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Deepavali Gathering

John (in forefront) took this picture when we were taking our lunch

We were classmates at MacPherson Secondary School from 1977 to 1978.  Looking back, it has been more than 30 years and time really flies.  We are now in our early 50s.  Lucian (Tong Hai, always on the plump side and still is) and Don (Teck King aka Johnny Walker) and I used to meet up at Alan's (Mong Kwang) place on every Chinese New Year.  It has become a ritual of sorts to us for good many years after leaving school.  Alan used to live at Haig Road, moved to Bedok and finally Pasir Ris when he settled down.  We were always there on Chinese New Year until the recent years.

I have lost contact with Ragu until we are connected some years ago.  Through Ragu, I managed to get re-connected with our form teacher, Mr Samuel, who unfortunately passed away last year.  John (Joo Chai), our class monitor lives near me and we have always been in touch.

Then, there is Daniel (Wing Keong) whom I met by chance at the hawker centre near my house recently and got his contact.  I have not met Daniel for some 20 years and for the rest like Lucian, Ragu, Teck King and John, at least 30 years or more.  We have all upgraded to 'uncle' level.    

When Ragu invited us for Deepavali on 2 Nov, Saturday at his place in Pasir Ris, I managed to round them up for old time sake especially for Daniel.  Ragu ran a fever and complained of swollen right leg but despite his not so good health that day, he did not cancel the gathering.  Alan is closer to Don as both served the Navy together and he lives in Pasir Ris but he was conspicuously absent.  Don did inform him of the gathering but received no confirmation whether he will be coming - radio silent.  This has been very typical of Alan in recent years for reasons he knows best.  Calls and SMS made to him were mostly not answered.

We had good chat at Ragu's place and his lovely wife is a good cook.  I really enjoyed her mutton dish.  We talked about the good old days at school, family, the sorry state of Mr Samuel in his later years and his abrupt demise and for Lucian, his favourite topic...bashing of PAP policies, among other things.  Don brought along his young PRC wife and perhaps of the generation gap with us, she kept mostly to herself.

We ended our gathering with a visit to the late Mr Samuel's place which is next block to Ragu.  It has been vacant since his passing and it is just a matter of time before HDB take over the house.  Mr Samuel has left behind hundreds of books and we are still exploring how best to dispose all his books for a better cause.

It has been a good gathering with old classmates and we are hoping to get re-connected with more of our long lost classmates in our next get-together and with their grandchildren in tow perhaps.


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