". She said, "I feel like what we have done in the workshop is useless". My next post will address this.