SXI Penang Class of ‘78 planning grand gathering on June 4

(From left) Organising committee members Khor, Abdul Malik Mohd Hussain, Chew, Lt-Col Joseph Rajah, and Tan meeting up to plan the upcoming reunion.

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IT WILL be a significant reunion for St Xavier’s Institution Class of 1978 this year as they turn 55. To celebrate, they are planning to have their largest reunion bash yet, and give a chance to their children to visit their beloved school grounds.

The reunion, to be held on June 4 at Dewan Heah Joo Seang on the school grounds, will mix things up with some local flavours as many alumni have moved out of Penang.

Among the various activities to be held are a trip to a Balik Pulau durian farm, golfing at the Penang Golf Club, and a hawker-style buffet dinner.

Organising chairman Tan Lee Kee said the 160 Xaverians that had confirmed their attendance so far included those living in the US, China, New Zealand, Vietnam and many from the UK.

“We are hoping to get 250 and break our record of 195 alumni that attended the previous 50th year reunion,” he said, when met in Petaling Jaya.

He said the tragic loss of a classmate murdered in a kidnapping made the old friends realise they were losing touch, prompting them to organise the 50th reunion in 2011 and start a Google Group to stay in touch.

“Technology helps us stay in touch and keeps the bonds alive. When we do meet in person, it’s like we just met yesterday,” said Tan, who is managing director of a software company.

“When you hit 55, memories of school days become important, especially since you’ve carried out all the family obligations and the children are grown up,” he said.

Star Media Group Berhad managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai, who will be attending the reunion, said he was looking forward to the event.

“We are already 55 years old and I think it is important that we gather when we still can. As former school mates, it is important we renew friendships, forgive past grievances and be reunited as Sons of St Xavier’s,” he said.

The reunion will also be open to the alumni’s families and their former teachers.

Committee member Datuk Chew Kok Woh specifically reached out to their Bahasa Malaysia teacher Lye Mun Foh, whom the Class of ‘78 had fallen out of touch with.

“My grasp of the language was really bad back in school. If it wasn’t for my BM teacher’s guidance, I’d never be where I am today,” said Chew, who is Sabah MCA secretary.

Committee member Khor Teong Beng was among the Xaverians, who continued the tradition and sent his son to study in St Xaviers too, believing in the teaching methods and strict discipline of the school.

He said by having the reunion there, it would give a chance to the children of alumni who didn’t study there to see where their parents spent “the best years of their lives”.

The reunion on June 4 will cost RM190, and includes a commemorative T-shirt and buffet dinner.

For details, call 012-210 9449 (Tan) or 016-660 1090 (Abdul Malik Mohd Hussain).

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