Saturday, October 29, 2011

RAPIDKL shoots the rapids

And so it was that Rapidkl decided to find out what else they could do to improve the state of public transport in the Klang Valley. They asked Uluhati for ideas so we suggested rafting as an option. Without any hesitation they thought it was a novel idea which might win them the Nobel Price for public transport. So they came in two vans, all 14 of them sharp at 9.30 in the morning. I smiled as I saw the vans rounding the corner, old soldiers never die, they just fade away. Leading them was the Group Director Rail Operations, Major (Retired) Khairani Mohamed. For a moment I was afraid they might jump out of the vans and fall-in parade formation by the roadside, all in their civvies.

We started them off with a good old fashioned Malaysian breakfast by the riverbank. We reminded them to eat their fullest as the water has a way of making you hungry very fast. Some tried to be polite, but we shall see. Soon after we set off, all 8 rafts with the Orang Asli helmsmen as usual. Tok Batin Andak was present to ensure that none of his charges embarass him and the Orang Asli community.

Weather was great. Water was slightly higher than the last time so the trip was quite smooth save for some stretches. It was quite amusing really to see senior management of the leading transport company in Malaysia sitting with their bottoms wet on the raft. A few certainly wondered what on earth are they doing. But the cool clear water, great weather and the lush green environment proved too much for their dignity. Gradually the solemn looks gave way to sheepish smile, open boyish grins and finally yells and shouts of glee. It was fun and kinda touching watching them. We must have done something right that day to bring out the little boys hiding behind the grey to white hair and round pounches. After that, all hell broke loose and we were wondering who were the Orang Alsi, our helmsmen or the Rapid boys.  

Halfway we stopped for lunch at the Lubok Anggun Riverbank Hilton. Lunch was a generous barbeque, lamb and chicken being the main course. Whilst they horse around in the water we were trying our best to get the barbeque ready soonest possible. Before long a few came out of the water snooping around for some ready meat. That was about 11.00 a.m. in the morning, barely 2 hours after breakfast. We told them that it was not quite done yet, but they graciously said it okay. Who eats meat well cooked anyway, they said. They must be real meat connoisiers or just plain hungry. Funnily though when everyone was quite full and the rate of food demolition has slowed down they sagely commented, in their measured management tone, that some of the meat should be put back on the grill for a better cook.
Lunch over, back to the raft for the second leg. Everything went well and we reached the final destination at about 1.30 p.m. They were then brought back to Uluhati for shower and tea. When tea was brought we heard, "what food again?". But that did not stop them from enjoying it either. Round about 2.30 after the usual group photo they left.
So what did they think of rafting as an alternative transport. I forgot to ask them, but I don't think they would give high marks for practicality but most likely 10/10 for fun.

We must say, this was our most enjoyable and satisfying event so far and most of that is because it was so great seeing old friends again. It been three years since I left the company and it was most satisfying to see that they have all grown well in their careers. Many of them have grown into senior positions and though I have no role in that I feel like a proud father. It was wonderful to see their great sense of camaraderie, the ease they have with one another regardless of rank. And to hear the good works they are doing now is also good news. For a moment I felt a sense of nostalgia of my previous life, but it left as soon as it came. I have had my run and I am enjoying my new adventure now. As I said I am just glad to be able to still do something for them in my own little way - remind them that boys too just wanna have fun.

Thank you Rapid for spending your time and sharing your friendship once again with us. Live well and prosper and may the force be with you.

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