RECONNECTING the CLASS of U6 1961
Kim Boon, Yeow Khean, Khee Ming, Nasir Ahmad, Kor Voon and Cheng Law
For the Class U6 ’61, a 2011 reunion was recently proposed to celebrate our 50 years after Upper Six in V.I. When it was apparent there was little patience in waiting for five years and as demand mounted for an earlier reunion, it was decided to arrange one for 2007.
An Organizing Committee was formed comprising
The weekend of 14th - 15th April 2007 marked a milestone in the lifetime of the Victorians who gathered at Hotel Equatorial in Bangi, Malaysia. It was a weekend that brought back the excitement of youth, vigour and laughter, a weekend that evoked a spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings (to quote the Lake District poet, William Wordsworth). None of the participants or their spouses (or ‘spice’ as some Victorians called them) could have imagined how much that weekend would mean to them when they registered on Saturday morning.
Registration on Saturday morning turned out to be both interesting and amusing as each Victorian tried to make out classmates or schoolmates they had not seen for 46 years. Looking beyond the gray hairs (or, for some, no hair), the extra pounds and the increased lines on the face, everyone somehow managed to rediscover that connection with their ‘lost’ friends. A voice, a smile, a facial expression, a hand gesture or movement or a particular word or phrase (some of which are not printable nor even mentionable!) and, lo and behold, we were recognized!
It was great fun trying to flesh out those 46 years. And memory being what it is for us ‘senior citizens’ including some grandfathers and grandmothers, some had difficulty in remembering names or putting a name to the face. But the final recognition was sweet. From then on there was no stopping the talk that ensued. There were warm hugs, good natured back slapping, ribbing and incessant cheers as each reconnection was celebrated.
In fact, the chatter that started on Saturday morning did not stop till Sunday afternoon. The whole atmosphere seemed to revert to school days. Everyone was exchanging stories of the past and reveling in highlighted and spirited episodes. The noise level was high with non-stop chatter and laughter. Kah Poong, our self-appointed monitor, had to use the whistle constantly (reminiscent of the good old V.I. days) to round us up for the various events. Mr Lim Eng Thye, had he been around, would have had a field day knocking heads!
Buffet lunch was sumptuous and Victorians from all over the world (UK, US, Canada, Australia, Singapore), could be seen tucking into the Malaysian food they missed. That Malaysian people and Malaysian food are an inseparable combination is certainly a truism. It is a great
Tucking into the lunch: Kah Poong, Leng Mun, Yew Chin, Chee Liang, Lee Lee (Mrs Khee Ming); Ah Lek and wife Keelah;
Yeow Khean, Agnes (Mrs Chor Keen, in blue), Yoke Lin (Mrs Yeow Khean), Kim Boon (in red)
pull factor for our oversea Malaysians to visit Malaysia. Equally true is the fact that people here establish close friendships and business links over food or drinks. So the lunch started the ball rolling.
The event after lunch was “Going Down Memory Lane”. It was truly a nostalgic journey. Singing the school song, observing a minute’s silence for teachers and classmates who had passed away, seeing the photo shots of classes, events, social get-togethers, societies, games and club events of Victorians from primary school days (especially Batu Road School) till U6 days brought squeals of laughter and excitement to all those who were present. Trying to identify one another in the photographs was interesting. Nasir Ahmad’s contributions of his school photographs added greater fun.
After the tea break, it was time for the “Daisy Chain” during which individuals went up on stage to give a brief summary of their lives and achievements for two to three minutes. Facilitated by Vijayan and Kah Poong, this session revealed the diverse achievements of Victorians whose varied career paths-and-experiences, challenges of life
Self-Introductions: Vijayan's V.I. anecdotes has Padmini (front) and everyone else in stitches.
and events had helped to mould great characters. Many had achieved national and international fame and there were truly humbling moments, moments that also filled us with pride and thankfulness that we had managed to uphold the name of our school “in our work and in our leisure”. The 46 years have certainly been “46 years of diverse achievements”.
Piling their plates: Leng Kuan, Siew Chee (Mrs Chee Wah), Chor Keen, Yoke Lin (Mrs Yeow Khean),
Kong Eng, Ishrat (Mrs Nasir Ahmad), John Doraisamy, Balasingam
The BBQ dinner cemented further the friendships that had been renewed throughout the day. It was an enjoyable evening of great food, entertainment and fellowship among friends. The separation of 46 years seemingly did not make a difference as everyone was busy exchanging name cards and making future plans to keep in touch. With wine and beer flowing freely, the atmosphere was happy, light-hearted and jovial. The audience was entertained by Stanley Loh and Lee Kor
Still going strong: Made-in-V.I.-entertainment by The Kaverly Duo (born V.I., 1959) with back-up from Cheng Law (right)
Voon (popularly known during their V.I. days as "The Kaverly Duo") with back-up from Chan Yuen Tuck, Lim Cheng Law and Ishrat (Nasir’s spouse). Everyone had a great time joining in the singing and Yuen Tuck’s deep voice melted the hearts of many of the women present.
During the course of the dinner, messages from two former teachers, Ms Pek Lin Chiew Wong and Mr Saw Chu Thong, who could not attend the reunion, were read out. Later Mr John Doraisamy, our former Economics and General Paper teacher who had come with his wife Patricia, gave an interesting talk on his teaching days at the V.I. He is still sharp and his memory is superb. Some Victorians took the opportunity to say a few words while others had a session of ‘relevant’ jokes. The happy mood continued till well past midnight.
Breakfast on Sunday was a long and unhurried affair. The atmosphere was one of warmth, fellowship and great bonding, an extension of the day before. If not for the need to check out of the hotel, breakfast would have extended to lunch and possibly dinner as everybody was in such relaxed and mellow mood.
Everyone expressed positive feelings about the reunion. Expressions like “an excellent effort”, “worthy and inspirational”, “wouldn’t have missed it for anything”, “it was like coming home”, characterised the general feedback of the overall programme. Differences in career paths, social status or cultural inclinations were set aside for renewed friendships.
Every Victorian left the hotel that day with the feeling that the next reunion should not be too far in the future. This reunion had laid the foundation. Whether it is in two years' or four years’ time, it is hoped that all the 1961 U6 (and 1960/1962 U6) Victorians will make an effort to be present at the next gathering!
..... on to 2011 ! !
Prepared by Padmini Menon with contributions from the Organizing Committee.
Page-Keeper: Chung Chee Min