23 October, 2013
WHAT started off as a man’s quest to find old friends and nostalgic sites in the Sultanate had turned into a reunion for a group of ex-students from St Andrew’s School (SAS), Class of 74/79, recently.
For the first time after 40 years, the SAS alumni caught up with each other and reminisced about the good ol’ days during a dinner organised by members of the group at Saffron Restaurant in Kiulap.
The reunion was triggered off by a visit from an ex-student from SAS, Woo Kyu Jin, who came to Brunei in July, with his family in search of old friends and places as he had lived in the Sultanate from 1968 to 1970s. He left in 1979 and has since settled down in San Francisco, USA.
After his trip to Brunei, a Whatsapp group was created which gave these old friends a chance to stay connected to each other through technology.
The spokesperson for the group, Datin Hjh Shireen Hj Mustapha from the Class of 74 said: “The reunion was made possible due to the enthusiasm and support of everyone present tonight. Friendship forged on innocence of childhood does withstand the test of time. It started off with the small Whatsapp chat group of four friends in July which quickly grew to 25 friends in September. We are still looking for long lost friends to come into the Ex-SAS Class of 74/79.”
The reunion event started off with the recital of Surah Al-Fatihah and Doa Selamat followed by a minute of silence in remembrance of the teachers, schoolmates and family members who have departed. Then, the friends present during the event began signing the “Reunion Scrapbook” and started filling up the “Memory Lane” wall with pictures of their most momentous years that the rest missed out on. A group picture was then taken as remembrance for the special occassion.
After that, a speech was given by an ex-SAS class monitor from Class of 74, Dr Elizabeth Chong. This was then followed by a dinner which was interspersed with trivia questions and activities.
One of the highlights of the evening was the real-time hook up that the group had pre-arranged with other ex-SAS friends from the USA, London, Seoul and Bangkok using a programme called, ooVoo. It was an emotional moment for most of them as they reconnected with childhood friends. The evening then ended with a closing speech by Ahmad Isa from the Class of 74, who talked about future plans for the ex-SAS Class of 74/79. The alumni have plans in the pipeline to link with non-government organisations that are involved with youth volunteerism, entrepreneurship and social welfare issues. As many of the ex-SAS Class of 74/79 are senior members of the community and holding important posts in government and private sector, the group is commmited to share their expertise to assist in building the nation, especially the youth.