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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Classmates meet

Mokhtiar Singh was down from Gold Coast again. So Jalil, Imbaraj and I decided to meet up for dinner last night. It had been about a year since Singh last came back. Initially we were to meet up in Penang where a couple of our other classmates lived. But due to some pressing engagement, Mokh couldn’t afford the time. In fact Jalil had already booked the accommodation at Batu Feringgi for our rendezvous. Unfortunately, he had to cancel it due to change in plans.
So on Wednesday 14th Sept.2011, we ended up at the same restaurant beside Vistana Hotel in KL where we met the last time around. I parked my CRV in Brickfields and hopped into Imbaraj’s Camry. The rain was beating mercilessly as we made our way to Hokkaido. They sell good food here and the service level is also not too bad. Jalil and Mokh were already waiting for us when we reached for our 8.00 o/clock appointment at 7.45pm. While catching up with some old stories as usual, Jalil broke the news that Seck Hock, another one of our classmates would also be joining us tonight. Seck Hock is now a prominent lawyer in KL. I had spoken over the phone a couple of times but had not had the opportunity to meet all these years. Singh had met him when they were studying in UK during their prime. Jalil too had met up with him some years back over some legal issues. But Imbaraj and I had never met him since we left school in 1973. He was a rich kid even way back then. His family probably owned half of BM town and he lived in a huge mansion just beside the District Officer’s house. But what was of particular interest to us was the theatre that belonged to him……to his grand-dad actually, the famous Cheok Sah theatre. Imbaraj and I exploited the friendship to the maximum after school, going for every other movie that was played…even the Chinese movies. It was then that I became familiar with the famous Chinese actors then like Wang Yu, Ti Lung, Chen Kuan Tai and the likes. And much later, Bruce Lee who went on to revolutionize the Chinese film industry. I remember Seck Hock confidently guiding us past the Usherers until we were comfortably seated. Then he would take leave for us to enjoy the movie by ourselves. We were in our teens then. And free movies meant a lot. We felt ‘big’ at the thought of having influential ‘contacts’ at ‘key places’.
Seck Hock arrived after about half an hour or so. We didn’t have much difficulty in recognizing him. He looked the same, just aged a little but it didn’t show anyway. He was his usual bubbly self laughing out loudly at the slightest provocation. We reminisced about school life. He was good in English and we often competed with each other for top spot.
After spending some good 4 hours or so over some good food, we decided to call it a day. It was when we called for the bill that we realized Seck Hock had quietly settled it all.
In retrospect, judging from his demeanour and body language tonight, it appeared that Seck Hock didn’t realize that the relationship nurtured during school days can be continued. He probably believed that everything ends when school life ends.