SIBU: They could not be more different.
Hii Chang Kee Class of ‘85 was a head prefect of the school, Eddy Puah Teik Chai Class of ‘86 was a rugby player and a self-professed lost cause, Romeo Christopher Class of ‘88 was a down-to-earth school boy.
But as all three stood side by side after the Sarawak State Awards investiture ceremony on Thursday, there was no mistaking that these boys are from Sacred Heart.
Their eyes gleamed brightly and they spoke with passion when asked about their school. Their respect and gratitude for to their alma mater, their principal, mentor and father figure, the late Reverend Brother Albinus, their teachers and their classmates were apparent.
Thanking the state government and the various driving forces behind their nominations, all three dedicated their respective awards to Sacred Heart School.
Puah was conferred the Darjah Yang AmatMuliaBintang Sarawak Pegawai Bintang Sarawak (PBS) while Hii was conferred the Darjah Yang Amat Mulia Bintang Kenyalang Sarawak Pegawai Bintang Kenyalang (PBK) and Romeo the Darjah Yang Amat Mulia Bintang Bintang Sarawak Ahli Bintang Sarawak (ABS).
Puah is currently the senior manager for Amcorp Properties at Sibu Jaya, Hii is the secretary of Sibu Municipal Council and Romeo is a political secretary to the Chief Minister of Sarawak.
Looking back at the journey they have taken from their classrooms to the boardrooms and from the playgrounds to the political fields, all three also highlighted their classmates as being anchors in their lives.
“Classmates keep us grounded and down to earth. There is no rank and file, no rich and poor amongst the 86ixers and I can say the same applies to all the other years too,” said Puah.
He said it was his classmates that taught him a lot about being a better person and it was a lesson he continued to learn as they all reconnected recently after almost 30 years.
“They are still the same, they are still truthful and honest and that is just the way we like it,” Puah said.
Hii, who was instrumental in sparking off a massive gathering for his classmates this year, also thanked his school chums. “Teamwork. I have always said, teamwork is vital. And I am blessed to have found that in my classmates, my family and at SMC where I work,” he said.
Romeo, in thanking his political party for the nomination, also thanked his classmates for being there for him in his school days. “As a young boy, I would have been very lost if not for the support of my classmates, be it at homework, at play or sometimes as simple but as memorable as a meal from the canteen,” he said.