No sooner had the launch of the Penang Free School Bicentenary celebrations and the unveiling of FIDELIS, the commemorative book of The Old Frees' Association, been completed on 31 March 2012, many familiar faces among the members gathered again at the official opening of The Old Frees' Association annexe at Bay Avenue on the south-eastern part of Penang island on 1 April 2012.
If many had thought that it was an April Fool's joke to have an official function on this date, it was not. The opening was real enough.
At first the Governor of Penang was supposed to officiate at the function but about a week ago, the OFA received confirmation that he wouldn't be coming. I had heard that apparently, the state secretariat had reservations about him coming to a function that was located just above a gaming joint, even though the game licence belonged to the OFA.
So everything became internal from then on. The opening was formalised by the OFA president, MS Rajendren, after the noisy start. An interlude allowed Saik Mun who is the annexe clubhouse and jackpot operation sub-committee chairman, to introduce his hard-working sub-committee members who had toiled tirelessly in the last month to ensure the premises was ready for yesterday's launch. Only then we sat down for lunch before making use of the facilities here.
Not an April Fool's Day joke.
The traditional noisy start to any opening of a respectable premises.
From the way these two cut the ribbon, they must have had countless hours of practice already.
Just practicing with my camera to take an early panoramic picture inside the premises. Some of the guests at the function included Dr PP Shah (one of the OFA trustees), Abdul Rafique bin Abdul Karim (chairman of both PFS Board of Governors and PFS Bicentenary Committee), Abu Huraira Yazid (past president of OFA KL & Selangor), and Dr Choong Sim Poey and Lim Chien Aun (both OFA past presidents).
Saik Mun introducing his team.