I received a very interesting proposition from Allen Choong last seventh of this month at the press conference called by the Bicentenary Committee. I walked into the Pinhorn Hall and bumped into Allen who said that I should be joining the group of people who would be going to Dittisham to meet up with the overland convoy of cars. You would be very appropriate for the trip, he said, since you are so involved with the history of the Penang Free School, he said.
Me? Going to England? Going to Dittisham? It's not that I haven't been thinking about it. Even at the beginning of this year, I had longed to participate in the two-month overland drive from Penang Free School to the St George's Church in Dittisham but I knew that I could not afford the time and money.
So when Allen's suggestion was made to me, my mind was already half made up to go. A week in London and Dittisham would be affordable, especially with the price of airfares being so competitive. My wife encouraged me to go. Why not, she said, its important to you during this celebration. But what about you, I asked, come with me. At first she was in two minds about following me. No leave, she said. Work to do here, she said. Too cold over there, she said.
Then we had to go to Kuala Lumpur for the Malaysia Chess Festival. The London trip was pushed to the back of our mind. When we came back, the trip took centrestage again. Then she went to see her boss. Quah is going to London? You must go also, he told her. But I don't have enough leave already, she said. Don't worry about it, he replied, just go. And that's how she is now following me to London. And Dittisham.
Now came the issue of the flight tickets. Because she had encouraged me to go alone earlier, I had actually booked my flight tickets first. But now that she would come with me, I had to ensure that she could come on the same flights and we could sit together. Luckily, there were still tickets on the same flights and we could still choose our seats. That was the main problem thus resolved. Anything else would be secondary from now on.
So Dittisham, here we come.