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Making the Impossible Possible towards Transformation Vision 2020
Message from Organising Committee, Mr Lam Kwai Soon
This year is the 25th Anniversary of Cheng & Co Group. In 2017 we put our thinking caps on to plan all activities to mark this occasion. We wanted something that is challenging and promotes team work, aligned with our Transformation Vision for 2020.
The idea of climbing Mount Kinabalu was proposed during Cheng & Co’s Hang Zhou trip in November 2017 when I was delivering a presentation. At the time the response from more than 40 partners, division partners and senior managers were really and I was then assigned as the person in charge of organising this trip.
After coming back to Kuala Lumpur, I set up a committee to organise the trip and it was set for September 2018. A memorandum for staff to register for the trip was issued and response initially wasn’t as good as expected. There were less than five. I contacted the senior level staff to find out reasons for non-registration with fitness being a primary concern. With their tight working schedule, they were worried that there might not be time for preparation and training.
In order to make this trip to happen, a lot of effort went into encouraging them by making them understand the importance of the trip and the training programmes that will be provided to help them over the next six months for preparation.
In the end, we managed to 45 staff were convinced and registered for the trip. We started our training program in March 2018 by organising fortnightly hiking activities over the weekend, while Cheng & Co Foundation sponsored weekly Yoga classes. The training activities were not only limited to those who have registered for the trip, but were open to all Cheng & Co’s staff, business associates and friends.
Beside fitness preparations, many items were needed for climbing such as hiking shoes, hiking bags, windbreaker jackets, etc. The Committee did the relevant research and came up with a list to assist participants of the trip.
Personally, I’ve never been to Mount Kinabalu. I have no idea how tough the challenges are. I have tried to ask friends who have been there on things to take note off, especially on safety. The Management was also worried about the fitness of participants as we found out that not everyone was doing regular training sessions, although many joined in for a few hiking activities three weeks before the trip.
During Climbing Of Mount Kinabalu
Our trip began on 24th September 2018 until 27th September 2018, all participants arrived and gathered in Kota Kinabalu and we spent the night at Kinabalu Park. The next day we started the climb at 9.15am from Timpohon Gate. There were nine Mountain Guides for our group, one leading us from the front, with two at the back to make sure there was no one left behind and the six walking in between.
From Timpohon Gate we went to Laban Rata where we rested before climbing up to the Peak. It was a 6km distance which took around 6 hours in average speed. In these 6km climb, we have to keep going up and the mountain roads were steep. It really tested our stamina, strength of our leg muscles and determination. For the first 4km, there were many staircases to walk. But the real challenge was in the last 2km where the roads were rocky and we had been walked 4km within a few hours and legs began tiring. Some of us started experiencing cramps.
As we were in a big group, walking with varied pace, we spread out during the climb. The first member reached Laban Rata at around 2pm and the last group of 5 arrived at around 6.30pm.
These 6km hike was a really tough job and for those who do not exercise often, it almost made them fully exhausted before reaching Laban Rata. But everyone was very determined to make it. The spirit was excellent!
After dinner, those who wanted to climb to the Summit the next day, very early in the morning at 2am, needed to start resting at around 7pm in order to wake up at 1am to prepare and have a light meal before going to the Summit.
Some of them were extremely exhausted and suffered muscle pain, resulting in many out of the 45 not joining the climb to the Summit. There were around 30 members who joined the group to the Summit.
The challenges to Summit
With the tiredness of the first day, waking up at 1am it was not easy. We started the climb to the summit at 2.30am and it took almost four hours.
One of the toughest challenges was the altitude. The air was thin at the height of 3,300 meters above sea level. Climbing in the dark with head lights and swept by the 3 degree chill further added fatigue and we were all feeling sleepy.
We had to reach the Sayat Sayat Check Point before 5am, otherwise we would not be allowed to pass through as to ensure the climbers have enough time to reach the summit and back down.
I met a few members at Sayat Sayat Check Point, at around 4.10am, while the rest were still behind us. We were really hoping that all of them were able to make it by reaching before 5am.
Without further delay, a few of us continued to the Summit. The road after that was even tougher. We were walking on rocks and using ropes to pull ourselves up. From the front it seems like there was no end to the rocky road. We walked in small steps with frequent short breaks due to tiredness.
It took us about one and half hours to reach the summit. When I got there, three members have already arrived, and five were there before them. They are Ms. Su Mei Yen, Mr. Tan Wei Cong, Mr. Manfred Wong, our Executive Chairman, Prof. Dato Dr Chua Hock Hoo and Mr. Eugene Lim.
At Sunrise, we raised our Banner and took a Group photo which was followed by a few more members arriving. Out of 30 members, 25 of us made it to the summit.
This climb showed that all everyone was very committed and determined to achieve our goals. Some of them even managed it without training that often. The biggest inspiration was our Executive Chairman Prof. Dato Dr Chua who was able to be among the first five to reach the summit. This is due to the incorporation of the belief in “Making the impossible possible” into all our minds. We believe that it has created the momentum for us to drive Cheng & Co towards achieving the Transformation for our Vision 2020.
Bravo Cheng & Co!
I would like to thank the committee members who made this trip successful, they are Eugene Lim, Catherine Chew, Martin, Jerry Lim, Chi En and Manfred Wong who is our leader in hiking activities. Other than that, the supports and input given from the Management, our CEO, Tom Wong, COO, Melissa Thoo, HR Director Alex Kang and Executive Chairman, Prof Dato Dr Chua.
At last, Cheng & Co would like to thank the sponsors for the climbing trip, SASA, Atmosphere 360 Revolving Restaurant @ KL Tower, Bispoint, Indah, BS Management Consultants, GLM and Yoji that gave us a lot of encouragements.
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