Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Next year's bicentenary dinner

It has been 13 days since I celebrated the 199th anniversary of our Alma Mater with some of my old schoolmates in Penang, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. I can't say much about the dinner occasions in KL or Singapore because I wasn't there, but I can certainly confirm that there was a huge buzz of excitement at the Penang dinner. For the first time, the Class of 7072 was able to fill 16 seats at two tables. Some of us brought our spouses while some others chose to be bachelors for the night. But we all had a good time and we are now all looking forward to 21 October 2016 when Penang Free School will be 200 years old! Will you be there for the grand celebration? I know that I will, and I hope to see as many of my mates as possible. 

From what I know, the Old Boys associations in Penang, KL and Singapore have been asked to forego their own annual dinners next year and come back to their roots, the Old School, for the bicentenary dinner which shall be arranged in the school field. Many of the Classes have already made concrete arrangements with the dinner's organising committee and booked or reserved multiple tables for the occasion. And here, I have some good news and some bad news.

Despite all the growing excitement among the Old Boys around the world, our own Class of 7072 has, so far, given lukewarm response to be part of next year's celebration. But I know that without anyone taking the initiative to round up the gang, a reunion will never happen. After seeking out the views of a few friends in Penang, KL and Singapore, we decided that there must be a reunion, come what may. 

Last week, I emailed the OFA office in Penang to ask them to reserve five tables for the Class of 7072. By the way, the OFA office was appointed by the Bicentenary Committee to coordinate next year's dinner. Yesterday, I spoke to the personnel in charge of bookings and she informed me that my reservations were confirmed. So that's the good news. We have five tables to share out among the Class of 7072. Casually, I asked her whether I could increase the reservations to eight tables. My contention was that if we could not fill all 80 seats, we could still surrender the unfilled tables back to the organisers. Bad news. All of the RM1,500 tables have been taken up. Reserved. Booked. Our five tables were among the last batches to be accepted. But she was very helpful. If we want, the RM3,000 and RM5,000 tables are still available. However, I don't think that will be what we want. The Class of 7072 will want to be together; no point separating us all up at a reunion. It defeats the purpose. 

So to my schoolmates in the Class of 7072, I wish to say again that because we have only five tables, our seats are very limited. There are only 50 places available and technically, there are a few hundreds of us. Even if all of us want to attend the bicentenary dinner, it is impossible. I have to offer them the seats at the five tables on a "first come, first served" basis. If anyone in the Class of 7072 is keen on coming to the bicentenary dinner, they should drop me a private email at ssquah-at-yahoo.com. I'm sure you know how to substitute the -at- with the @ sign. I shall then add him into the list until all the seats are taken up. However, if anyone prefers to register through the OFA KL-Selangor or OFA Singapore groups, this is quite okay with me. It is not a compulsion for my classmates to join the Penang gang. Email me and we shall talk further, okay?

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