2012 was the year where many of our ex-AES schoolmates from the 1976-1979 and 1977-1980 batches finally made the journey back to meet.
For many, it was the first time meeting their fellow classmates, or as some will say "partner in crime" after what? 32/33 years? That's a long time to not see someone!
Whether we left school early, went to the VI, joined a family business, repeated studies or continued on, we were just ex-schoolmates when we again reconnected.
Folks who knew us when we were 13, 14, 15, 16, or 17.
When our voices changed; when our mustaches grew (or took forever); when our breasts were just nubs; when we had our first puppy love; when we smoked our first cigarette (in the toilet where Mr William Choong bluffed us got ghost); when we sometimes got punished and even caned; when we got holy and went to church.
Honestly, can anyone say we knew any better?
Remember the grueling cross-country races through Diary Farm? Or the flag days raising funds for Boys' Town Home? Or the movie screenings for charity?
In sports we were once the powerhouses of North Bukit Timah. We might not study well but we gave our all to uniform group activities, sports, clubs, etc. Our scouts were the first to become Sea - buying boats, building sheds. Our Red Cross looked after injured gangsters along Bukit Panjang on Friday evenings. Our badminton team whacked the better dressed and equipped ones. They all knew we were from a kampong school but respected us even if we did play in singlets and cheap Dragonfly shoes. We were folks who got guts and succeeded. Or at least we 'died' trying.
So, when we gathered last year, all of us got plenty of stories to tell. The married complained they wanted to remain single; the single wished they'd started a family. See? Life is never perfect. We all have wishes and regrets. I know I do.
The divorced wished they never, ever got into the marriage thing at all!
Now the mantra is "gao xin jiu hao" - Happy is good enough. Heheh...at 50, the other mantra is "Healthy is good enough". It's true, riches can buy many things. Only that it cannot guarantee Health, Inner Happiness. So, the message throughout the gathering was: Happy to meet up with old friends before we become unrecognisable to one another, or with one foot set in the grave! Everybody was happy to reconnect, network again.
It's okay to grow old but it is even better to grow old with friends. Friends who knew us from our innocent, naughty days. Old friends, once-in-a-lifetime friends.
So, sit back and enjoy these photos and videos, AND make it a date to make new memories with old friends once again this June 22. We couldn't contact many people the last time we met but now we can. So I certainly hope you will make it a point to attend. A milestone like this come but once!
Reunion photos: (27th April 2012)
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and/on behalf of the OrgCom
and/on behalf of the OrgCom