I fell in love with Bangkok after watching a Thai romantic comedy titled Bangkok Traffic (Love) Story, about a thirty-year-old woman feeling desperate on being last among her friends to marry, and her relationship with a cute engineer working on the Bangkok Skytrain system. The film was hilarious (watch it now if you haven’t). It was one of the highest-grossing Thai movies that won many awards.
The film portrayed Bangkok as a super fun city and made me desperately want to visit. And who would have thought that after joining Maverick for only a month my bosses said I was invited to the company’s annual outing—that happened to be conducted in Bangkok?
I smiled from ear to ear when they said that, but my heart actually screamed for joy. Not only would I have a good time apart from work in the vibrant city from my favorite movie, I’d have a better bonding with colleagues whom I had considered friends. And this is my own version of the film, I call it Bangkok Maverick (Love) Story.
Day 1: Welcomed by fried insects and grasshoppers
On the morning of September 15, I’d wake up earlier than usual since most of us took an early morning flight to Don Mueang Airport (some other took the afternoon one as they had to finish client deadlines in the morning). We arrived at 10 am, all looked tired, but I could see glimpse of happiness on their smiles. For most of us, it was our first time setting our feet in Bangkok. It is, indeed, one of Maverick’s missions in every outing: to expose staff to travel and new places. It totally worked, we were beyond delighted to be greeted “khop kun krap” by our friendly tour guide.
The 2017 outing theme was “Back to School”. Why? Because this year Maverick is turning 15. And just like teenagers in school age, we are committed to learning more new things, staying curious and hungry for knowledge and having more fun. Thus, during the first day, the outing committee allowed us to explore Bangkok on our own to get ourselves familiar with the environment and culture.
I enjoyed that day very much. Others also took tuk-tuk (Bangkok’s traditional vehicle) and skytrain, spent the night at Asiatique The Riverfront and of course went shopping at Platinum Mall and, of course, had many Thai food. Tom yum, pad thai, mango sticky rice, you name it! Ugh, I’m even hungry thinking about them now.
You know what’s crazy? Some of my friends ate those disgusting, sorry, I mean exotic food. Fried insects, water bugs, bamboo worms, grasshoppers and even scorpions!
Day 2: And then she cried…
A month prior to the outing, the creative committee would arrange some activities related to “Back to School” theme. All activities reminded us to those school’s group assignments in the good old days. The first assignment was MavMading, where each group needed to create a creative board (Majalah Dinding), just like what those girls did in Ada Apa dengan Cinta?. Some of the boards cracked me up. I didn’t know I worked with such humorous people.
The second activity was MavTrivia, where each group had to answer questions related to the company on Maverick’s Twitter account (@Mavtweets). Of course, as a newbie, I didn’t know most of the answers.
The third activity would happen in Bangkok during our second day. We were brought to Lumpini Park, a green space where Bangkokians usually exercise, and challenged to fill a task book called “Lembar Kerja Siswa (LKS)” containing questions related to Bangkok. This was probably the assignment I enjoyed the most, as we had to explore the area and talk to strangers to be able to answer those questions.
In that same park, we also played “Are You Smarter Than Ong?”, named after one of our partners Ong Hock Chuan. He is famous for throwing random and difficult questions to his employees. So that game, surely, was all about geography, politics, history, PR industry and anything related to our office. The fastest team answering got additional points.
The sun was at its hottest temperature when we took a boat on Chao Phraya River to Wat Arun, Temple of Dawn. The temple was remarkable. The details and paintings on the wall were just too pretty to be true. I spotted almost all friends took pictures in front of every wall just because, why not? Their photos looked amazing.
We also visited Wat Pho, where the famous reclining Buddha reclines. The 46-meter golden statue was marvelous, I couldn’t take my eyes off it.
That Saturday night was the night we were all waiting for. All dressed pretty in preppy-style theme, we would go to Royal Dragon that used to be world’s largest restaurant. It was our gala dinner night. Not only was it to announce which outing group won the series of competition, the dinner was also to celebrate Maverick’s anniversary and appreciate everyone’s hard work and dedication. That night, one of us would be crowned as Maverick of the Year 2017 a.k.a. best-performing employee.
My table made some bet on who was going to be the person of the night. I honestly had no idea, as everyone I had been working with was so deserving of this title. They are smart, discipline and projecting strong work ethics. We had to wait for over an hour to know who the winner was, as the partners also called some people to the stage to congratulate them for their excellent performances, promotions and new business wins. The appreciation was tremendous, no wonder Maverick received an honorable mention as The Best National Agency to Work For by The Holmes Report.
At the end of the night, it was my dear colleague Mira Febri Mellya who came with a trophy in her hand. She joined Maverick in 2015 and has been flawlessly handling some of our biggest clients including the ones from IT and mining industry. She’s now 15 million richer and has that title before her name. She was shocked, I didn’t think she expected that at all. Then of course, she cried. I would do the same thing if I were her. We all congratulated and hugged her, and it is impossible to top that glorious moment.
Day 3: Nothing heals but a new pair of heels
We could not leave Bangkok before visiting the most famous shopping place in the city, Chatuchak Weekend Market. It was hard to open my eyes after a tiring yet fun day, but I said to myself, “Nothing heals but a new pair of heels.” So I got up to find myself walking for about four hours in the market with my friends.
Result: all the bags that were packed the night before absolutely needed more repacks. Just imagine, Chatuchak Weekend Market has more than 8,000 market stalls, from fashion items to home decoration, all in affordable price. How would we resist ourselves?
It was a really happy day, until we had to go to Don Mueang Airport to fly back to Jakarta. Monday would come just in a few hours, and we all felt sad. Sad that all the fun had to come to an end, and to leave our new family to go back to our real family at home.
But we too, felt happy as well. We were happy for the new clothes and bags and shoes we had in our almost-oversized luggage. We were happy for new friends we made and brothers and sisters we chose. We were happy to realize that Maverick wasn’t just a workplace where we make money, but also a playground and learning field for all of us to grow while having fun.
We were happy to have one more love story written in our heart, with the hustle and bustle of Bangkok as its beautiful background. [By Eveline Isnaini]