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Friday, December 14, 2007

I Survived Two Days of Seminar: A True Story

I was holed up at this convention centre for the last week attending this international seminar. I can’t remember much about the seminar, it was something to do with my work I think. I only went for the awesome complimentary bag for the participants. And the food.

This wasn’t a small seminar of 50 people, no siree, bob. There were like 600 people in attendance, mostly wearing their spiffy navy blue suits (except me, I was wearing my short sleeve company shirt. Don’t expect to see my pic appearing in the trade newsletters). I later found out that most of the attendees were actually from the nationwide branches of a few multi-national corporations across Malaysia.

Things started off well enough for this 2-day conference.

Day One, mid-morning:
Attendance: 500+
Everybody is fresh and listening attentively to the VIP CEO of this huge corp tell stale jokes in the opening speech.
My boss, who is with me, is busy trying to secretly snap pictures of the speaker and other famous people with his pathetic camera phone. We’re sitting at the 8th row from the back. I’m not too excited to see the photos when he circulates them around the office tomorrow.

Day One, afternoon:
Attendance: a little less than 500.
After the high profile speakers in the morning, it’s the lesser known chaps’ turn on the rostrum. And everyone is giving their lesser attention. My boss is making lecherous remarks about the women in attendees. I’m busy pretending to pay attention to the boring lectures.

Day One, late afternoon:
Attendance: 300+. Apparently, some of the outstation delegates have snuck off back to their hotel rooms to sleep off. Or go shopping.
My boss is now complaining about the disappointing quality of the tea time food. Every five minutes he flips through the conference souvenir programme book. I trying my best to stay awake as some Professor up on stage is mangling the English language.

Day one ends about 6.30pm. I’ve a splitting headache.


Day Two, mid-morning:
Hall looks half empty, so I’m thinking about 300 people are in there.
My boss still isn’t back from his extended breakfast at the mamak stall across the road from our convention center. I don’t see him until just before lunch.
Whole morning I am still in shock about how dirty and smelly the toilet is in this place. Hah! International convention centre, konon.

Day Two, afternoon:
I didn’t think it as possible, but the lunch was worse than yesterday’s. And the second day’s speakers are getting worse. I’m thinking that they start with the best speakers on the morning of the first day, then they get progressively by the time they reach the end of Day Two. At this rate, the last speaker might turn out to be my Primary 2 class teacher. My boss keeps making these cigarette breaks outside the hall.
I’m reduced to doodling on my writing pad.

Day Two, 6.30pm:


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