(The “calm before the storm” when we were early to the highland’s banquet hall)
Considering we are at the highlands, it was cold when I woke at 5.00 pm. It was cold when I stepped on the cold & hard bathroom tiles. It was pure hell when the cold freaking water hit me when I turned on the shower. It was like taking a shower with ice cubes.
It took sometime before I managed to balance the cold & hot water but by then the “damage” has been done. I was shivering as I came out of the shower.
Read Part 1 here
The annual dinner in the highlands was scheduled to start at about 6.30 pm but we were required to be there early for registration. “You don’t register or come late – there is no lucky draw” was the warning from the strict organizing committee. It was held at the Genting International Convention Centre.
It is the best place to have such functions because that place was huge, having at least 5 halls (as per my last count) at one place and within walking distance from our hotel.
We managed to reach the registration table by 6.00 pm and collected our door gifts and walked in. Not many have arrived but I saw my friend, Alex with his 2 kids sitting down at one corner. It was a good 45 minutes before the hall was fully occupied and the dinner could then officially start.
The agenda for the night was pretty standard – speech by the CEO, Chinese 8 – course dinner, some games and of course lucky draw prizes.
(The menu at the highland for the night – so what’s new you may ask? It looks pretty standard with other menus I have seen)
Nothing to shout about the agenda but what made it different from dinners that I have attended is the free-flowing of beer, wines and liquor. 5 minute into the dinner and I was having a large mug of beer in my hand.
The organizers decided to go for a free-flowing of drinks because 1) most of the attendees drink alcohol (I said most of them) 2) we were staying at the hotel next to the convention centre – there was no danger of driving after drinking and 3) it is just once a year when we take our mind off work
(The opening dish for dinner – we were so hungry that those items on the place finished before you can say “what the…”)
The first on the drinking menu was beer. As we were sitting nearer to the small bar in the hall, we rested assured that our beer mugs consistently stayed full. Alex and I were also consistently enquired by the waitress whether we wanted another mug of beers. That saved some trouble of walking up to the bar and getting our drinks ourselves.
As we were busy tucking into the Chinese dinner, bottles of red wine arrived. It was great to have them because it presented a unique taste whilst we were busy eating away grilled chicken & fish (there was no lamb chop to go with the red wine so we have to do with chicken & fish instead).
(The fish was good though – note the glasses of red wine all around)
If there is one agenda that all of us were waiting for was the lucky draws.
The organizers were wise enough to have sufficient lucky draws so that everyone who attended would win at least one item (a far cry from the time when I attended annual dinners in my previous office). The pick of the day was an Apple iPod Nano worth some RM700 (damn, I missed this by just one envelope). The rest of the “nice to have” items were iPod Shuffle, DVD Players and Optical Mouse.
There were gift vouchers, umbrellas and many more.
(Tough choice to be made – which to drink next: beer, wine, liquor or Chinese tea, all being consistently topped up)
There was also one mystery gift on the lucky draw table – by the night was over, we found that it was 5 packets of Maggi Mee! The unlucky fellow who got it was none other than my department colleague (of course, later his “gift” was replaced by a gift voucher). Pity that guy.
While the lucky draw presentation was done at the stage, a couple of glasses of liquor was placed on our tables courtesy of the COO of my company. A good drinker himself, he always made sure that several bottles of liquor were distributed to staffs who wish to go for the “heavyweight” drinking. It was easier to gulp a couple of glasses in view of the coldness at the highland since there were other drinkers at our table notably me, Alex and another colleague, Tan taking turns urging each other.
My wife and Tan’s wife was keeping a “low profile” with red wine which was excellent with the food. Everyone was letting their “hair down” and several shouts of “yyaammsseenngg” was also heard at several tables. Some were already high by then, others were just picking up the pace (Am I right, Alex?). After a year of hard work, it was indeed a time to let our “hairs down”. It was also safe in that no one is driving back home from the highland after dinner.
It was already 11.30 pm by the time, the last lucky draw was announced and the last wine bottle was emptied. Most if not all were pretty much drunk but was happy by then. I was still steady until we reached our room – even had the time to venture to some of the shops but once I hit the bed, I was knocked off.
Oh by the way, do you want to know what I won for the lucky draw? It was a JVC DVD Player…cool ah?
Next Part 3: The tiring departure