Sixth Form Arts Class of 1962/1963 Reunion
July 23-25 and 29, 2010
After the happy and most memorable first reunion of our class of 1962/1963 in August 2008, we met again two years later, on Friday the 23rd of July at the world heritage site of lovely Penang, and this time for a four-day reunion!
This year’s reunion was initially to be organised and spearheaded by Datuk Tengku Idaura from Penang. She has recently been made the Ketua Penguasa (Curator) of the Penang Botanic Gardens and I think she already has her eyes set to tear down a few unsightly arches in the gardens and shape up the gardens as well..... ! Dato S. Jegatheesan from Alor Star was supposed to help Idaura with the organising of the reunion, but sadly, he passed away last year and the whole task of organising fell on the very feminine shoulders of Idaura. Undaunted, she singlehandedly, superbly organised a most memorable event generously filled once again with nostalgia, non-stop laughter and excitement for three whole days!!!
In this she was ably assisted by Chiew Ah Kim in Australia who had the unenviable task of contacting and rounding up everyone for the reunion. To say he was determined to round everybody up is an understatement! Unfortunately, due to unavoidable circumstances, many old friends were unable to attend, and only 15 of us finally managed to meet up in Penang. This time the old friends consisted of:
Agnes Kok, Prof. Dr. Cheong Kee Cheok, Chiew Ah Kim (& wife Grace), Datuk Tengku Idaura, Leow Lee Fah, Lim Ah Hoon (& wife Beng Hua), Liu Cheng Choong, Liu Tai Meng, Ng Boon Teck, Baljit Kaur (Jeeta), Ng Lian Soon (& husband Kok), Dato Nik Sidek, Datin Shahidah, Shaun Yee, Shirley Lai.
On the 22nd, one day before the actual reunion, Idaura, Kim, Grace, Shirley and I met in the afternoon in Idaura's house to finalise the reunion programme and last minute arrangements in between sampling her durians.
Idaura and Grace prepare for the evening's fare
The actual reunion started the next day at around 7.30 p.m. in the spacious garden of the beautiful residence of Idaura and husband Askandar, surrounded by a galaxy of plants and flowers.
Many friends were staying at the Vistana Hotel Apartments and around 7.15 pm, Kim and I ferried them in two cars to Idaura's residence close-by. Needless to say, the group met very excitedly over cool drinks before we were treated to a magnificent buffet of salivating local food and sumptuous delights provided by our gracious hostess who had prepared nasi kerabu Kelantan style with salted eggs, keropok, sambal stuffed grilled fish, ayam percik, kerabu (salad) taugeh and angle-bean daging bakar (beef filet grilled with saffron), ulam, rojak buah Penang-style, coconut agar-agar from the garden, durian ice cream, and seasonal fruits!
It had been raining steadily the previous nights but on this night of the reunion, the weatherman and the gods were understandably kind, and we had a clear, cool and lovely evening. Even some mosquitoes from the garden joined in and they feasted happily on Lee Fah and Agnes Kok!
Shaun making the evening truly magical.. !
After a most sumptuous buffet dinner, the entertainment began. We were treated to a humorous recitation of jokes from Boon Teik and Shirley Lai and finally the inevitable magic show by Shaun Yee, assisted by Jeeta, Boon Teik, Lee Fah, Ah Hoon, Idaura, Shirley and Grace, and a very enjoyable and magical evening filled with fun, laughter and nostalgia was had by everyone.
Now this was only the start!
The next day, Saturday, there was breakfast at the Kayu restaurant followed by different tours organised by Idaura who had arranged for a mini bus to transport everyone around. We visited the George Town Heritage Site, had lunch at a restored heritage house, The Sire Restaurant, and then later on in the afternoon, we went to Balik Pulau for a durian feast. That's where Ah Kim gently floated up to cloud nine. Many, many thanks to Tai Meng who offered and graciously paid for the feast for all of us! Incidentally, Tai Meng has just self-published her excellent cook book Six Kitchens One Passion. It's a well-written book filled with loads of photos!
After the durian binge, Idaura took us for a jaunt at a nice stretch of beach close-by, then it was dinner time at the Ilyana cafe in Telok Kumbar famous for their mee udang and other seafood. That was a lovely dinner!
On Sunday, Agnes, Lee Fah, Boon Teik and Jeeta had to leave, but there were more surprises for the remaining group who visited the tropical spice garden in Telok Bahang and the Peranakan Museum in the morning. Lunch was at the Hai Nan Nyonya Restaurant which served very delicious kari ikan, asam pedas; curry kapitan and other nyonya fare. Ah Hoon & Beng Hua surprised all of us by insisting on picking up the tab, so many, many thanks to you two!
Kee Cheok and Cheng Choong unfortunately had to leave for KL after the lunch, and our group was now reduced again. The survivors battled on and it was off to the Chowrasta market and the Ghee Hiang biscuit factory to shop for local foodstuff and other goodies. We then had dinner (my goodness, time to eat again??) at the patio of the Beach Blanket Babylon, a very gracious Italian style restaurant. This time, Ah Kim and Grace insisted on buying the dinner for everyone, so many, many thanks to you two for another delicious dinner!
Then to climax this exciting evening, after dinner, Idaura invited us back to her residence for another round of durians and cempedak and drinks! Wow!!!!! But could everyone still eat anything? You bet! and I must say, with durians around, Ah Kim immediately levitated up to cloud nine once more!
Idaura's Dinner Guests
We also had yet another surprise. Nik Sidek and Shahidah invited all of us for a final buffet dinner at their residence in Damansara in KL on Thursday the 29th and also to meet up with all our other friends in KL who had missed out on the Penang reunion! Most of us made it to Nik's, and this time there were 21 of us and we were happy to meet up with Hassanuddin and his wife Noorsham, Rahil Mahyuddin, Jauhari and Tungku Zaman. Of course, Nik and Shahidah's buffet was another mouth-watering feast of local goodies! They served two types of middle eastern rice, very delicious lamb shank, chicken cooked Iranian style, chicken kuzi (Kelantan dish), beef dengdeng (Indon version of rendang), cucumber acar, mixed veggie sambal belacan, green salad, keropok from Kelantan.... and of course the King of Fruits... and local fruits from Long Sam's orchard for dessert!
Nik Sidek's dinner party; Tucking in; Nik serving lamb to Grace and Idaura
Thanks a million, Nik and Shahidah! Hey, come to think of it, this year's reunion seems to be a gourmet reunion!
In fact, Idaura even came down by bus all the way from Penang to attend Sidek's buffet with her very lovely daughter, and then after dinner, late in the night, immediately took another bus back to Penang!! Boy, does this girl have energy!! In the same vein, Lian Soon and her husband drove all the way down from Pahang and after dinner, drove home again in the dark. I must say, the old VI kids are very tough!
Standing: Hassanuddin, Sidek, Kok, Jauhari, Ah Hoon, Shaun, Kee Cheok, Zaman, Cheng Choong, Ah Kim;
Sitting: Shirley Lai, Agnes Kok, Rahil, Lian Soon, Lee Fah, Idaura, Grace, Noorsham, Shahidah, Tai Meng, Beng Hua
So once again, as in 2008, all of us had a really tremendous reunion, and our grateful thanks must go to Idaura for her precise organisation and generosity, to Ah Kim for his dogged persistence in tracking down everyone and for all the photos of the reunion, to Nik Sidek and Shahidah for their surprise ending, and to Tai Meng, Ah Hoon, Beng Hua, Ah Kim and Grace for picking up the various meal tabs! Lastly but not least, my many thanks to Shirley for helping me with the facts in this report (and boy, did she spot all my errors!!) and to all of you who attended this reunion to make it another unforgettable event!
Viva, VI friends, grazie mille e arrivederci till next time!
Photos supplied by Chiew Ah Kim
Last update: November 27, 2010.
Page-Keeper: Chung Chee Min