What a great evening! Two very swaku ex-students going back to their school Founder's Day Dinner for the first time in twenty years. I bet people thought Miyagi and I were mad, taking so many photos and running around looking for old teachers. We looked like tourists.
We found Miss Bok and Mrs Suppiah (who were sincerely happy to see us old boys), and Miyagi found some of his JC teachers (I "betrayed" the school and went to another JC, that is now an Institution). We were both looking for Mrs Tessie Cheng, who taught us Literature and was my LDDS (Literary, Drama and Debating Society) teacher-in-charge, but we were told that she went to teach at a sister school, and may be retired.
In the process of teacher-hunting, I blocked
an OHP a projector hooked up to an iBook, up front, during some prize-giving and Miyagi got hit on by a teacher who took a liking to his boyish good looks (so hemsem, this boy).
Miyagi, being the well-prepared kind of guy, forgot to charge his camera battery, and ended up with some blurred shots of a famous personality who is our school mate, and so had to depend on my fully-charged camera, with 1Gb of memory, for the rest of his shots.
Driving into the car park of the Shangri-la, I had a hard time finding a parking lot because of all the BMWs occupying the spaces (I also BMW: Basic Motor Wehicle). My school produces a lot of high-flying people (Miyagi and me are the low-flying ones, but more hemsem). So I parked at a lot used to store spare hotel potted plants.
It was nice to know some things never change at the school. We come in only to kena have to fight through the gauntlet of kids trained to ask for donations. I now believe that the school produces so many businessmen and bankers because at a tender age of 6, you are given a donation card and pushed out into the big bad world to thick-skinnedly ask grown-ups for donations for the eternal School Building Fund.
Yes, the school buildings always seem to need some work done. One of my schoolmates was overheard asking a young boy with his donation card, "For the new building? What's wrong with the old one?"
But we laughed and gave anyway.
Most of my schoolmates recognised me, after picturing me with huge glasses and shaving off about 30kgs in their mind. And with typical schoolboy candour, remarked how fat I have become (#$@&$^% chao turtle). Thanks ah.
In our conversations, we found out that Miyagi's ECA in school was Audio Visual Monitor (Lord of the OHP), and I was Paddy in the musical Dazzle.
Dazzle was an ambitious musical staged when I was in Secondary 3, performed at the Victoria Theatre. It was a musical parody of Star Trek and Dan Dare shows, and I was the comic relief, the clueless Irish chief engineer, Mr Paddy.
The highlight of that musical, besides performing to two sold-out nights at the Vic, was the fact that we had REAL chicks acting the female roles. Our female actors were not some poor yobs wearing a dress, as some previous, less professional school productions had done (we are an all-boys school). No! Our production deployed many lovely young ladies from Singapore Chinese Girls' School (SCGS), the school with the sexiest school uniform (still is) and some of the finest looking babes around. We even remember some of their names today... Connie, Bena... Needless to say, rehearsals then saw full attendance.
At the dinner, we sang the school anthem, which Miyagi pretended to sing (despite my emailing him the whole song a day before) and which I sang every word of by heart (don't believe what Miyagi says, I remembered it from 10 years of singing the anthem).
There was a prize-giving ceremony (the one where I walked in front of the projector) and a dancing item somewhere in the middle, by the ACJC Dancing and Drama company or something like that. I bet the guys joined for the chicks (love of dance my backside). In our day, to meet chicks, the boys had to join The Interact Club, ok?
In my find-a-teacher rounds, I somehow ended up at the VVIP table and had a nice chat with a certain nice Minister (also an old boy). We talked about my daughter Faith and special schools, whether my wife and I were planning to have a third kid (haha), and I also learned some interesting stuff and views I will not share here. Suffice to say, nice dude, he.
He asked for my email address, and at that moment, I regretted giving away all my business cards, and was about to pull out an old traffic ticket to write on. But he gave me one of his cards to write on instead. Thank goodness.
I also spoke to Joy, a nice lady who was at that VVIP table. Joy had previously helped to raise funds for the Autism Resource Centre, and she also understood many of the human resource issues that special needs organizations in Singapore face.
A lot of important people looked like they wanted to talk to the Minister, so I bailed (and I felt bad keeping him from his dinner anyway), excused myself and shook his hand, returning to my motley crew.
I am told that, coming soon, for the class of '85 ("O" Levels), a separate gathering will be held in July at the school. There are more than 500 of you lot out there, so let's see how many monkeys we can gather for that event. It should be a riot.