It started with an unofficial gathering a week before. A wedding invitation from a classmate, Rahim Hj Mohd. Six classmates from GEST (Government English School Tumpat) attended the wedding. There were Majid, Razak, Beng Gee and yours truly with our spouses. Coming solo were Heng Tao and Kamaruddin. Our unofficial meeting of old classmates felt that it was time for another meeting of old friends. Beng Gee kindly agreed to sponsor and we would hold it in July. Come August 1, Kamarudin would be flying back to South Africa where he "lives" until his wife gets transferred to another country.
Being an efficient retired Senior Police Officer, Rtd SAC I Dato' Wee Beng Gee (the official version) quickly sms'd the proposed gathering at Restoran Baloh, located somewhere in Damansara. Menu? What else if not Nasi Dagae and Laksae and Akok for desert.
So this day, saw a long overdue arrival of 15 classmates, some have not met one another for several years while in between some of them, have not met each other for a good 30 years.
The guest of honor had to be Mr Tan Kok Hong. No free high-tea for the Cik Gu for he was "invited" to say a few words. At a sprightly age of 73, we the "boys and girls" of his Std 1 class of 1957 certainly could listen to words of wisdom and health from Mr Tan. We all recalled Mr Tan as a great athlete. Back in 1960, he did 10.9 sec and 21.9 sec respectively for the 100m and 200m event in a sports meet. His 200m record is still standing till today! Syabas Cik Gu.
Something told me that LINDA WEE and SITI ESAH may not have met since they left school. It's moments like this that makes meeting up with old friends forever meaningful. Linda is a retired nurse and Siti remained a faithful housewife eversince she left school.
On the opposite pole, Kamaruddin (left) and Wan Mamat had been in touch regularly though Wan Mamat retired in Trengganu and Kamaruddin is a jet-setter who had been living overseas for a considerably long time. Back in 2005 when I was doing my cycling tour around Peninsular Malaysia, Wan Mamat had been one of those who kept track of my progress and invited me to speak on Cycling for Health to his KETENGAH staff.
And here we have Kamaruddin inviting friends to come visit him in South Africa. Just pay for your flight tickets there and he'll be the host. We unanimously agreed that we'll have to wait for Air Asia or Firefly to fly there before we plan a visit program.
Razak (left) and Rahim were two sportmen of yesteryears. I recalled Razak as a superstar in his prime days, an athlete as well as a great footballer. What happened to him now is best to ask him.
Rahim, another great footballer though, remained with little excess baggage. Rahim retired as a sportscaster with RTM. As a sportscaster, he retained his youth. I recalled once he wanted to interview me for a golf tournament held at Saujana, where I used to work. While I used to be on air regularly, I refused to be interviewed by him. I didn't think it would be easy for any Kelantanese to speak proper bahasa when he knew the interviewer is also a Kelantanese! Kawae takut gelechoh wei!
Two other classmates are Aw Heng Tao (right) and Gan Eng Thuan. Heng Tao is a PERFUSIONIST. Know what profession it is? Well, it's the person who handles the heart and lung machine for someone undergoing a heart bypass. Er...Heng Tao, we hope we only meet you during occassions like this old boys gathering or at IKEA or One-Utama.
I'm sure Gan Eng Thuan, an active golfer would agree. He now manages a transportation company, rightly so after retiring from KTM recently.
Another retired Sr Police Officer is Rtd SAC II Dato' Majid Abdullah. He was an import from Pt Klang. His late father was transferred to Tumpat as a Train Driver in the late 50s but made Tumpat their permanent resident. Majid's spoken loghat is not a suspect having lived and schooled in Tumpat until he joined the Police Force. He retired as Deputy CPO Negri Sembilan and now lives in Seremban.
Wee Cheng Boon (Alwi Abdullah) retired as MAS fleet manager, managing the MAS vans that picked and drop the pilots, stewards and stewardesses. He was one of the band-boys in Tumpat, contributing his vocal chords during concerts and talentimes.
And then there is Ang Lian Lian who speaks perfect Queen's English. And why not? Lian is married to orang putih lah and together with hubby Mike, had travelled almost all the beaten tracks of this world. I kept touch quite often with Lian because of our common interest in travel.
I had left Tumpat when Lor Ean Sor (left) came to join the class. She's a real-estate agent. I believe she had left Tumpat a long time ago but still maintained her loghat when talking to her classmates.
I had to leave Rosli Salleh last. Look at him. Slim since before. Sour grapes like us called him skinny. Jet black hair and plenty to show off to us mere mortals. I asked him whether it's original and he challenged me to pull the hair. Sorry babe, I don't caress men's hair....yeach...too greasy too.
And he had the attention of the ladies too.
Anyway, all good things must come to an end. Before we parted companies, a group photo is a must.
First, only the classmates with Mr Tan
Then, surely must also be with the spouses
Till we meet again, hopefully, with everyone here and many others.
JUPO LAGI LAIN KALI