Free massages, perhaps not for civil servants

Free massages, perhaps not for civil servants

BALI - Organizers of the many Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in Bali are doing their best to provide a top-class service to about 4,000 journalists from around the world covering the events, including free massages by traditional Balinese masseuses.

At the dining room near the press conference hall at the Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort, four masseuses wearing traditional Balinese kebaya waited for tired journalists by massage chairs.

One of the chairs was occupied by a photographer who wanted relief for aching shoulders after carrying around camera equipment for hours. The other three chairs were vacant.

The hall was filled with dozens of journalists who had just covered the opening session of the APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Travel Facilitation at the hotel, on Tuesday. However they did not realise the massage was a complimentary service.

"Is that for free?" a journalist asked a masseuse, she nodded. The three vacant massage seats were swiftly occupied by exhausted journalists.

Two men dressed as civil servants who were relaxing near the media area watched closely as the ladies massaged the journalists' backs, shoulders, necks and heads.

Feeling tempted and seeing two of the seats left vacant by journalists, the officials decided to avail themselves of the free service.

Their civil servant uniforms attracted photographers to take pictures of them having the massages.

Appearing nervous, one of the civil servants asked his colleague, "are they going to put those pictures in the newspaper? If our bosses see the pictures they will think that we are here only to get massages rather than attending the conference."

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