Kenny Yap

MY MOST memorable holiday must have been a solo trip to Phuket right after the arduous process of getting my company, Qian Hu Corporation (, listed on the Singapore Exchange in November 2000.

It was my very first holiday after many years of working.  I was 35.  I had been busy building the company, and it was only after it got listed that I made it a point to take leave to unwind.

The process of getting the company listed had taken its toll on me.  I suffered tension headaches. My doctor told me to take a break.

  I decided to do all the “S”s – swim, sleep, sun-tan, and drink sambuca (an Italian aniseed-flavored liqueur). 

I did a lot of those things, including scuba diving and snorkeling. Nighttime I hopped bars and discos. For me, it was all about doing nothing – as opposed to doing a lot every day when I am at work.

But on Phuket’s idyllic beach, I was not completely spared from work. Some of it was able to find its way to me. On my holiday the following year, in December 2001, I was luckier. 

Phuket: Kenny went scuba diving and snorkelling, and enjoyed bar hopping.

A contractor friend of mine arranged a week-long farm stay for me in remote Northeast Thailand.  My host, a Thai family, gave me their best room, which turned out to be very basic. 

The weather was quite cold especially at night, and I still shudder when I think about how I took showers with the freezing well water!   

I was in for another surprise. As the guest room was right next to the master bedroom, I could hear the amorous nocturnal activities of my hosts next door!  I couldn’t sleep well the whole night, but I’m sure they had a blissful time.

I relished the joy of living and eating with the Thai villagers, and lending a helping hand in the padi fields and herding the cows.

To express my appreciation to them for letting me stay with them, I bought a large pig which weighed more than 100 kg for the neighbourhood of about 15 families.

My stay ended with lots of singing - I am conversant in the Thai language - and lots of local whiskey.  The entire trip, including the pig, cost me less than $2,000.

By the way, this December, I will return to Phuket and do all those S’s!”

This article along with several others were part of a package put together by Leong Chan Teik for Pulses magazine a while back and is reproduced with permission.

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