Reuniting, reconnecting and reminiscing

Daniel Lim

With years of experience comes the time to reflect on changes, and in doing so, it can be beneficial to reconnect with old friends through reunions.

It can be beneficial for many, especially the elderly, who amassed plenty of knowledge witnessing the flow of time and how it has affected the world around them.

There comes a moment where a sense of nostalgia is struck, where people are taken back to their younger days learning and growing together as friends.

These sentiments were witnessed during an emotional engagement with former friends who got together during a reunion ceremony recently held for the class of 1969 and 1970 of the Perdana Wazir English School (PWES), now formally known as Perdana Wazir Secondary School (SMPW).

As one of the school’s first classes, the ceremony marked the school’s 50th anniversary by looking back through time with various memorabilia kept by the school.

With many of them meeting again, the Bulletin spoke to some of the former students to learn more of their time at the school and how it shaped their lives after leaving.

Alumnus and reunion chairman Dr Haji Mohd Hatta bin Haji Zainal Abidin noted the importance of organising the reunion despite the challenging times.

Some of the memorabilia showcased at the reunion. PHOTOS: DANIEL LIM
FROM LEFT: Dr Haji Mohd Hatta; and Cheong Poh Lian

He recalled how plans for the reunion started when they heard the school was celebrating its 50th anniversary in October and would open its doors to alumni.

“So from that small opening came a large opportunity as we gathered, which sparked the idea to organise and gather former friends and students to experience and celebrate the occasion together.”

This grew as former students formed a committee to help reconnect, especially for those who had flown overseas since their time at the school. Since their first small informal gathering, the group of alumni has grown to over 100 people.

“I feel happy (to be a part of the reunion) because we reminisced about the old days with old friends, and while some of them have passed away since then, it is even more important to have this gathering to make full use of time, especially at our age, to celebrate and see where we have been and where we are heading in the future,” said Dr Haji Mohd Hatta.

Looking back, he said one thing that has not changed is the respect students have for teachers, and their efforts to inspire the next generation of leaders.

One such leader was a former PWES alumnus who became a principal at multiple schools, one of which was the very same school she studied in, Cheong Poh Lian.

She expressed gratitude to having the opportunity to meet former students and friends who studied and grew up at the school.

“Despite being an impromptu occasion, this reunion was a grand occasion for all of us because when we saw the school’s 50th anniversary in the newspaper, we gathered and shared the occasion among many friends and students, who were all pleasantly surprised and keen to take part.”

This grew to where they hosted the reunion at the school. Working with the current Principal Pengiran Hajah Rahmah binti Pengiran Haji Abas, who was not only a former student of Cheong’s but also a staff member when she was principal at the school, the reunion was a success.

One such triumph was gathering those who are overseas. With the current travel restrictions, the reunion took advantage of technology and made a series of short video clips taken by former school students who now live in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom among others.

“I am glad the organising committee is enthusiastic because they worked hard to make the reunion a success,” Cheong said.

She expressed her joy that many former students and principals were present, enjoying the occasion and recognising each other even after being apart for such a long time.

“In the future, we should have more reunions every once in a while to look back on fond memories of the times we had at the school,” she said.