The first order of business was to observe a one-minute silence for our old, dear departed schoolmate, Khoo Chuan Keat, who had passed away in Kuala Lumpur last February. Some of us had known Chuan Keat since primary schooldays in 1961, but most had been friends with him from secondary schooldays. As for me, I've known Chuan Keat since 1962 when we were both in the Standard 2A express class of Westlands Primary School. We studied together until Upper Six in Penang Free School. We then went our separate ways but since the late 1990s, had reconnected as we began searching for our old, long-lost school mates.
Several weeks ago, we decided to hold two memorials for him in Penang for slightly different sets of friends from outstation. Many of us responded positively to the idea and it was finally decided to hold them at The Old Frees' Association where he had been a life member. The president agreed to let us us the Library for this purpose and that was where we found ourselves at about nine o'clock on Thursday.
We spent the next hour or two talking about him and also about the old times. There was a long discussion about the plans that Chuan Keat was putting together as he was approaching retirement age ten years ago. He wanted to establish a sophisticated, high-end retirement village for senior citizens where they could mingle with their peers during their golden years. The retirement village would be self-contained with activities and medical facilities. In fact, one had already been set up in Kuching, but Chuan Keat was exploring Penang to expand the business.
No meeting like this would ever be complete without someone opening a few bottles of whiskey to celebrate the memorial. Chuan Keat, who used to run a wine outlet in Penang in the last decade, would probably have approved of our activities.
|Standing, from left: Seng Sun, Choi Choon, Teik Wah, Chye Chye, Ling Heong, Andrew and Kim Guan; seated, from left: Chin Chuan, Michael, Kok Yong, Hock Thiam, Wee Lork and Thuan Chye|
|Standing, left left: Michael, Lin Heong, Chin Chuan, Teik Wah, Chye Chye, Thuan Chye, Andrew, Hock Thiam and Siang Juan; seated, from left: Choi Choon, Wee Lork, Seng Sun and Kok Yong|
|Having a meal before the start of the second memorial at The Old Frees' Association this Saturday. Seated, from left: Jessie, Kok Yong, Charles, Chei Jin, Mrs Chei Jin, Kok Hin, Teik Wah and Andrew. Standing, from left: Michael, Kim Guan and Seng Oo|