Friday, June 10, 2005

Rocking with the Titans Part 2

S and me returned to the hotel for a short break. My eyes were heavy and felt tired after the 3-hour drive down, but I was afraid that insufficient sleep might make things worse and therefore settled to TV instead. Apparently Singapore receives transmission from quite a few countries and as I was zapping around, I came across channels from Indonesia, Thailand and (duh!) Malaysia. There was this show on UTV very much like Extreme Makeover where they randomly pick guys from the street and transform them into total hunks. It was a boring show to be honest but it did kept me entertained. At a quarter to 6, I took a quick shower, changed into my suit and met up with M and S in the Executive Lounge. I was famished (thanks to Leon for finishing all the chicken) and started helping myself to some of the sandwiches and paninis while waiting for PL to arrive.

We took a taxi to the Raffles City Convention Centre and got lost! There were no electronic displays or signboards indicating functions and events and ushers were nowhere to be seen. Luckily, a staff passing by led us right to the end of a long corridor where we saw the trademark National Geograpic yellow frame and 2 tables for registration purposes. Right beside the tables was a pathetically small sign saying 'Asia Travel Awards' (finally!). I guess we were pretty early because the crowd was scarce and most of the people there seems to be bustling around (must be the organisors). We were ushered into a cocktail reception and the artwork was exhibited on the left, I quickly browsed through some of the work by other agencies and it must be said here that that LB's work for MAS were simply brilliant; witty and so cleverly directed. In between the boring cocktail reception,, I had 4 champagnes, 2 wine and went out for 3 sticks of smoke while waiting for the event to commence.

We were seated on Table J and I was introduced to the VIPs of the day, S Barlow and wife from HI. My seat was between PL and this Indian lady from H's PR agency. She works as a PR Director and looks fairly young. From the conversation however, she seem to have a wealth of experience and struck me as a fairly interesting person. We made some small talk about work, clubbing and interests in between meals and the presentation and she confided in me that she enjoys driving down to Malaysia alone and considers it to be a most enjoyable experience. Although we were treated to a free flow of wine, the food simply sucked! The first dish was 2 scallops, 2 prawns and a bundle of cabbages with sweet chiili, it was OKlah and I gobbled the prawns anyway because I was really hungry. The second dish was mutton soup with innards and a single dumpling, sheesh talk about insensitivity to people who don't fancy mutton. Luckily for me, the dumpling does not have the usual odor that comes with the meat so I took it as well. I abandoned the soup after a few sips and left the innards to rot on the saucers. Last but not least (Macamlah I dah kenyang sangat) was jeng jeng jeng, dessert! 1 blardy tiny cup of tau foo fah and a sweet dumpling with sugar powder, I finished it in 3 gulps. *sigh*

The event itself was a messy affair. But i guess its forgivable since it's the first year and complexities tend to be arise. S looks pale thoughout the event and you can see a mixed expression of horror and anticipation everytime winners for a category is announced. S is so frank, you can cleary see his elation (when we bagged something) and his dissapointment when we fail to win anything. I know he expected us to fare better, after all this will be out last outing since the client will be playing by the books from now on. All in all, we won 2 golds 1 silver and 2 bronzes and all were from the Studio campaign. LB also scooped 3 awards that night and I was truly happy for them. The big winners for the night however was TBWA and it's subsidiary Tequila. in between, they 'sapu' not less than 20 awards. One guy who went on stage everytime TBWA won something resembles Johan and honestly, that was a bit of a turn off.

N and SY were fairly happy with the achievements and Sh from the PR agency suggested a victory celebration at a club in the same building. There were 7 of us and we had to dig from our own pockets for the cover charge because N says that he doesn't have cash nor card with him. (talk about appreciative clients.) The cover was S$20 and we had to walk down a hallway and take a lift to the club on the top floor. The lift doors opened and we saw a flight of stairs and a neon logo that says 'News Asia' (what a friggin' weird name for a R&B club). The place boasts a spectacular view of the Singapore Harbour and city landscape but the interior was nothing to shout about. The crowd consists of people in their late 20s and there weren't exactly many chio bus. As a matter of fact, some of them were so poorly dressed that it looked more like a cafe than a posh club. We manage to find a bar seat and Silvio went off to retrieve our complimentary drinks. By now SY and myself have pretty given up hope of N opening a bottle after the scenario at the entrance, so I contented myself with my Dunhill Menthol Lights.

SY ordered her much-needed Marlboro Lights from the club and boy was it a mistake. The damn pack of cigarettes cost S$18 and it was weak, weaker than Virginia Slims and Cartier. I took a stick off SY and it felt like blowing air. SY, PL and myself were just chattering away while Sh pulled N, M and S into the dancefloor. The DJ featured a lot of evergreen mixes and occasionally spun some tracks from the 90s like Jump by House of Pain and Gettin' Jiggy With It by Will Smith. It was REALLY hillarious looking at M dance to the 'Jiggy' song and even funnier still when she ask me to show her my moves. I declined politely and decided to avoid embarassment by excusing myself to get a second drink. I got SY's order for a Kabrielska whereas PL didn't want anything. I was planning to pay from M's stash of S$100 but Silvio came along and wanted another Martini neat and a glass of red wine. I expected clubs in Singapore to be as efficient as its government agencies, polite, courteous and language proficient; I was wrong. There were 6 people in the bar and each of them seems to be in charge of a separate section. 1 takes orders, 1 mixes drinks, 1 churns the bills, 1 for washing and the other well he moves around looking busy. Everytime someone wants to take an order, the guy will repeat these lines, 'Bartender veli busy...peak hour please patient...' So everyone waited, and waited, and waited while the queue got longer and longer. Fucking slow notwithstanding, an ang moh beside me got really pissed because he waited for 40 minutes and they had the nerves to give him wrong drinks. He requested for gin tonic and the guy gave him gin soda instead, he was so pissed I could've swore that he would spat at the bartender if the brat attempted any rebuttal. The 'hao lian' prick did not even apologize and threw the cups into the basin (boh-song ah) and even muttered under his breath. (knn what sort of service is this). Finally some patrons got really pissed and complained to the manager. It was heart warming to see him giving his staff an earful as soon as he steps in and better late than none, we finally got our drinks after 1 hour.

We bid our farewells at 5 minutes to 2 and took the taxi back to the hotel. M was going on profusely about how we can charge higher rates now that we are regionally famous. I just a tad peeved but kept my mouth shut throughout the way and was actually glad when we arrive at our hotel. Just as I was thinking of a hot water bath, I felt really 'vulnerable' and realized that I accidentally left my BIG coat at the club. M urged me to go back and retrieve my coat and that I did. Got a taxi, returned to the club and went in a bee line to a nice Malay chap who was the Floor Manager. He was extremely helpful and went around checking with his staff but none of the them found anything. A Malay guy and his girlfriend saw me searching for something and gestured me to come over. He then told me that a lady saw my coat and had taken it with her. I thanked him and went back to the hotel. I received a message the next day saying that SY had left my coat with the Conscierge, thank God I did not have to pay Alex a new coat!

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