Co-written by: Lesha Mansukhani, Kimberly Lai & Karin Lew
The TTI Bootcamp is best described as a
torture chamber a rite of passage where every new batch of interns are thrown into a mystery destination and introduced to the hell that awaits.
It’s a lot of fun.
The fact that we are writing this means we actually survived. But not without many, many, M A N Y failures along the way. If you’ve read our previous TTI bootcamp articles, you would already know how xiong it is.
We don’t sleep (Or in Karin’s case, we sleep while doing work).
We carry a lot of heavy things (Not the writers though, heh).
And we’re always running to our next activity.
But one thing all the TTI bootcamps have in common is that the doe-eyed, innocent, not-so-little interns have little to no idea what’s in store for them.
Read about our previous bootcamp in Vietnam!
Prologue – Who? What? Where?
Clutching our seats and each other, we began our first day with a briefing about the week that was to come.
Eager to learn the details about our first. epic. adventure, the Puppetmaster announced “This year, you guys are…. headed to……KL!”
“KL?” We all thought to ourselves. “Got what to do in KL? Eat and Shop?”
In fear of sounding like the entitled pieces of shits that we clearly were, we decided to mask our disappointment and trudge through.
We only had four hours to plan our 3D2N adventure. An adventure that had to result in quality content for our pieces. And most of us had never done this before! Not to mention, we barely knew each other (The perfect recipe for disaster).
I know it’s going to sound like we’re trying to market KL (and yes, it is part of our job) but I swear to god, we were shocked at the sheer amount of things there was to do in KL. Our itinerary was packed to the brim with activities like diving with sharks, going on a firefly-watching tour, dinner in the sky and so much more. As the Gen Z-ers would say, we were shookt.
Read more: 15 Unique Things To Do In Kuala Lumpur Besides Eating and Shopping — KL Long Weekend Guide
Fast forward 48 hours, we were all en route to Kuala Lumpur.
So yes, we visited a lot of places and did many cool and fun things. We got the content we needed and learnt a lot yada yada yada. But you guys don’t care about that. You didn’t come here to listen to what we did. You came here to listen to the T. And so the T I shall spill.
1) Losing Your Valuables
As content creators, the worst possible thing you could lose is… your laptop. Passport can make new one. Content stored in laptop lost? Where got time to make new one?
Rewind to the start, after a 10-hour bus ride into KL and full day exploring the city, the owner of the laptop realised:
“Eh, where’s my laptop ah?”
Cue a series of climbing up and down her bunk bed, searching high and low — rummaging through stuff (both hers and other people’s). She admitted defeat.
“I think I lost my laptop eh.”
The whole room gasped in horror.
But the owner of the laptop was as steady as rock. Not a single drop of sweat broke out. “Why was she so calm?” — we all thought to ourselves.
After a team effort and many phone calls with subpar melayu, we got through to the driver of the bus and turns out, the bus company was kind enough to hold her laptop for her #faithinhumanityrestored.
Fast forward 24 hours, she was happily reunited with her laptop.
“I really thought I was gonna lose my laptop. But anyway it wasn’t my laptop lah, it’s the company’s.” (heh)
So who was this person?
2) A badly planned itinerary
Okay, context. This was all kinda my fault. So, you know, as a new intern I didn’t really plan the best itinerary on the first day. We had too many things to do and no time to do it all.
My team consisted of two other girls (Nic & Chloe) and at 5:30pm, Chloe and myself had to leave for Dinner In The Sky by 5:30PM. Problem is, we had to cover the KL Tower and only arrived at 4:50PM. Oopsies.
So poor Nic was left all alone in the line to go and explore the KL Tower. (Sorry, Nic)
She queued up like the good teammate she is. 10 minutes into waiting, she realised that people were holding queue numbers.
“Oh f*ck” — she whispered under her breath. She dragged her body to the reception counter and sweetly asked for the queue number. Back to square one. Nic watched as the sky grew darker. Happy text messages from her teammates streamed into her phone as she leaned her listless body on the wall.
Even though she didn’t really say it to me, I am sure she cursed at least a few years off my life. After waiting for two whole hours, Nic finally got called up into the Sky Deck.
If you think the torment was over, think again. At the sky deck, Nic had only 1 min 45 seconds to get all the shots she needed. There was actually a big digital red clock counting down the seconds she was in the deck! To top it off, an enthusiastically adamant random photographer began forcing her to pose for his camera while she tried to get her own shots. EATING INTO THE PRECIOUS TIME SHE HAD! By the time Nic left KL Tower, it was 8:30PM.
But bless Nic’s soul — we got the shot!
Moral of the story: “PLAN PROPERLY AH.” – Uncle Potes 2k19
3) The Morning After Regret (not quite what you’re thinking)
When you tell a young man he can’t do something, he’ll most likely try and do it. Perhaps it’s a matter of pride. A way to show that he is without weakness. Now let me tell you about Harris. Oh sweet, young Harris.
Armed with his posse consisting of Clarence, Cherz and Mich, the team of four entered a restaurant with one goal in mind — to look for banana leaf rice.
And that’s when he saw it. The Red Masala Spicy Wing Challenge. If you manage to polish off all 12 wings as well as the spicy sauce within 15 minutes, you’ll get the dish for free.
Free. The word echoed throughout the room. Every Singaporean’s favourite word.
“If a woman can do it, so can you,” the words of the waiter shattered his train of thought. Now he had no choice. His manly pride was at stake.
While the chef was busy preparing the dish, Team Harris was busy preparing him for battle. His entire life led up to this one moment. It was time to prove himself. To show that he was indeed worthy.
The first bite was when he realised he f*cked up.
I bet you’re all wondering how it went. Did Harris manage to complete the challenge? Did he bring honour to his family? To quote the man himself:
“After the fourth wing the devil started to crawl up my ass.”
Was it worth it? Probably not. Maybe that’s why women live longer.
4) Boarding the wrong transport
Sometimes even if you plan to be early, fuck ups can still happen.
On day two, Kim & Jerome were to go on a day tour to Genting Highlands. The bus was scheduled to pick them up from our hostel at 8:30AM. They got up bright and early, had toast for breakfast and were good to go 10 minutes before the scheduled pick-up. Things were going according to plan. What a great start to the day!
When the bus arrived, the driver got out. “Cherie Sim?” he asked. “That’s us!” they replied and boarded the bus. “Crab Island Tour?”, he inquired.
“No, genting highlands.” Eh, like a bit weird leh. But no red flags were raised just yet.
The driver confirmed the booking and agreed to take them to Genting. Okay, all’s good now. We’re back on track.
All wasn’t good.
20 minutes later, a text popped up on our Telegram chat. “Eh Jerome and Kim where are y’all ah your bus is waiting for you outside the hostel.”
Not seconds after they got a call from a highly concerned Cherz. Turns out, the bus they were on was for a cancelled tour with another company. Whoops. The driver couldn’t turn back because of the jam and he had to pick up other (actual) customers. They had no choice but to head back to the hostel on foot to catch the right bus.
Problem #2: When they were five minutes away, they got another call from Cherz. The bus had left, but they had one last chance. Meet the bus at the next pickup point before 9:15AM. It was 8:56AM.
Luckily, lady luck was on their side this time and they managed to book a Grab within seconds! After some serious anxiety, they made it to the bus in time.
5) Accidentally leaving your travel partner behind
On our last night, we headed to Bilique Bar for some shisha and draaanks.
Some pretty great throwback hits (boogie wonderland yasss), decent enough company (just kidding, y’all are the best) and cheap drinks made for a really good night.
When we finally left at 3:20AM and booked three Grabs home, everything was fine and dandy… till we saw the message on Telegram.
“Guys where yall ah”
We had left our dear videographer intern Aldo, the life of the party, behind at said party. Turns out, the poor sucker went to the bathroom and when he came out, the lights were already switched off and the staff were busy cleaning up.
“No worries, my buddies should all be waiting for me outside” – Aldo, 2k19. Famous last words.
His “buddies” were already on the way home without a clue we had left him behind. Better yet, Aldo took care of the RM695 bill. And we still forgot about him (oops). I guess in our haste to get home and nab some sleep, we threw ourselves into cabs with whoever was around and assumed everyone else was accounted for.
Don’t worry, one of the Grabs made a detour to retrieve our lost property. We love you Aldorinos.
6) Food Poisoning
No trip would be complete without a classic food poisoning story. Our tale begins with three young hopefuls venturing out in search of sustenance.
It was 1AM and most stalls had already retired for the day. All hope was lost.
And there they saw it. In the distance. An Indian restaurant called President’s Corner. It was as if the president himself had heard their cries for help.
And that’s where it all went to sh*t. Literally.
This resulted in multiple runs to the toilet while they were on their separate day trips to Bukit Tinggi and Genting the next day.
To read about pleasant dining experiences in KL instead, check out our Ultimate Kuala Lumpur Food Guide!
7) Getting Lost… in the jungle
“This is the most jialat situation I’ve ever been in at TTI”. — Clarence, 2K19
On a last minute’s notice, Team Maya Falls (aka Clarence and Karin) got abandoned by their guide. After consulting with the lady at the hostel counter, they decided to take on another hike on their own. The lady claimed it was an easy hike. She said it wasn’t hard to navigate. She said it would take 45 minutes.
They took three hours.
For starters, Karin’s first step out of the Grab was into an ankle-deep puddle of muck.
Then, sometime between filming this wH0PpiNg c0NtENT above and washing her shoe, Clarence lost his phone. And a lens cap.
Don’t worry, we eventually found his phone lying a few millimetres away from the water. But the lens cap was not to be found… till hours later at the side pocket of his bag (LOL).
When they finally found the trail “entrance” it looked like a shady ass opening that, seriously, had warning signs all around it. Fun fact: That gaping hole there by the fence was where said entrance IS AT.
Later, they would hike for a good 40 minutes in the wrong direction until the footpath disappeared from sight… and that’s how you know you’re f*cked.
They kept up the #POSVIBES. After backtracking, they found a pathway that finally went up. All was gucci. Until tragedy struck yet again.
It had been two hours of wandering down an ulu trail and ZERO signs of humanity. The self-doubt crept in and morale was low — and falling apart like Karin’s shoe.
Very long story short — they made it anyway. Hallelujah.
Read also: 4D3N Kuala Lumpur Itinerary For Thrill-Seekers — Epic Experiences You Never Knew Existed
8) Getting stuck in a 3-hour jam
You would think that after everything that happened to us up till this point, we would have a peaceful journey home. But nope. Not at TTI. Nothing comes easy for us.
We were convinced that National Day Eve was the best day to travel back to Singapore. The jam was supposed to be towards KL and not from KL, right? Clearly, we weren’t the only ones with the same idea.
The plan was to reach Singapore at 6PM and start working on our KL content at 9PM, which has come to be known as a “chiong party”.
We only had 16 hours to hand in our completed assignment, be it a 3.5k article or 3-minute video, from 9PM to 1PM the next day.
Safe to say, we were all scared.
It was 6PM and we were nowhere near Singapore. Tensions were rising as we interns began to count down the number of hours left.
At 8PM, we had only just crossed the KL border. I practically had no nails left on my fingers by then (Yes, I am nail biter).
When we finally got back, it was 10PM. After showering and eating, the real work only began at 11PM.
We now had only 14 hours to complete our work.
48 Hours And Many Many Mistakes Later
Did we manage to finish our work?
Of course we did. As with every bootcamp and every batch, we were convinced we were going to show up with nothing but shame! And following tradition, that did not happen. Yes it was tiring, yes many things f*cked up, but we never gave up.
And just like this article, creating content this week taught us how to work together and how to laugh at ourselves in the face of adversity, as cliche as that sounds.
So if you are the next batch of Interns reading this, my one piece of advice to you is — just have a good sense of humour. Everything will be okay. (And okay lah, you also need to know how to take photos and write and not sleep sometimes and be able to work under deadlines).
Till the next TTI Bootcamp (I am ready to torture the next batch muhahahaha)!
Check out all our Kuala Lumpur content here!