I am back from the Retreat in Twin Waters Resort in Sunshine Coast, Brisbane. It is an eye-opener for me and for the 3 days there, I had to mingle with Aussies that I have never met before. My memory is getting poorer and poorer and it is no surprise that I kept forgetting the names of the people there - resulting in introducing myself to the same people again....and again!
It is nice to meet them though as all of them (partners or associates) have all been very friendly to me. Ego was non-existent at the camp.
After an almost 9 hours flight to Brisbane, the HK team boarded a 7 seater for another 1 hour drive to the resort. It was good that I managed 4-5 hours sleep on the plane and I watched "Finding Neverland" for the rest of the 2 hours. After arriving at the resort, I had a quick shower before heading to have a quick bite. We then had our first activity - an discussion group on the topic "We can obtain the best knowhow by...". I feel it a bit surprised that everyone in the group was very serious about the session and there were a lot of constructive discussions and some heated arguments as well.
After the session I had a tennis game with Brian (an Aussie who lived in HK for the past 5 years and a nice guy) and although I was playing not as bad as I thought, I was soundly murdered by him. 1-6, 0-6. "Home Advantage" was my excuse of losing.
Then dinner at the Naked Italian followed by a games and quiz nights. I had absolutely no idea as to all the quizzes (I don't even understand some of the questions as those were tailor made for the Aussies).
Day 2 began with the presentation of the discussion group we had on the 1st Day. Then there was the showcase presentation. It was basically a presentation by each office as to the people and the projects they were working on. We did a powerpoint presentation on the theme "Mission Impossible - Mission Hong Kong / Shanghai" with some very nice background music in the tune of Mission Impossible. The slides show our funny photos and some good one-liners. My line was "Laws were made to be broken". The Hong Kong showcase was well received which is great as there were a lot of efforts behind the whole thing.
Then it came the game "Survivor". I was surprised by the fitness of the Aussies - many female colleagues overrun me in the first game which involves a lot of running. Our team finished the competitions in the first place but was gunned down in the Tribal Council. One of the tasks in the Survivor game was to nominate something that "I have done something which no one here have ever done". It was interesting to note that the Sydney partner once drove train for a living, an associate once sang live on US TV at the Goldengate Bridge in San Francisco and another chap caught a crocodile while fishing...
The Talent Quest was the next activity on the night. We had some divided opinions as to whether we should perform our can-can showgirls dance. I was going for it and I have prepared to make a fool out of myself long beforehand. We had a voting 10 minutes before we were due to appear on stage - it was a "go" by a 5-2 majority. Our performance lasted for 30 seconds before it all went wrong. The stage was too small for us to perform our "moves". We were standing on the stage forgetting what moves were next before someone said "Let's move for the exit!" and we are done!
After breakfast, we checked out and headed for the airport. Another 8.5 hours flight saw me watched "Sideways", "Closer" and the last half hour of "Murder by number". That concludes the Retreat.