Kirkby Reunion: 50th Anniversary(1959-1960 batch)
Memories Etched in gold
by C S Wan
Many years ago, they answered the call to return and serve their homeland _'The Golden Chersonese'. Now, in their golden years they have come together again to celebrate their Golden Anniversary
A stranger who happened to stroll by the building that December morning would be forgiven if he thought he was in Paris. From somewhere inside the building, the melodious and nostalgic strains of ‘Under the bridges of Paris’ rose and wafted across the balmy morning air. If he had paused to peek into the dining hall he would see a singer, replete with a red beret and swirling scarf, giving a rendition of the song in exquisite French.However, no river, no bridge, no lover and no vagabond could be seen in the immediate vicinity. And instead of the murmur of the Seine flowing by, the room echoed to the sound of excited voices and spontaneous laughter. Not a single Caucasian could be seen among the sea of faces. Instead the room was filled with people of different colours and creeds conversing in fluent English.
Fifty years ago, in the middle of a cold winter night, 120 young Malayan landed at London Airport and made the long coach journey to the Malayan Teachers’ College in Kirkby, on the outskirts of Liverpool.
Here in ’Kampung Kirkby’ which would be their home for two long years they learned to work and play as one big family.
On their return to Malaya, with the passage of time and separated by distance, some of the family members lost touch of each other.
On a warm December morning of 2010, inside the Sime Darby Convention Centre, most of the family members had come together again to renew and strengthen the family bond, fostered five decades ago. Although it was a joyous occassion, those who had left us were not forgotten. As Rama read out the names during the one minute silence, it left many with lumps in their throats and a few wet eyes.Sime DCC
Much water has since flowed under the bridge, but the many happy moments they shared during their two years stay in Kirkby will remain as precious memories etched in gold.
My sincere thanks and appreciation to the following:
1. Chew Hing, Vimala and all the members of the Organizing Committee. Your tireless effort and commitment have made it possible for us to meet many of our family members.
2. Our sifu photographer, Chong Hong Chong, for all the well taken photos.
3. Lean Aing and the evergreen ‘Dream girls’ for their lively entertainment. Hope you will continue sharing your dreams with us.
4. Cheng Swee, Vin Quen, Patsy, and Cheah for being such wonderful company at our table.
5. Cynthia, Emily, Cheng Bee, Rama and Poh Yuk and others for taking the trouble to join us at our table.
6. Zainal, thanks for reminding me that I used to paint a long time ago. I can still remember the words you said that morning.
“Wan, do you still have the painting of me playing the
bongo? I want to buy it.”
Unfortunately, the painting has gone missing or else I would gladly give it to you as a souvenir. Perhaps, I should start searching for my brushes and paints that are gathering dust somewhere in the store room.