A PSYCHEDELIC REUNION
Sixth Form Arts Classes of 1962/1963
Merry-making was the order of business when the class of 1962-63 came together again for our annual reunion on Saturday, June 7, at the Shangri-La Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. This year’s reunion was special and a departure from our past gatherings in several memorable ways.
First, the entire project was conceptualized, organized, choreographed, scripted, and bankrolled (ran out of verbs to use), down to the door gifts by Hasanuddin Hamid and his better half Sham.
Second, there was also a specific theme – “Psychedelic Colors” – when in previous years, the unspoken theme was that we were a year older than when we last met. “Psychedelic” applied to the colors of the pills we popped would not qualify us for entry.
Third, the whole event was scripted, down to what to wear, what to sing and who was to do what at which time. Lastly, although not so much as a departure, the largest gathering (thirty of us) since our inaugural reunion was there to celebrate a fitting testimony to Din’s popularity and “persuasiveness” and a buy-in to his belief that we were “forever young.”
In keeping with the theme, the dress code was “no blacks, browns and greys … unless they are part of a costume”. On the other hand, “girls with flowers in their hair" would not only be welcomed but stood a chance of “winning a special prize.” Men with the same were warned that they would be thrown into the slammer by the religious police and risked having their appendages cut off.
With the theme reflected in the décor of the room and the host and hostess in full regalia, the evening got off to a festive start. No one broke protocol, each trying his/her best to dress appropriately for the occasion, with varying degrees of success. Success, of course, depended on the power of recall of an era long past, on how ridiculous we were prepared to look, and on how desperate we wanted the prizes Din was going to award. These prizes were for the best psychedelic attire, the best effort in psychedelic attire, the grooviest dancer on the floor, the almost groovy dancer on the floor, with each category judged separately for male and female. Cross-dressers were not eligible for prizes.
A sumptuous dinner was followed by singing followed and by even more singing, with the band starting off with the night’s theme song “Shout“, chosen by - who else - Din himself! Microphones were aplenty, as were song sheets. To nobody’s surprise, the group’s full repertoire of talent was on display - from the ability to produce decibels that would wake the dead (some obviously mistook the title of the theme song for an instruction from Din), to each singing to his/her own tune all at the same time, to fantasies of being Mario Lanza reborn. After a slow beginning, the floor heated up, too – after all prizes were to be won! To this mayhem was added a tasteless joke or two and much croaking that passed off as a solo. But through it all, the ladies remained composed and resplendent.
The theme “forever Young” reverberated through the entire evening, never mind that the age of the songs the band played or sang reminded everyone otherwise. The fine line between acting young and acting infantile was crossed many a time too.
As the evening headed towards midnight, the party wound down, prizes were awarded, and the baton was passed to a new committee to organize the next reunion. And as this new committee woke up from the “forever young” spell it was clear that this evening was going to be a hard act to follow.
Page-Keeper: Chung Chee Min