This was the final year of the prestigious Cambridge English Language 1119 Examination, an independent test like the American TOEFL – the following year, it was bought over by the Malaysian government and incorporated into the English Language subject in the SPM Examination and its quality and value have since dwindled over the years while Cambridge went on to host other similar English Language examinations like the IELTS.
Quite a few students here would sit for it every year and the fees were by no means cheap. Some of them did go for some kind of preparation at the tuition centres but unfortunately, most did not manage to do well.
It so happened that I had a friend in the department who went on a working trip to Cambridge and she did manage to bring back the marking scheme and the examiners’ reports. I studied those carefully and then I called those of my boys who would want to sit for the examination that year and shared with them all that I knew so they would not go in blindly.
It certainly made me feel so happy and proud that they did so very well – I remember there were at least 5 or 6 who got a distinction A1 and a few more managed a distinction A2 and these were two of them…
…who got A1 – Raphael is now residing and working in the US while Mark is now a Jesuit priest, pursuing his doctorate degree in Oxford, England.
The two of them and the others were at the reunion that night and they contacted me to ask if I would be interested in joining them. Of course I was! But there were just about 9 of them – I certainly had a lot more than that in the top or the top two classes every year. Maybe the rest heard that I would be there so they all had cold feet and chickened out. LOL!!!
They picked the relatively new restaurant run by the family of one of them as the venue and yes, a few of them had a few beers…
My boys are grown men now, double their age from the time when I was their teacher.
I asked Andy and according to him, the chief chef is originally from Sibu, back here after 5 years in Melbourne. Australia and his assistant is from Miri.
This herbal chicken…
…that they dished out was really very nice. They did it differently from the other restaurants – no paper wrapper, no cling film, no aluminium foil were used in the cooking.
…was very nice too and no worries, there was no sharks’ fins in it – save the sharks!!!
The cereal prawns…
…were great and we also had this broccoli and mushroom dish…
…and the sea cucumber soup…
We sure enjoyed the steamed fish, ikan sultan…
…done in a way that I had never seen before – I think that was their own pounded chili on top and everyone agreed that It tasted absolutely great.
We also had the crispy pata, more popularly known here as the Philippine pork leg…
…and that looked like the same pounded chili by the side. For dessert, we had the canned peaches but with laichee instead of longans for a change and it was good – cold and refreshing!
It sure was a delightful evening of who did what to who, who sat where and so and so forth, recalling those fond memories of the past…and of course, there were those questions – who is where now, who is still single and available. We were so caught up with everything while enjoying the lovely dishes served that we didn’t realise it was almost 10 and time to make our way home.
Oh yes! I asked them how much I would have to pay for my share of the dinner and they told me that they had discussed that among themselves and had got it covered. Gee!!! Aren’t they all so very sweet and nice, my boys?
SIONG KEE RESTAURANT (2.293215, 111.836281) is located along Lorong Chiew Siik Hiong 1 in the Fortune Commercial Centre, behind the Rejang Medical Centre. It is at the corner opposite Lok Ming Yuen Cafe behind which is Sushi Tie, the Japanese Restaurant.
10 thoughts on “Memories of the past…”
Such a lovely meal and wonderful time catching up with your boys.
Yes, it certainly was a delightful evening – for me, at least.
Why would the rest had cold feet and chickened out? Were you a very stern teacher during their time? But strict teachers will bring out the best students, cannot be too soft with them.
One student told me once that when he was in primary school, they would look over to the secondary side and they would warn everybody whenever they saw that big and fat one, very fierce! He said that when he came over, he thought I was so very nice but still he had that fear of me. Perhaps that was respect, not really fear?
I remember I sat for the final year of 1119 exam also.
You did? Hope you did well too!
All the dishes looks awesome especially the herbal chicken which looks very appealing to me. When I look at the steamed fish, I was like, is it nice with the fish swimming in the tomato sauce but then it was not tomato sauce but pounded chilli. So never judge by its looks and the taste is in the mouth.
When it was served, I though it was fish roe…caviar! Lau hwa! LOL!!! It was very nice, I must say – I sure would not mind ordering that should I drop by there again.
Lovely meal and get together. I like that herbal chicken. Some did it quite nice, the restaurants over here.
It’s similar to the wrapped ones, very nice! I do get quite worried about the cling film in those and they also say aluminium foil isn’t good for cooking.
I bet you had lots of fun catching up with your boys!
Yes, lots of fun and laughter…and good food!