09 Nov 2011 – Trip to Kong Kong Tai Son Seafood Resort in Johore
On 9 Nov 2011, we organised a road trip to Kong Kong Tai Son Seafood Resort in Johore specially for our German VIPs – our German Pipe Club affiliates who flew across half the world to join us for our 1st ever Singapore Pipe Show. It is the last of the 4 events we planned for the 3 German VIPs. Summary of the 4 events …
5 Nov 2011(Sat)- Welcome Lunch at Orchard Point
6 Nov 2011(Sun)- Pulau Ubin Day Tour
7 Nov 2011(Mon)- Singapore Pipe Show
9 Nov 2011(Wed)- Kong Kong Seafood in Johore
On the stated day @8am, I picked up our German VIPs Bodo and Heinz from their hotels and set off to the Old Bukit Timah Courts where we agreed to gather before setting off for JB. Alec Eee picked up Jeorg. We met at about 9am at the carpark of the old Courts at Upper Bukit Timah Rd. There were 4 cars comprising 11 members – namely Dr Mike, Alec Ee, Avril, Arvina, Siva, Ignatius, Paul, myself and the 3 German VIPs. It was a normal working day. Some of our members would very much like to join us but they could not make it one way or another – maybe due to work commitments or prior engagements. For example Kamal and Freddie Tan had to fly to Jakarta, Indonesia and Shenzhen, China respectively for urgent business.
Traffic to JB was smooth flowing and there was no jam at all. We dropped by the little Indian pipe & tobacco shop in JB near to the Indian temple along Jln Trus. It offers a wide variety of pipes and tobacco at reasonable prices. Some purchases were made. We then set off for brunch at Teck Sing Paper Chicken Restaurant (http://www.tecksing.com/) in Sentosa town; JB. We had a marvellous brunch there comprising mainly the famous paper chicken cooked with Chinese herbs and wrapped with paper and many other dishes.
Next, our convoy of 4 cars proceeded to Kamelah at Jusco, Johore. We arrived there at about 12.30 pm and stayed until about 3.15 pm. There was so much to see and explore in the shop. The staff was so helpful and courteous. We were allowed to enjoy ourselves in a special smoking room with air-con and air filter. It was comfortable and relaxing in a hot humid afternoon. We talked endlessly and discussed current affairs. We exchanged ideas and opinions on almost any topic or subject on earth. Nobody bothered us. We were left in our own world insulated from all the din of the outside buzz and relentlessly turning world!
Time stood still.
Whilst on the way to Kamelah, I told Dr Mike in the car that the next day is Heinz’s birthday. Dr Mike sprung a surprise on Heinz. He got organised and told the ladies to source a nice delicious cake especially for Heinz’s birthday. Whilst we were busy with our verbal engagements, the 2 ladies got down to business and out of sudden – they appeared with the most beautiful cake for Heinz. Obviously Heinz who is 61 yrs old was so much touched and moved that he appeared to be like a little “child” overwhelmed with joy and too eager to blow those candles! We had to restraint him cuz we wanted to snap some photos. We asked him what is he planning to do since he just turned “16 years old”? He said that he looking forward to vote! Alamak! He should be getting himself a girlfriend at that age when most teens do.
I put that birthday cake picture on my Facebook. The wife immediately responded. In fact most of his friends saw it and “like” it on FB! Instant communications even though we are physically world’s apart. Our spirit is one nevertheless.
All of us really enjoyed the privacy and ambience of the exclusive lounge in Kamelah at Jusco; JB. As if by some telepathic signal, the 3 German guests started showing their valuable family photos of wife and children to all of us. They spoke fondly of their family back home in Germany. Already they missed their love ones.
Siva was the most active. He was virtually buying the whole shop! The sales girls were so delighted with him. They were kept busily occupied by Siva. The staff even ordered Starbucks coffee for us.
Suddenly, we realised that it was already past 3pm. We had to move on to our next stop. Alec Ee would lead us to our next venue at Kong Kong off Masai, Johore.
A short drive later, around 4pm, our convoy stopped at the mouth of Johore River overlooking the majestic mangrove swamp forest. Every sight or sound was new experience to our German friends and some of our members eg Ignatius, Siva and Arvina who had not been there before. Some photos were taken whilst we admired and wondered at the natural green beauty of the scene. It is a rare sight.
There were also many kelongs and fish farms popping along the huge river which is the source of much of our water supply in Sg. I told our guests that we import most of our water from here. Heinz never failed to be amazed whenever we tell him some historical and current facts of Sg. For example, we told him that there are 4 official languages and Malay is our national language. My weekend car’s driving restrictions and the policy of race quotas on our public housing etc etc. He was full of curiosity and wonder. He declared at one time that he really learnt so much over the past few days than he would have taken a life time if he did not visit Sg personally. I should add that he also brought back so much beautiful memories and friendship that money cannot buy! Priceless intangibles indeed!
Of the 3 German guests, Heinz is the most politically outspoken! He is always curious about how Sg tick and what made us as Singaporeans.
By 4.30 pm, we were settled comfortably at Kong Kong Tai Son Seafood Resort. The restaurant is situated just above the water. If you look out on the right, there is the open sea where big ocean liners and tankers ply along the busy sea lanes. On the other side, it is the fresh waters of the huge river where humble and simple Malay fishermen eking out a living with numerous kelongs and fish farms. Clusters of small fishing villages dotted along the coast of the vast river. It is an abysmal contrast of the old and modern worlds – a simple life versus the complex life or basic needs against the mind boggling myriad of commerce out there where life moves on relentlessly irrespective of your option or choice.
Jeorg announced that he would much prefer the latter. He is an “urban” man so he declares. Is it not because of his extreme stress and pressure as an urban man that he is still seeking the elixir of truth and life in all religions? I wish him success for his persistent quest for peace and happiness.
The fresh lobsters, oysters, fish, prawns, Sri Lankan crabs, clams, Kang Kong vegetable, amongst the so many dishes were fantastic. There was so much to eat and enjoy with fresh coconut juice and dozens of Tiger beer really knocked us out! It is a marathon seafood feast lasting for hours until 8 pm.
We arrived when the sun was blazingly hot and we left in the hours of darkness!
All except Jeorg was not able to fully partake in the mother of all seafood meals. He is allergic to all kinds of seafood. As usual, Dr Mike sprung a surprise on him by preparing a special meal of cheese and pasta cakes. He was most apologetic and also delighted at the special consideration accorded to him. When the 1st dish of Hor Fan came with prawns and squids – despite specific instructions of no seafood and mushrooms for that dish – Dr Mike immediately rejected it and asked for a replacement so that our German friend Jeorg could consume this dish with us. Of course, there were fruits and beer which Jeorg gladly devoured!
Pictures speak a thousand words. Alec Ee managed to capture all the dishes and the series of events for all of us – including those who not able to attend – to view and appreciate.
When the sun set after 6.30 pm, the cool evening breeze seeping in from the great river and sea really energised the idyllic atmosphere. We ate, drank, smoke and relax with a sea view and the vast tropical mangrove swamps amidst the lush eco-friendly green environment. Hums of insects including the dreaded mosquitoes greeted our senses. Bodo was looking out and counting the “bats” flying about upon nightfall. He was commenting on the types of birds flying around the waterways when it was bright sunny earlier on. What a wonderful feeling to witness and experience. He is obviously a great admirer of nature. Many shots were also taken by him.
I would like to add that all this while; I was busy uploading photos to my Facebook since there is wi-fi available there. Heinz was most grateful to me for uploading those photos onto his face book so that his family and friends back in Germany could track his activities here in Sg on “live time” – instant basis. I have lost count of the “Thank You” he said to me.
Let me quote this classic Chinese saying…
tiān xià天下wú无bù不sàn散zhī之yán xí筵席!
All good things must come to an end;
There is no never ending banquet under the sun!
Thus, the dreaded hour finally arrived. It is now time to bid each other farewell till we meet again. I was quite shock and taken aback when our German friends i.e. Heinz and Jeorg started hugging me tightly with their arms around me when I bade them farewell! I only hug ladies and my son – never a man! They were obviously reluctant to leave and wanted to stay on. Avril commented that it is still early to call it a day. But then we were nearly 50km from Johore Bahru. It was quite a long drive back home.
Thus, end my brief account of the series of enjoyable events on that day. It also marks the end of the 4 events planned and organised for our 3 German VIP guests – hailed from our parent Pipe Club from Germany.
We hope to see them again soon. In the meantime, we shall continue with our cyber interaction and friendship via the German Pipe Forum.
Special mention on Alec Ee who is always working quietly behind the scene giving us great beautiful photos and kept us updated. Those photos truly captured our shared memories for eternity.
Thank you all especially Dr Mike and Avril for making the 4 events a tremendous resounding success!