Tis sweet to be remembered…

After five years in Kanowit (1978-1982), I joined the staff in this school in 1983…

Chung Hua staff 1983
*Chiew Chong Hui aka Uncle Chong’s photo on Facebook*

…and was there for nine years till 1991. They held their grand Centenary Celebration dinner last Saturday night but no, I was not invited, me small fry. I don’t know if I never made it into the guest list or perhaps it was because I told my friend/ex-classmate, Robert, now the chairman of the school board after taking over from his late father, that I was invited by a group of my ex-students so I would be joining them at the function that night. After all, those would be the people that matter most.

I vaguely recall people saying that they would be able to accommodate some 100 over tables only at the ballroom, not up to 200 but there were some 213 tables that night, I was told. Our table was by the side where the ceiling was lower so by right, it should be cooler. Unfortunately, it was so very very hot that I was sweating profusely and uncomfortably all night long. It was equally hot and stuffy outside in the foyer though so I was wondering if the hotel is currently on some austerity drive, turning down the air conditioning or worse, switching it off altogether! For one thing, it sure needs a new coat of paint – at this point in time, it looks kind of miserable on the outside, sadly neglected. Such nice places, if not properly maintained and left to rot, would reflect a poor impression, quite unbecoming for the biggest hotel in town.

The multi-storey car park was full so I had to gatecrash here and make use of their private car park and walk all the way to the hotel. I was wondering though how on earth the car park could be full when I saw some driving out!!! Some people are not all that efficient, obviously! Tsk! Tsk!!!

They make use of a whole lot of part-time staff for such huge functions but even though they may not be on their permanent staff, they should train them well. I saw those young boys huddled together around the drinks’ station just a stone’s throw away from our table but even at such close proximity, it was near impossible to get their attention to come over and fill my glass of warm water.

The food was very slow in coming out. In the first dish…

Kingwood banquet, first dish

…that one with the fatt choy on top was cold, obviously not properly and completely defrosted before serving! I thought the chicken was good though a bit hard for me as I was having a tooth infection at the time but I liked the fish very much. I did not take any photos of those as when those dishes were served, I was outside for a bit of fresh air, not that it was any cooler, actually. This was the fifth dish…

Kingwood banquet, yam basket

…and it was already past 10.00 p.m. so I decided it was time I went home and I left before the function ended.

Because there were so many tables, there was hardly any space for me to move about, especially in view of the fact that I am not all that small in size. That was why I did not bother to go around at all in the ballroom but I did get to meet one of my ex-principals, a couple of ex-colleagues and ex-students when I was outside the ballroom. Anyway, the people that would matter the most would be those wonderful students of mine who had it in their hearts to invite me to join them…

Reunited, with my ex-Chung Hua students

…that night.

Here we were a long long time ago…

With my Chung Hua students back in the 80's

…when we went on a visit to the house of this family…

Soon sisters & brother

…across river, at what is called Pulau Kerto, if I am not wrong. One of the sisters was in the same class as those who invited me and coincidentally, they were right at the next table. I remember there was another sister, Mary, but she was not there  that night.

The mother…

Chung Hua Centenary celebration, with the Toh's.

…of one of the students came over to say hello, such a pleasant and sweet lady, along with the elder brother and sister, my students – all three of them!

I was amazed at how they could remember the things I taught them so very long ago and they seemed quite tickled by “Ah Kong ka gua” (Hokkien, literally translated as my grandfather and I), something that I coined to help them remember the name of the mountain in the Andes. They do not teach those things anymore in Geography these days so do not expect the present generation to be knowledgeable in such things, no way. Well, these students of mine all excelled in the subject…despite what or how I taught – after all, they were selected students in the best class for their respective year.

It sure was so very nice to see them all again and that sure made up for all the grouses I had over the place and the function as a whole. Of course, we will keep in touch with one another and look forward to getting together again sometimes. Thank you all for the invitation, all the best in all that you do, take care and God bless always.

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Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

16 thoughts on “Tis sweet to be remembered…”

  1. What lovely photos, Arthur! Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful moments.

    Indeed it was so very nice to get together with these wonderful ex-students of mine and seeing how they are doing well in their lives.

  2. Nice event dinner… too bad the food was a let down. Uhhuhuhu

    The food was all right, quite nice except for one of the items in the first dish and everything was kind of slow in coming out. It was more the venue and the service that were a let down.

  3. This is very nice. 🙂 Your students really appreciated your teaching. I am glad that your students still remember you. I will not be surprised if you treated them as your sons and daughters. Some teachers are like that and they are the ones that make a mark on students.

    Yes, they were all like my children, over a hundred of them every year in my 30 years as a teacher…and 9 years in this particular school. I am glad that there are some who do show that they do appreciate all that I did for them, even in some small ways. Many do not bother, unfortunately…which reminds me of The Parable of The Sower or the story of the 10 lepers.

  4. What looks like a nice gathering & catching up with each other turns disappointment, so sad but at least you have the chance to meet your ex-principal, ex-colleagues & ex-students, sweet memories of this.

    The reunion and the catching up with one another part was good – I sure am glad I was there for that even though things related to venue and service were not that great.

  5. What you described about the service staff what exactly what I experienced at a recent dinner. There were long intervals between dishes. I don’t suppose they bother training these part-timers.

    hah..hah..Ah Kong ka gua… that’s a humorous way to remember Aconcagua 😀

    I sure would not let them go that easily if I had been the host or organiser – sure I would snap their heads off. The thing is I don’t think there is another venue here that is this big – otherwise, I would much sooner go elsewhere, dunno why people love holding their dinners here, even small ones like say, 30 tables in the smaller function rooms. Poor service, food is not great…traffic jam, parking problem – it happens ALL the time!

    Yes, if not for that, I am very sure none of them would remember the name of the mountain to this day.

  6. Nice gathering and good to catch up with some of them. Such pity for the discomfort and services. I do agreed with those part timers. It is school holiday now so many students doing part time. They should be trained well for big function.

    Indeed, they should take measures to make sure that they live up to their reputation. If it had been my function, I sure would go and tell the hotel people off – I would not want to be shortchanged like that. They have a job to do – they just have to do it well.

  7. I am sure your friend Robert took your name off the guest list after you told him that your ex students have already invited you to join them at their table.

    Maybe, or perhaps I did not retire in that school so I was not included in the list, I wouldn’t know. Never mind, at least my students invited me to join them at their table – definitely a lot more fun, I must say.

  8. I like such reunions – always a lot of fun. Good food is a bonus.

    That’s the most important part and glad to say, that reunion part was really good, so happy I could make it.

  9. Normally these type of functions are crowded and those who go are not so much for the food but for the mingling and catching up with one another. My school Convent is holding a dinner too for all the ex-teachers and students, many of my friends have bought the ticket and it will be held in January next month. No, I won’t be going, too crowded for me, getting a car park is also a problem. 🙂

    Yes, the interacting with everybody one knows there would be so nice…if only it wasn’t so difficult to move around. Oh? Not going? Why not? You can always car pool, ask somebody to pick you up. I would have had I known they would close the multi-storey car park and say it was full (when it wasn’t) – went early, very early and was so pissed off to see the entrance blocked.

  10. Nice that your students kept in touch with you. Sweet memories then and now. Great photos too.

    Indeed. So very sweet of them and I sure was flattered that they cared enough to invite me to join them.

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