Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Old and new friends

My wife and I had a marvelous time catching up with some old and new friends at a small dinner at The Old Frees' Association Restaurant last night.

Alan Phang had just arrived in Penang from Singapore, where he had been on transit from Christchurch. He was a former committee member of the Penang Chess Association in the mid-1990s but had uprooted his family from the country to migrate to New Zealand. Somehow, he was one of the few chess fellas that I had kept in touch with successfuly. When we went to the South Island for a short holiday in 2010, he spent a day to show us around the earthquake-stricken Christchurch.

How are the redevelopment efforts coming along in the city, I asked him last night. Bad and slow, he said. That part of Christchurch which he had taken us to has disappeared too. The area's been filled with cranes and construction material as the city authorities are taking the opportunity to tear up the whole of the devastated area and rebuilding the central buisness district. Effectively, their heritage is lost forever. Very sad....

Alan arrived for dinner with his former colleague at Hewlett-Packard, Leong Wooi Kit, who came with his wife. This was the first time we met in person, although we had been corresponding by email some time ago when he wanted some tips on visiting Christchurch for a golfing holiday.

My last guests at dinner were Yeap Leong Teik and Anna. Leong Teik and I both go back a long way to our teenaged years as classmates in the Penang Free School. He's now a true-blue Singaporean citizen but he is keeping his Penang roots very firm. As such, he returns here quite regularly. We managed to catch up over old times last night.


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