2002 SLTS Retreat
The highlight of 2002 was the 2002 Theosophical Retreat. We had a most enjoyable weekend at Nongsa Point Marina which is located on the Indonesian island of Batam in the Riau Archipelago, south of Singapore. In the morning of August 24, 47 of us boarded the ferry at the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal bound for Nongsapura in Batam. At Nongsa Point Marina we were joined by two members from the Indonesian Section. Sister Andrini Martono, 72, and Brother Soedadi flew in from Jakarta especially to join us for the two-day retreat.
The workshops on “Self-Realization and Development” were well attended. The 42 participants, divided into four work groups, had an interesting time going through the four modules of Observation, Introspection, Realization and Action. We had a fairly intensive programme spread over the two days. There was a very high degree of interaction in all the four work groups. Everyone seemed to pitch in with great enthusiasm. More significantly, the participants contributed in real earnest and with much sincerity, considering the inherent sensitivity and personal nature of the subject. The conclusions of the four work groups for each of the modules, were presented to all the attendees for mutual benefit. There was a real sense of sharing and harmony in the two days of the retreat. The general feeling was that the workshops were useful and helpful and, to a greater or lesser extent, made us re-examine ourselves.
The resort did an excellent job with the vegetarian meals. Considering that that was the first time they had to cater for a large group of vegetarians, the chefs did a remarkable job. With a total of four meals and four tea breaks with delicious snacks in between, it did seem as though we never stopped eating. One might even say that we were bordering on overindulgence. Then again, we could say that it was through no fault of ours that we were pampered! The dinner by the sea was most memorable with live music and the complaisant singer who even coaxed one of our members to ‘guest star’ to sing a song, much to the delight of her fellow members. Only at 10 p.m. (11 p.m. Singapore time) when the performers retired did the group reluctantly disperse and turn in for the night.
The morning meditation at 8 a.m. saw an enthusiastic group, almost in full force. This was surprising, as not only was it early but it was also an optional event.
In the midst of our two day activities we even managed an excursion downtown. 44 of us went in two coaches for a tour including a visit to a large Buddhist temple and Batam Centre.
All in, the retreat was a wonderful experience. The youngest member of the group was 5 years old and the oldest, 84—a wide range, you would agree. Members of the Singapore Lodge do not get much opportunity to get up close and personal with other members. The two days at the retreat certainly brought the group closer. We have now seen members in their casual moments, more relaxed and unguarded.
All too soon, the retreat came to a close. We boarded the 6:30 p.m. ferry on Sunday evening and headed for home, arriving in Singapore just after 8 p.m.—having enjoyed 35 hours of spiritual retreat. The popular question was “When is the next retreat?”