St. David’s High School, Melaka: A yam cha rendezvous
Above the steady clicks of a walking stick on hard pavement, we heard the thumps of hurrying footsteps.
“Sorry, we are late, sir”, an apologetic voice drifted close to our ears.
A tall masculine figure followed closely by a charming lady swept past us and strode hastily into a dim sum shop.
|The dim sum restaurant at Bukit Beruang|
“That’s Song Choi and his wife, my ex-colleague, Peter, said as we watched the couple disappear into the shop.
Having arrived before the appointed time, we threaded our way gingerly through the maze of chairs and tables. When we reached the entrance to an air-conditioned room, the affable couple were already waiting to welcome and usher us to our seats.
Weeks earlier I had received online messages and calls from Johnny Wee, Fook Siew and Song Choi asking me whether I would be free to join them for the St. David’s High School, Class of 72 Hometown Reunion dinner at the Ramada Hotel, Melaka on 18th February 2017 . As I had a prior engagement I had to decline their kind invitations.
Later as I viewed the videos forwarded to me I realised I had missed out on a fun-filled and entertaining evening and the opportunity to reconnect with my ex-students, most of whom I had not seen after leaving SDHS some 45 years ago.
|Participants at the SDHS Class of 72 Hometown Reunion|
For those teachers who could not make it to the Reunion, Song Choi, Johnny, Datuk Voon, Aw and others had kindly arranged for a yum cha and dim sum session at the Bukit Beruang Dim Sum Restaurant.
Song Choi who was in the process of helping me to download a video had to stop abruptly as other guests began to trickle in. Except for my ex-colleagues, I could barely recognize any of the students, but we were greeted with warm handshakes and welcoming smiles. Soon the specially reserved room was filled with eighteen excited ex-teachers and ex-students from SDHS.
Waitresses had started to trundle carts laden with a wide selection of dumplings, fried wonton, fish balls, spring rolls and other steaming delicacies and as they approached our tables and shouted out their offerings we were literally spoilt for choice.
|A wide selection of dim sum|
The quietude of the room was soon filled with happy chatter and boisterous laughter as the students took the opportunity to relive their nostalgic and carefree high school days and shared their youthful pranks.
It was evident the passage of time had not dissipated the strong sense of camaraderie among the students. For us, teachers, we were not only happy to see the bond of friendship that exists among them, but proud to see them displaying humility in spite of their achievements in life.
Caught up in the exuberance of the moment, we lost count of time, and only realised we had spent hours in the shop when someone announced, “ I think the shop is about to close”. As we downed our last morsel of dim sum and sipped the last drops of Chinese tea, I could hear the students making plan to visit some of their ex-teachers and for another get-together.
|Caring students chatting with their ex-teacher, Mr Jesudasan|
|A mini get-together with their special guest, Mr Ng Sin Min|
As we were about to take our leave, we were pleasantly surprise to be presented with a gift. Later, I discovered it was a framed montage of school photographs which were presented to all participants at the Ramada Reunion.
|A perfect school memorabilia generously donated by|
Lee Thiam Lai and Rai Avalani
It was a fitting memento that would surely be kept and treasured by all. As we made our way to the car another surprise awaited us. Aw rushed over and handed each of us boxes of Chinese tea.
|Gifts from a student|
Back at home, comfortably ensconced on a couch and slowly sipping tea I began to reminisce about my teaching days at St. David's High School.
Below are some videos of the St. David's High School Class of 72 Hometown Reunion ( courtesy of Li Chowan Hock and Chong Song Choi)
SDHS: A teacher's recollections