Oct 1, 2006

A Year Ago

1st October for many is children’s day. Exactly one year ago, my holiday turned into the worse scenario possible. It’s something you probably read out of a book or watch at the movies.

On the 28th of October 2005, I remember waking up on an early morning, feeling uneasy about the trip to Bali. On the way to the airport, I had a long chat with me mom and dad bout that ‘stinking gut feeling’. I’ve always had this fear of flying. It’s more the taking off and landing that bugs me. The one thing that calms me is ALCOHOL. On board the Garuda flight were two Swiss blokes that were gayer than Boy George.

We became friends instantly and played this card game called ‘Up, Down’. It’s a drinking game and the number of Beer Bintang cans we drank, must be a record for any Garuda flight. Their English was limited and it’s amazing how alcohol can bond three strangers.

We landed safe in Denpasar and I put off the ‘stinking gut feeling’ as being silly and paranoid. My Balinese friends Mario and Carmen were there to pick me up and after a couple more beers, we headed to my hotel. The first thing I did when I checked in was to walk down the street of Kuta to visit Don and company at the Sri Kusuma Hotel. It was during this trip that I really got to know Don as a person. And not as the crazy drinking chinaman that he was known to be.

We had drinks at MBarGo and DOUBLESIX the first night I was there. Till this day, I remember everything about this trip. Each and every detail is still fresh in my mind. The one thing I cherish most about this trip, is that Don and I became brothers. No fucking doubt about that.

It was my 3rd day in Bali when Don and Sharin thought it’ll be nice to have dinner at Menega Café. And boy was I excited. I heard so much about the place. The awesome fresh seafood and the ambience of the place was said to be mind blowing. Who wouldn’t to have dinner on the beach?

An hour or so before dinner, we visited a tattoo shop which friends of ours were at. These Singaporean beach lovers were always chilling at the shop. So yea…we had a couple of beers and one thing led to another, I decided to get an impromptu tattoo. A half hour job turned into a full hour of work. Dinner plans were fucked thanks to the tattoo and we decided to head down to Kuta Beach for the Corona Beach Fiesta.

We ordered food from the beach stalls and I had a yummy plate of Spaghetti Bolognese. Being a god damn glutton, I ordered a second plate. As I was about to dig in, one of our friends received a sms saying that a bomb had gone off in Bali. The first thought that came to mind was that it was a hoax. Minutes later, the worse was confirmed. Three bombs had gone off at three different eateries. And Menega Café was one of those hit.

I tried calling my mom on her mobile a couple of times and I managed to get thru after the fifth attempt. I briefly told her what happened and that all was gonna be fine. I told her that I love her and my dad and I needed them to know that. I ended the call assuring them that they’ll see me soon. The line was cut before I could say goodbye. The Indonesian authorities had jammed all networks.

As we walked down the street of Kuta, we saw shop owners frantically trying to close for the night and the police had closed all the roads around the area. I spent the rest of the night with Don at Sharin’s house and we followed Sharin around to his clubs. I’ve got a ton of respect for Sharin and it’s amazing how he led his staff through this difficult time. Trust me when I say this…There’s not many people like Sharin around in the nightlife industry and it’s great that he’s back in Singapore.

We ended the night with a drive to Menega Café. The damage was painful to witness and it’s when shit like this happens, it hits you like a brick. Very few Singaporeans have experience a terrorist attack. The threat is very real and I pray to god that I’ll never have to go through something like this again.

The phobia that lives with you after a terrorist attack is insane!!! I jump up from sleep whenever the car wash blokes opposite my house make a racket. Every time our RSAF jets fly over my house, I picture them tailing a passenger plane. The list just goes on…

I mark the one year anniversary thanking god that I’m alive and safe. And I thank god that I had Don with me in Bali. I wouldn’t have wanted things any other way. I learnt something as well. NEVER EVER doubt your gut feelings!

4 comments:

  1. OMG!!! You were there!!!!
    I feel for you, babe....
    So glad you're still in the land of living, and I managed to get to know you...

    There's a silver lining to every cloud, hehehe....

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  2. I've heard this story a couple times now but it still gets to me.

    I can't say I know what its like to be in a situation like this..but I'm glad you, Don and Sharin & Family made it out alive..

    *big hug, neighbour*

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  3. Hi Nana...I'm hella glad i'm still walking this earth in flesh and blood.
    I'm glad I got to know you too. I'm sure that there are good things to come.

    Big hugs to neighbour!

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  4. for those who lost their lives, may their families find peace within themselves, for those who suffered and made it out alive, its a sign to appreciate life, to be happy, to live each and everyday happy.
    and to u my brother, im glad ure here, safe. I get paranoid all the time too... its a real threat and we should be aware that we're at risk like the rest of the world.

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