Thursday, June 07, 2007

Just came back from a two day one night departmental retreat to Macau. Yes, a retreat. What the hell are retreats?

When I was in school, we had retreats. The nuns would take us to a local monastary, and us girls would go there for four day three night spiritual retreats once a year. We would hang about, read, pray, eat, sleep, more praying, meditation, more reading, sneak off for ciggies, etc. Somehow at the time it all seemed like tremendous fun.

Well anything would seem more fun than the annual retreats I go on now. Basically, it's a complete waste of time and money.

Three years ago we went to Macau as well, stayed at a marginally better hotel. Year after that was in Zuhai, which I said no thanks to, and last year was in a resort near Shenzhen.

Yesterday morning we arrived at the hotel at 10:45; meeting from 11:30 am to 1pm. Lunch for 1.5 hours. Then meeting continued till 6pm. Then dinner from 6:15 till 8pm. And that's it. That's the extent of the retreat. Go off somewhere for a day long meeting that could easily have taken place via email (only 5 out of the 35 people actually spoke - yes I counted). Then it's free time. No team building exercies, no workshops, no training, no paint ball shoot outs.

Okay so what do you do in Macau? I rang up my friend who lives there, but most inconveniently, she happened to be in Beijing. So I went with the flock and visited Wynne's casino. Our entourage consisted of middle aged men, me, and a few young women (secretaries and clerks). It was, well, how shall I put it? It was quite sad. The young women (note - I am not one of them) looked on as the men placed their bets. The women giggled, they cheered, and eventually a staff came over and said to them in heavily accented Cantonese, "Oi, shuuusssh! This is a high class place! No loud noises! Keep moving! Not allowed to stay in the aisles!" Which resulted in more giggling and plenty of low level booing. We got some dirty looks. A security guard slowly but surely started moving towards us.

I was embarrassed. I was tired. I was bored. I just wanted to go.

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