D-24 days. I've keyed in the first batch of corrections and amendments resulting from the efforts of our proof-reading volunteer. Having written off as unreliable the Penang Free School teachers who were suggested to us, I must say that I am very glad for the effort of Kuei Yin, who is Molly's friend from the church. She's a former English language teacher from Johor with a lot of experience teaching the language in local government schools and private schools in Singapore.
Now retired, she relocated to Penang with her husband who is attached to the Universiti Sains Malaysia. This lady has sharp eyes because she spotted so many typographical errors in our manuscripts. Typo errors are always critical. For example, can you imagine that instead of typing "cremated", I had unknowingly typed "created"? The missing em threw the whole meaning of my sentence off! How embarrassing it would be to have this silly typo appear in the book.
Of course, the fact that she was from Johor meant that she would be unfamiliar with the histories of the Penang Free School and The Old Frees' Association and could look at our efforts with a fresh, critical eye. But I hear that she has now become our most ardent fan. "You should be proud of your history and tradition," she commented.
That's what we wanted and hopefully, that's what we will achieve. When non-Old Frees read the book and they can express the same appreciation for our history as Kuei Yin, then I shall consider our job to be well accomplished!
Having said all this, there is of course a second round of proof-reading to do tomorrow, just to make sure than the layout team has done all of them.
In a short while, I'll be going out to the island. Destination is, of course, The Old Frees' Association. I can't wait to pick up the envelope that Dato' Anwar Fazal had left for me at the club house yesterday evening. I was on the telephone with him yesterday and I casually asked whether he had any new pictures to share with us. I'm glad that he had kept them aside in case we asked him. He wasn't certainly going to force them on us to use in the book but in case we wanted them, they would be readily available. That's good anticipation.