The Grand Plan
The decision was made a few weeks ago when my hubby suggested bringing the family to go Malaysia for a golfing trip with his kakis. As Perry’s examination was round the corner, I was rather reluctant to do so. In the end, we reasoned with a good measure of caution that we could do a study retreat for Perry – after all, why be cooped up in the claustrophobic Singapore during this stressful period. However, as the key intention was to have a conducive environment for Perry to study, we decided that Ryan will have to stay in Singapore. It turned out to be a very good decision – not only did we achieve what we set out to do, we have done so in a very rewarding and relaxing way!
Once we have decided to bring Perry for the intensive study trip. The next step is to get the ‘buy-in’ from Perry. That proved to be easy as Perry was only too glad to try out the new learning experience. We reached a pact with Perry that he would have to wake up real early at 6.30 am on 12 Apr (Sat) so that we could catch the ferry at 7 am. Guess what he even suggested to wake him up at 5.30 am just to be doubly sure that we will not be late.
First Day at Desaru Golden Beach Hotel
On 12 Apr 08, we snatched our forty winks at not 5.30 am but 6.30 am. This was already an achievement considering that we slept at close to midnight the day before to do some last minute packing. Arrival at Changi Ferry terminal was without a hitch as we could drive and park our car in the gigantic car-park near the terminal. It turned out that the land near Changi Ferry terminal was owned by the Malaysian Government and they allowed vehicle owners to park for free.
The ferry trip was pretty short at around 30 minutes or so. Upon arriving at Terminal Feri Tg Belungkor at slightly before 8 am, we were quickly ushered to a two-storey building where the fellow golfers were to register to take part in the “Star Swing Golf Challenge”. For non-golf participants like Perry and myself, we joined the golfers for a sumptuous breakfast before checking into the hotel, Desaru Golden Beach Hotel.
It was a very beautiful place facing the South China Sea. We stayed in Mussaendra Villa, a two-storey Malay old-style building, with a balcony area attached to the unit. We stayed in level two of the building. Once we arrived at the resort, we quickly set out to do what we want to do. But it was not before, a slight “mishap” where we were trapped in the balcony, when Perry locked the balcony door and closing the door behind us. In the end, we had to shout for the hotel staff to get the maintenance guy to bang into the main door where the top hinge was also hitched. Lunch was at 3 pm, partly because we were all engrossed in the intensive study and also due to the very heavy downpour. As Murphy’s Law predicted, all things seemed to go wrong. With the tumultuous rain, the phone was not working and hence, we could not call room service.
Daddy was back at around 4 pm. He was zonked out after 18-holes for the second consecutive day. Perry had a good deal of fun with his daddy. After all, he really deserved it as he managed a feat of doing three 1.5 hour examination papers! When the night came, we went to Sungai Rengit, a small village in Desaru. There was a bidding-cum-dinner that night. It reminded me of one incident when I was young – before I started school proper. Usually, attended by boisterous Chinese businessmen eager to shout out bid to get the lucky items, this scene was now a rare sight in Singapore due to the 10.30 pm curfew, but apparently, not in Malaysia. A Mr Chan in our table bidded an XO for RM2,000 and we were busily sipping the smooth and fragrant cognac. A few other items were auctioned out at more than RM10,000 that said a lot about the generosity of the businessmen in Desaru. Though the whole event was to end at past 11 pm, Perry was tired. Mr Chan was very kind and he asked his relative to send our family back to the hotel at around 9 pm. We were touched by the sincerity of the people here, the journey took more than 45 minutes.
Second Day at Sebana Golf and Marina Resort
The next day, we were awakened by the phone at around 6.30 am. It was to be another 18-hole for our golf fanatic daddy. We quickly had our breakfast before we headed to Sebana Golf and Marina Resort. The same arrangement was panned out again. Daddy went for his golf while Perry and mummy proceeded to the Marina Clubhouse to study.
We will call that first class treatment, we were chauffeured from the Golf Clubhouse to the Marina Clubhouse. Upon arrival at the Marina Clubhouse, we were enchanted by the beautiful marina with many boats berthing there. It was an architectural masterpiece set amidst natural surroundings offering a picturesque view and loads of fresh, crisp sea air.
We picked a nice spot at the aptly named Oyster Pond, a “defunct” Alfresco dining area, facing the sea to study. The time slacks in-between study were filled with fun good-old-days activities such as flying paper aeroplanes and racing from one end of the building to another. Later we ventured upwards to the main foyer area to slump into the very comfortable lounge chairs to take a short nap. This was wonderful – it was almost my kind of perfect living – lying down on a hammock, a cuppa and a magazine on the floor. Once Perry completed what we had set out to do for this short study retreat, we went to the swimming pool to have some wet fun. Before long, it was 2 pm and daddy had completed his round of golfs and joined us for some family bonding at the game arcade room.
Our next stop was at the Boat House Tavern, a casual all-day-dining restaurant overlooking the scenic marina, offering authentic local and international favourites. Thumbs-up for cappuccino and local delights, coupled with the wonderful sights outside, it was simply heavenly. It was 4 pm and time for us to bid goodbye to this beautiful place and people.
All in all, we have had a best of everything. Daddy enjoyed his golfing. Perry did his study and mommy had a relaxing time. Most important of all, we all have a good family time.