Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Manila trip - Part 3

Before each of my sessions, I used to get some background info about my target audience. When I found out that the next two schools had been using our books for a year, I decided to modify my training session for them. There was no point making the session very sales-oriented because they were existing customers. I wanted to focus on customer-retention instead. So I told Paulo that since my presentation was only around noon, I would make some changes to my slides during the Maths session in the morning.

"No problem!" said Paulo. "We will be leaving for the venue really early, but you can join us later. Same driver, same van, will pick you up at 1130." So I woke up really early and started reworking the slides, still half tucked in bed. (I suddenly realised that this was the first time I was actually using a laptop on my lap! But seriously, how many people really keep their laptops on their lap really?) I worked on it for about four hours. It felt nice to be working in a different setting, away from the office, away from the cubicles, the macintoshes, the noises.

Finally, I was done with enough time to get ready. The driver was punctual, and in about half an hour, I was at the venue. This session was not in a school, but we had booked a bigger venue as a few schools were invited to it. It was a beautiful place directly facing the bay.

I reached just as lunch was being served. Guess what they had in the lunch buffet? More buku salad! Yeayeay! I downed two more bowls. Sheesh, they say the human body is 70% water. I think that in Manila, my body was 70% buku salad and mangoes.

I was unusually happy and enthusiastic that day (could be the sugar high from the buku salad) After the session, as usual I asked
"Any questions?"

A teacher raised her hand.

"Can I look at the model?" She asked. I had to use every bit of control not to crack a really bad joke.

"Ma'am, you are looking at the model." I wanted to say, but resisted the urge.

"Must maintain credibility and respectability at all moments!" I told myself and managed to hold it in.
"Sure." I handed her the model and it made its way around the room as the fascinated teachers played around with it.

And as usual, one of the guy teachers went nuts over the CD-ROM science game. The other teachers watched as he struggled with an interactive crossword puzzle.

"How do you spell precipitation, Miss Sayesha?" I spelt it out for him. He went on to the next level. "The word should be glacier. Spelling please!" He demanded to my surprise. The other teachers were giggling away. I wasn't sure if he was being funny or he really did not know the spelling. With (a lot of) help from the teachers and me, he managed to finish the game and return to his seat, a happy and contented man.

As soon as my session was over, some of the teachers came over. I was glad that the shy ones had mustered enough courage to approach me with questions. To my surprise, most of the questions were about my age.

"She's only 25! So yong!"

In my head, I was singing "25 till I die".

Ah, dear 25, my favourite age of all. It's slipping away. :(

I was talking to the teachers when My Publishing Manager walked in. She had missed my session as she was preparing for the next one.

"So how was it, Sayesha?" She asked.

Before I could say anything, the teacher I was talking to had replied, "Oh, it was very good. She is very yong and talented."

Whoala! What timing for the boss' entry! I tried to look as modest as I could but I was so delighted! I hope she remembers the teacher's words during my appraisal! :P

Later, after the teachers had left the room, I started collecting my stuff, and to my horror realised that the model of the respiratory system was missing.
The Publishing Manager was surprised to see me looking under the chairs.

"What happened?" She asked.

"Have you seen my respiratory system? I can't find it!"

"How are you breathing then? Hahahaha!" She said.

Sheesh, I wasn't the only one with all the bad jokes then. What a relief.

Soon, everyone in the room started looking for it.
Here are some of the statements that were being relayed across the room as more people walked in and asked what had happened.

"Sayesha's lost her respiratory system."

"Do you think the teachers liked Sayesha's respiratory system so much that they took it with them?"

"Have you found your respiratory system, Sayesha?"

Finally I spotted it! It was lying on one of the chairs in front. It wasn't in a good state so I had to do some replacement surgery (I had taken extra balloons, a bottle and a straw with me for situations such as these), and soon my respiratory system was as good as new!

Just as I thought I was done for the day, and could relax (I was exhausted, as this session had been twice as long as my first two), the agent came to me with what he called 'a special request'.
Two teachers who had been given the wrong timing had missed my talk and had requested if I would mind doing a special session just for them, because they were really keen. So I did a tutorial kind of a session for them, and they were so incredibly grateful it was almost embarrassing. And oh, the two teachers (one guy and one girl) were possibly the best-looking Filipinos I had ever seen.

Wonder how the students concentrated in class.

As we were packing up, the Marketing Manager said, "Have you seen the feedback forms?" My heart skipped a beat. I didn't even know there were feedback forms for the sessions. He passed me a whole stack of them. I looked through them nervously. Fortunately for me, they were all good. The teachers had marked either 'excellent' or 'good' for all the items in the form. I really felt like a primary school kid who had just topped the class. And I had validation from 50 teachers to prove it, muahaha!

Some had very interesting comments on the last page. One wrote "Thank God for such workshops!" Others suggested more topics we could cover in the future. Overall, it was a very useful eye-opener for me.

The Marketing Manager was getting restless as we waited for the driver who was stuck in a traffic jam. So a few of us decided to walk back to the hotel. We were at the hotel in five minutes flat! And in the morning, it had taken us half an hour by van. So you can imagine the traffic.

"It's so close! I could have walked it this morning, isn't it?" I asked Paulo. But he shook his head. He had not wanted me to walk anywhere by myself.
Apparently, snatching incidents were common. My Publishing Manager warned, "Be careful with your bag, Sayesha." I was holding my big bag which had all my notes and my respiratory system.

"Don't worry, I have slung it around my shoulder. It's 'unsnatchable'. If someone wants my bag, he has to take me with it! Hahaha!" I said proudly.

"Errr.... I don't think he'd mind, you know!" She said cheekily.

Sheesh. I freaked out a bit and inched closer to Paulo.

On the way, we were still making fun of the Marketing Manager's 50% tip to 'the best he'd ever had' when he happened to disclose something else. Apparently, when he was taking his shower, his masseuse had walked in on him! (The shower cubicle was inside the massage room.) Fortunately, the shower walls were not transparent. Unfortunately, they were not fully opaque either!

"She saw my butt, man!" He exclaimed. "Oh, that's why you tipped her 50%?" I asked innocently.

"Hahahaha!" Someone said. "You have to compensate people who accidentally see your butt? It's that ugly, huh? Hahahaha!"

Soon we were helplessly roaring with laughter. I don't think he was very happy, but we couldn't help it -- he'd asked for it!

When I got back to my room, I caught a glimpse of a fabulous sunset. So I shot a few pics after having to do some pretty wild contortions to get a good view. I even got a one-minute video that shows how fast the sunset was. Awesome. Considering that these pics were all taken through a dirty glass window, I think they turned out pretty darn good, what say?

Sometimes I wonder if hundreds of years later, people (if there are any left) will have such marvellous sights to enjoy.

Sunset - Phase 1

Sunset - Phase 2

Sunset - Phase 3

Sunset - Phase 4

Sunset - Phase 5

Sunset - Phase 6

Dinner was at a Korean place, and it was yummy!

Fried dumplings - even the thought of them makes my mouth water (Starbreez, halp! Where can I find really good ones in Singapore???)

Appetisers - they almost filled me up!

The chicken soup was cooked at our table itself!

After the amazing dinner, we headed back to the hotel. It was about 10:30 pm. I looked around my room. There was no computer, no books, no assignments, no blog. So I decided to watch TV for a while before going to sleep.

And as I gathered the comforter around me and flicked channels, a very surprising thought hit me.

It had been sooooooo long since I'd done that.

Just sit and watch TV.

In Singapore, I have to be up by 6 and out of the house by 7 am. Three days a week, I have evening classes and get home only around 10:30 pm. The other days, I am either in the gym or working on my class assignments. I realised that I had lived in my present house for almost six months now and I had never done the 'just sit and watch TV routine'. I'd feel damn guilty if I did that. As if I was not 'making good use of time'. I guess I'm the kind of person who 'must have something
constructive to do all the time'. Else I get uneasy and restless.

One of my friends had told me that once in a while, I need to learn to chill and not do anything at all without feeling guilty.

I remembered his words and nestled comfortably in the bed.

And for some reason, it felt reeeeal goooood.

I was just sittin' and watchin' TV, you see. :)


Anonymous said...

nice..sunset is just too heavenly..its like watching a poached egg go down the food tube

Anonymous said...

so Manila was a good trip :D

BTW did u bring ur respiratory system back


Once the Conman said...

It's strange. I think I need to say this once and for all.
I still haven't figured out why people are so obsessed with the setting sun???
I mean it's somein so normal. Somein that happens every fuckin day.
Why do people keep clicking and posting pictures of the sunset. As if they've captured somein super-extraordinary.
Get over it man!

Shobana said...

mouth watering food! yummy!
so overall a productive n fun trip! hmmm... nice:)

Dreamcatcher said...

you know you should stop writing about food like this - it makes me soo hungry and buku salad - i sked my cousin about it. he's lived in Manila for a year and he said that he used to have it thrice a week. :(
plus you have all the fried dumplings.

Rays Of Sun said...

Loved the sunset!!!

V said...

conman: sometimes the most beautiful things in life always surround us.
Just like the sunset.And infact the very fact that it being so common, and yet people loving it, speaks for its beauty.

Analogously, if we were to have your ideology, then why would guys like girls?I mean, there are millions of girls on earth.but we still find them beautiful, right?

Try to get more zealous about life.These small things are actually what make all the difference.

And Sayesha, need I say it again?Lovely Post!

bharti said...

well said

keep havin such amazin trips n keep tellin us abt it....n u have made me hungary girl...i want that sald n those dumplings...

Anonymous said...

I can imagine being nestled in a warm comforter in a nice, comfy bed in a nice, neat room after a long, productive day, and just chilling out watching tv. That sure must have felt good! :-)

Anonymous said...

Sunset is too good...Can't believe those were taken from behind a window...
Looks like u had a great time...

Anonymous said...

I have uploaded the song i was mentioning at "http://www.savefile.com/files.php?fid=7516538"

Do listen to it when you get some time...

And yes, nice post again!

starbreez said...

Ooh ... beautiful. :)

And, I can't believe you managed to keep up being constantly productive for six months -- I would've gone crazy, really, without the laze time. Which explains a lot ...

Anyway, yay, what a trip! And those kidnapping fears are well-deserved.

Rays Of Sun said...

#Mr. Conman

Maybe my comment is totally inconsequential..but neverthless,people are obsessed with different things! Love and cribbing being one amongst them too..still people talk about it every single day and crib and whine every waking moment of their lives!
Life is something that happens to you every single day also! do you stop living your life??

Sunrise and sunset are two of the most wonderful things to witness, that requires the heart of a truly romantic who believes that "every setting sun brings the promise of a new dawn" its just the way you look at it!!!

Neways, Sash..sorry for taking the liberty of using your space but as you know I am Raysofsun! needed to defend it;)

Pujya said...

well just now i got time to read ..i was hell busy these days..me too giving presentations..but unlike urs mine were pathetic, worse presentations..i really dont think i m capable of givign any presentations..anyway good to know that urs were extremely good..keep it up!!
and also i use to think that its just me who thinks 'just sittting and watching tv is a waste of time'
...well looks like i am not the only one.

Ravi said...

arey mast trip thi re.

And as usual, one of the guy teachers went nuts over the CD-ROM science game.
I can identify with those guy teachers.

R said...

Sunset-Phase 2.. You mind if I save this pic?

Ok, I already have. :P


Can I PLEASE SEE THE VIDEO?! Email shemail kardo....

The Girl Who Sold The World said...

*Wails* I WANNA HAVE THE BUKU SALAD!!!!!! *Wails again* Why do you keep mentioning it, merciless creature?! Chapaat has rightly named you CS, Cruel Sayesha! HMPH! BUKU SALAD!!!!! *Wails*
And I want the video too! Not to eat! Pagal hoon kya? Dekhni hai...:D:D:D

Sayesha said...

//sunset is just too heavenly

Yeah, it is! :)

//its like watching a poached egg go down the food tube

Sheesh! What an analogy! :O

Hey, long time no see! :)
Yeah, it was a great trip and yes, I brought my respiratory system back :)

Sumedh said exactly the same thing as I wanted to. Sunsets are like women. Everyone looks at them (even other women do) and those who cry out loud against all this looking, are also looking. :)

ps: I know it's hard for you, but I guess you need to face the fact that the world is a beautiful place. :)

Yeah, thanks! :)

You only see the food pics once, imagine me, I have to go thru all the pics to sort for the blog, then I gotta resize them, upload them, blah blah. Do you realise how many times I have to see them and get hungry??? :P

Me too! :)

I can't believe you used the exact same analogy that I wanted to use! :)

//Try to get more zealous about life.These small things are actually what make all the difference.

Awesome baat boli! Cheers to you, buddy! :)

I want the salad and dumplings too! :(

It sure did. Reminded me of the ad "When was the last time you did something for the first time?" ;)

Yeah, even I could not believe the pics came out so well! I suck at photography, so I guess it must be the sunset! :P

Thanks, yaar! Will listen to it :)

Hehehe... I think it has been more than six months... ever since I started my Masters, I have not rested a bit. :|

Mast baatein boli. Feel free to use my space yaar. We need to bring the zing back to life. There are too many cribbers in this world! :D

Hey, chin up, girl! Itna dukhi kyun? And it's really cool to just sit and watch TV! The best part is -- I have absolutely no clue what on earth I was watching! :D

Hahahahah! So you too, eh? :D

WHAT??? Did I read that right??? The master of photography himself asking me if he can save a pic taken by me??????????? :O I take it as a HUGE compliment and give you post-permission to save anything you wanna save! :D
ps: Teri profile page par email address nahin hai. Send me a mail and I will email you the video.

#The Girl,
Bola na after I try out the recipe, agar achha bana toh I will pass it to you?? Phir kyun dahaad maar ke ro rahi hai mere blog par??? :D

ps: Have emailed you the video. Ab tu usko kha ya dekh, jo karna hai kar teri marzi! :D

R said...

Bas. Embarass kar diya na aapne. MASTER OF PHOTOGRAPHY?! *blushing* *surprised* *embarassed*.

Email kar raha hun.......... I M COMING! :D

starbreez said...

Aiyoh, I realise I forgot to let you in on the Good Dumplings of Singapore -- I would recommend the ones sold on the second floor of the Queenstown Hawker Centre! Closes at 7 p.m. though so gotta have it on weekends! Lemme know when you're free. :)

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