General

Reunions

I left off last time when we were leaving Vancouver. I said we would go to the Holy Rosary Cathedral at Richards for Sunday Mass on my 65th Birthday; and we did. This is not exactly a huge church structure for a cathedral, but considering that the City has a population of only over 600,000, it is quite sufficient for the purpose. Interestingly enough, there was no singing at Mass and only one priest presided. Maybe it was early; we went for the 8am Mass; and Louis Kwan confirmed that later.

Louis Kwan is a classmate from the Wah Yan College Class of 63. Unbeknown to Su and I, he was also at that Mass, as was another from the same class, a Tam Man Keung. Let me see if I can piece together the encounter between the three of us in an intelligible manner.

Louis had arranged a see-off dim sum lunch at the Chinese Restaurant at Hyatt Hotel. In the end, there were some ten of us round the table. Considering that we had only just been to the welcome dinner organized also largely by Louis two days before, that was pretty good show. On that occasion, he gathered some two dozen people, including spouse and a few friends. As it happens, there are quite a few classmates in Vancouver, and they normally meet once a month. Albert Tong, another classmate had picked us up earlier that evening and took us to a rather famous seafood restaurant in Richmond. It was great fun and fellowship and I caught up with a few long lost classmates. Albert also took us back to the hotel after dinner; and on the way the name of Tam Man Keung came up. Now I have not met Tam for some 40 years; and Albert told me that he knew Tam had been in Vancouver for sometime, but somehow he had not seen a lot of him. Albert had left Hong Kong for Canada shortly after leaving Wah Yan, possibly in 1965. We found out that Tam led a very busy professional life in Vancouver, and besides he was severely allergic to many varieties of food.

Back to Louis and Tam, they met at the 8am Mass, unscheduled and not prearranged. After Mass, Louis urged Tam to come for the dim sum lunch, using me as the motivation. Tam showed up, to everyone””s surprise, and it was a very pleasant surprise for everyone indeed. So much for the introduction on how we three met, after more than 40 years.

There was a lot of fast backwards naturally; and not only between Tam and I, for Tam had not seen too much of the others often too even though they all lived in the same City. For my part, I would mention one episode which I found particularly interesting and unique. We were both sent off on the standard land course ran by the Outward Bound School based in Sai Kung by our respective employers in the early 70s when Solo was an integral part of the

course which lasted 26 full days. Solo was a programme whereby a course member was despatched by boat to a small island, normally uninhabited, with limited provisions for three days and two nights. There was to be no accomodation or even shelter, no bed, no blankets and no matches. As part and parcel of the assignment, one was also required to keep a log of what happened in the three days and what one felt while on Solo, to be handed over to the instructors when one was picked up at the end of the experience. We found out later that these logs, or the lack of contents in them would be used against the trainees when the powers of the School decided to mark down a trainee. Those who had been through Solo naturally would try to find out afterwards where the island was and its name. It turned out that both Tam and I were on the same island, at different times of course. The name of the island was Urn Island, also known as Tai Tau Chau, which had since been submerged with the construction of the High Island Reservoir, alo some years back.

I can discuss the Outward Bound School ad nauseum and recall what happened to me in 1971 when I went on Course 14 at Government expenses; and I can also recall my relationship with my classmates in general and Tam in particular, but not now. Suffice it to say that reunions are potentially exciting and can lead to unpredicatable outcomes, implying that one should try one””s best to go to reunions, which is a lot better than going to funerals.

We have been in Whistler since my birthday, talking of which I am thankful and extremely touched and moved by the many many well wishers and their messages which continued to come in after the date. I am sorry I am unable to reply to these messages in full or adequately, particularly, as I have indicated on Facebook, after my travelling net top had been trashed by a naughty virus.

But Whistler has also provided reasons for reunions, even though it was only 14 months since that I had first set foot on it. The instructors here must have a system or two to recall and track their students. Since here, we have caught up with a few we met last year and have had great reminescence of what happened the first time I was here. They could even recall the colour of my jacket.

I would stop here; and I hope to talk to you later.

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