Something special happens whenever we meet. As if by magic, the years vanish and we are back in high school. We are young again. We slip the surly bonds of time, if only for an evening, to be raucous schoolboys setting off on our next adventure or great mischief.
Many of us know a song delivered exquisitely in the warm, contralto voice of Karen Carpenter. It was a big hit in the early 1970s, not long after we finished secondary school. Only now do we truly taste the bitter-sweet sentiments of the lyrics in Yesterday Once More:
Those were such happy times and not so long ago
How I wondered where they’d gone
But they’re back again just like a long lost friend
All the songs I loved so well
Every wo-o-wo-o, still shines
Every shing-a-ling-a-ling, that they’re startin’ to sing, so fine …
All my best memories come back clearly to me
Some can even make me cry, just like before
It’s yesterday once more.The Carpenters
It has been 50 years since we completed Form 5 in 1969 and graduated with the Hong Kong School Certificate. Fifty years is a rare commodity, a span of time that comes only once a lifetime for most mortals. It is a wonderful occasion to celebrate!
The fun started well before the July 7 banquet in Toronto to mark our 50th anniversary.
Classmates from around the world began showing up when Toronto’s weather finally had the feel of a genuine Canadian summer. Group yum chas and dinners out became regular fare as we welcomed the arrival of one visitor after another .
On June 30, Leo Lau 劉偉鏗 and his wife Christina invited us to dinner at their beautiful house in a secluded forest ravine mere minutes from Toronto’s iconic Yonge Street.
The sunshine was turning golden under a clear blue sky as we sat down for drinks and snacks on the sprawling deck outside their living room. It was a lovely day for old friends to reconnect and reminisce.
Amid the chit chat and laughter, Leo organized an impromptu event in his dining room for Paul Loong to autograph his new book, Tea Before the Rain, about growing up in Hong Kong.
Then everyone enjoyed the sumptuous dinner.
Leo and Christina had spared no time and effort in preparing a feast for us, as can be seen from the menu:
For dessert, we had not just one cake but THREE cakes!
They were all in honor of Lawrence Lee. His wife May had noticed the dinner at Leo’s house was coming on the same day as Lawrence’s 70th birthday by the lunar calendar. Word quickly got around to all his classmates.
We were determined to help him celebrate by turning dessert time into his birthday party. There were many loud cheers and happy faces with the joyous singing of Happy Birthday.
And yes, we polished off all three cakes!
Watch the video on Lawrence Lee’s Facebook:
In the following week, some classmates went together on a tour of Eastern Canada for several days before returning to Toronto for our 50th graduation anniversary dinner on July 7, 2019.
Joseph Lynn, master guitarist of the evening, has put videos from multiple cameras on a digital-quality recording of the singing and dancing at the banquet. Click Play below, or take a look at https://m.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLTu7E8btY7FyPLQtHgUVdHuse9p8za0Us