Monday, August 25, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

I was nominated for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, and here's what happened! Enjoy!

Doing Business - Our Relationship with the Hotel Industry - Part 3

Once we had become part of the Vistana family, we were able to do some business with the hotel. This took on two forms: teaching English to the hotel staff, and proofreading hotel documents.

As YTL Hotels were not keen on paying us money for our services, we engaged in an exchange of services instead. I would proofread hotel SOPs (Standard & Procedures), calculate how much I would charge based on our proofreading charges, then arrange with Wayne how many nights stay at the hotel that price would represent.

I taught two batches of Vistana Hotel staff English lessons, which comprised around 8-10 total months. In return we negotiated to have use of a function room for a full day, 4 times that year. We organised English Workshops for our students with a small price to attend, and held 3 sessions per day. That made a total of 12 sessions that year with a maximum of 20 students per session. So we were able to make a nice return.

English Workshop at Vistana Hotel Kuantan in March 2012

We have also done, and continue to do, proofreading jobs for The Majestic Hotel, getting free stays in return each time. It certainly makes our KL trips even more splendid!

The grand Majestic Hotel has become a second home for us

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Part of the Family - Our Relationship with the Hotel Industry - Part 2

In the previous post, Treated like a King, I discussed how we first met Wayne Lee, the then-Vistana Hotel Kuantan manager.

Soon after meeting him, we became quickly integrated into the Vistana family and treated with the utmost love and attention that a close-knit family naturally provides. I sometimes wonder about the whys and hows we were extended so many privileges, it was almost too good to be true.

The girls enjoying one of our many stays at Vistana Hotel Kuantan

We were grateful indeed for invitations to stay at Vistana Hotel free of charge; I posted a detailed and highly complimentary write-up on this blog each time we were afforded such generosity by the management.

Wayne even took us behind the scenes one time, showing us all the back alleys in the basement where all the real action that keeps the hotel running, takes place. This included a very interesting, if not humid and stuffy, tour and explanation of the laundry room, washing machines, and chemicals used in cleaning. That post can be found here: Vistana behind the scenes

Of course, I didn't expect free food and stays to last forever, even though I was giving the hotel more publicity on the internet through my blog and facebook pages. Wayne was transferred to another YTL property and a new manager, Sharon, came in for her second spell in charge at Vistana Hotel Kuantan. I really didn't feel comfortable with asking Sharon if we could stay for a night, or if we could sit down in the Coffee House and have a lunch on the house. She didn't know us. But over the years we have become good friends with Sharon as well, and we still receive all the emails and invitations to events at the hotel, including this year's Rebranding Launch Event.

Nowadays, I have no problem paying for a room like any other person would have to. However, we remain extremely thankful for the times when things came free. We still have options to enjoy free stays at hotels, on a services exchange kind of basis, as will be explained in Part 3!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Treated like a King - Our relationship with the Hotel Industry - Part 1

Since moving to Kuantan in 2006, we have become very much involved with the hotel industry, both in win-win situations with hotels, and at our own personal cost. Today's post addresses how we first became seriously involved with the hotel industry.

The post can be found at my hotels blog by clicking on this link:

I'd really appreciate your visit to my blog dedicated solely to my love of hotels, but you can also read the article in full right here.

We go to a hotel expecting a little pleasure, a little pampering, and on the whole, being treated like a King. As the description of my blog states: "Hotels give ordinary people the chance to enjoy a piece of luxury, and to be made to feel extremely important, for 24 hours."

While not all hotels give you that sort of experience, and shame on them if they fail to do so, most hotels will treat you like a King and really hope that you will return in the future.

Posing for a photo in a room at Vistana Hotel Kuantan with then-Hotel Manager Wayne Lee, accompanied by a couple of staff and my family.

One hot and balmy afternoon I was riding my bicycle back home from Teluk Chempedak beach. On the way I would always pass by Vistana Hotel Kuantan. I was curious. It was a hotel I had only ever been inside twice - once for a university function for my wife, and once to look around the meeting room floors out of curiosity. With sweat dripping down  my face on this particular afternoon, I decided to drop in and ask to speak with the Hotel Manager to make a proposal.

Within 5 minutes, this tall and lean man called Wayne Lee approached me in the lobby and we sat down and chatted for a while. I asked him if he would be willing to give us a free stay if in return, I created a blog post to promote his hotel. To my surprise, he immediately agreed and told me to call him as soon as we were ready for our stay!

This was the beginning of a long friendship with Vistana Hotel Kuantan and Wayne Lee, which continues to run now. This extends to Vistana Hotel KL and our comradeship with Pauline Gan too. From my very first contact as a sweaty (and perhaps smelly young man) who came in off the street demanding a free stay, I was treated like a King.

We continue to be treated with the utmost friendliness and respect by all of the hotel staff at Vistana Hotel Kuantan, many of whom we have become good friends with - Sharon, Ms. Fan, Nurul & Nurul, Hanafidhiyah, Carmen, Azam, Sivabalan, Wan, Kamarul, Aazhar, Zul, Hazriq, Zahar, Aman, Roslina, Yok Chi - and many others who have dealt directly with us for the purposes of business and leisure. My thanks and appreciation cannot adequately be expressed in mere words to all of these great people who have treated us like Kings (and Queens) and presented so many opportunities to our family.

When Wayne Lee was transferred to The Majestic Hotel in KL, the same positive treatment was extended to us there and more friendships have been made, particularly with Steven Chen whom we now deal with at Majestic Hotel. We look forward to our next visit to this remarkable hotel!

Wayne Lee, then-Hotel Manager at The Majestic Hotel KL, poses for a photo with a colleague in a beautiful guest room

Friday, August 1, 2014

Bouncing my rubber band ball

So I've started making a rubber band ball. It's kind of a throwback to my childhood. It now has a 9cm diameter and I recently threw it off our balcony to see how high it would bounce:


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