Nostalgic gathering for ex-schoolmates

  • Metro News
  • Tuesday, 19 Nov 2019

High School Klang Class of 1969 students posing for a group photo with their teachers at the alumni gathering in Klang. — Photos: KK SHAM/The Star

IT WAS a nostalgic evening filled with warmth and sweet memories for more than 160 school friends who came together after being apart for 50 years.

To make the Klang High School Class of 1969 (Form Five) reunion sweeter, a group of teachers who had nurtured and impacted the lives of their former students were also in attendance at the event.

Some of the teachers had taught the Class of ’69 “boys” in primary school.

While the “students” were all in their late 60s, the teachers were in their 80s and even in their 90s.

Among the notable members of the Class of ’69 were IJM Corporation Bhd chairman Tan Sri Krishnan Tan Boon Seng, former

senator Datuk Tee Tiong Hock and former Institute of Medical Research director Dr Ng Kok Han.

Jovial and high-spirited, Dr Ng, who was master of ceremonies at the event held at Premier Hotel, Klang, kept the crowd paying rapt attention to his humorous quips and statements.

“As we grow older we must learn to be younger,” said Dr Tan who was very attentive towards his Standard Two teacher Jaya Veerasingam, whom he fondly referred to as Miss Jaya, who was present at the reunion.

Organising committee chairman Tee said some of the former schoolmates had returned home from the United Kingdom, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore for the reunion.

“We had gone our separate ways since 1969 in pursuit of our individual dreams, whether for further education, or entering the job market.

“Many of us had hardly maintained any contact with each other and so for many tonight would be the first time they are meeting up since 1969,” added Tee in his welcoming speech.

He said the event was a rare occasion for the teachers and students to reminisce about the good old days, rekindle relationships and play catch-up.

“I hope this is the beginning for more to come. I think it is good for us all,” he said.

According to the former students gathered that day, they had all benefitted immensely from the education they had received with the teachers playing a major role in the development of their characters.

Given this, Tee said teachers were as important as parents.

“Teachers, we love you. Without you Krishnan Tan wouldn’t be what he is and without you, I wouldn’t be what I am,’’ said Tee.

Tee also shared incidents about several teachers who had had a great influence in his life.

“While in primary school, there was a teacher who always asked me to buy fried noodles during recess.

“This teacher always gave money to buy two plates of noodles which was 10sen a plate.

“In the staff room, the teacher ate one plate and the other plate was given to me.

“I accompanied this teacher eating noodles for a year.

“I learnt the meaning of generosity and care from this teacher,’’ reminisced Tee.

Organising committee adviser Tan, in his speech, also thanked the teachers who had played a fundamental role in shaping their destinies.

“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our teachers which cannot be repaid. Thank you for moulding us,” said Tan.

Tan spoke about one of his teachers, C. Sithrasennan who was also present at the event, a no-nonsense educator and a stickler for discipline.

He added that it was because of Sithrasennan, who taught them commerce and accounts, that he is now an accountant.

Tan also recalled a teacher who had bought him a badminton racquet.

“That is something I won’t forget,’’ said Tan who went on to play for the state and country due to the training he received in school.

The much-spoken about Sithrasennan, who apparently has a record for producing A students, also gave a brief speech at the event.

“I am sure many of you may have wished me dead then. But we are all friends now,’’ said the veteran teacher.

The teachers and their students shared some precious memories by the time the evening ended.

For all those who had attended, it was certainly a wonderful walk down memory lane as well as a journey back to the past when they were all impressionable young men getting ready to take the world by its horns.

And that they certainly did.

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