Evergreen…

This was the theme for the annual reunion…

Evergreen

…the 6th time around, of a group of students who were together in Form 5 way back in 1980.

My first posting as a qualified trained teacher was in this town…

Kanowit

…in 1978. In fact, we were the pioneers – the ones who started the secondary school in the town (SMK Kanowit), around 10 of us…with classes from Transition up to Form 3 only. That meant that I only taught the ones in Form 3 that year for a year only and then they went back to the other secondary school in the town across the river (SMK Datuk Yakub or SEDAYA, for short)…

The old Sedaya

…(where they studied up till Form 2 before they moved over for a year) and continued their studies up till Form 5. It was not accessible by road then and students would have to stay in as boarders or use the sampan to go across from the town and back daily.

The original school is abandoned now (I hear the river is encroaching inland) and they have a nice new place about a mile away. I did not take any photographs there other than this one of the very grand and impressive entrance…

Sedaya 2

…into the main block of the buildings there and I would say it is a lot nicer than many other schools in the state or maybe, even in the country. However, it does not change the fact that I do think it is kind of sad that the students cannot go back to their old school to see their old classrooms and hostels and everything to talk and laugh about the memories that they share – for the simple reason that they are no longer there.

Well, despite the fact that I did not teach all of them, those that I did teach when they were in Form 3 in the town school invited me to join them and the other teachers from their school across the river…

Teachers and student

…to their reunion last Saturday. Helen, standing to my left, was one of those that I taught – she is currently based in Kuala Belait, Brunei and is the president of the Rotary Club there. Their teachers and I were indeed pleased to know that they are all doing very well here, there and everywhere. all these sweet kids – young, simple and innocent, that we had taught before.

I followed a few of them that morning when they drove to their old school and also to the town and we had a scrumptious lunch here…

Coffee shop, Kanowit

I cannot recall this being there when I was there, 1978 to 1982 but I did hear something about them…

Kitchen

…being in Sibu for some 30 years or so before going back to their hometown.

The food was very nice and I was so delighted that they had some ikan buris (lajong in Iban)…

Ikan buris

…freshly caught from the river that very morning and even though all of them were not very big, they tasted awesome. I had never eaten this fish cooked like this before and it was indeed very well done. I absolutely enjoyed it!

We also had this plate of roast pork…

Roast pork

…some fried noodles…

Fried mee
*Helen’s photograph, from Facebook*

…and fried cangkuk manis

Cangkuk manis

…plus another plate of vegetables – I was so busy eating that I forgot to take a photograph of that one! Hehehehehe!!!! I cannot remember exactly how many of us there were, around 15…and the bill, inclusive of drinks and some of us had rice as well, came up to RM160.00. That’s very reasonable, don’t you think?

That night, we had the grand and sumptuous reunion dinner here…

Paramount, Sibu
*Archive photo*

– five tables altogether.

There was this splendid mixed platter…

Paramount, mixed platter

– I particularly enjoyed the mussels!

One of the students donated the fish and we had it, steamed…

Tilapia

I hear she supplies those to the hotels and restaurants in the town and since we got ours from the source, you can bet what we had was very fresh and very very nice indeed.

We enjoyed this a lot too…

Paramount, pumpkin

– their baked pumpkin alongside the deep-fried fritters of chicken filling wrapped in pumpkin. I never had anything like this anywhere else and I sure would want to order that if ever I get the chance to have dinner at this place anytime in the near future.

The photograph of the roast chicken…

Paramount, roast chicken

…like the one of the fish above, did not come out too well (I am still getting used to my new camera especially when using it in not-very-bright conditions) and I was so busy enjoying everything that I forgot to take one of the sea cucumber and mushroom…

Paramount, sea cucumber & mushrooms

…but I did manage to snap one of the leftovers.

There were only these five courses, plus a fruit platter at the end, but servings were huge and there was more than enough to go round. Everyone thought the dinner was extra special and enjoyed what was served a lot – it was really different from the usual fare that one would get when attending banquets at such places in town…and most importantly, the other teachers and I were indeed so very flattered to be invited to this function. As one of them remarked, those in the town never bothered to invite their teachers to their reunions…and even if they did, they would only invite those in the upper forms and conveniently forget those who taught them when they were younger. I wouldn’t say this goes across the board but I do know of a number of such instances.

To wrap up, I really must thank everyone, Helen especially, for inviting me to join all of you this year – I had a delightful time going with all of you to your old school and to Kanowit and I truly enjoyed the dinner very much. All the best to each and everyone of you in your undertakings, God bless you all and your families abundantly as well…and hopefully, you will all invite me again next year. Wink! Wink! LOL!!!