LUMEN Issue 16 - December 2018 | Page 23



1975 59 @ 59

About 200 Josephians from the Class of 1975 , with their teachers and guests , gathered for a Home Coming event at SJI on 30 June . This reunion dinner was called SJI 1975 59 @ 59 as most of them were born in 1959 and are now 59 years old in 2018 . Raphael Goh , Mark Chin and Ow Cheng Poh from this class recap the fond memories of their Alma Mater and their thoughts about this reunion .

Reunion Dinner

The dinner began with a resounding “ Hip , Hip Hooray !” for the 24 teachers who were with on this very special night of catching up and trying to recognise one another . Some of us had not been back to SJI since we left in 1975 . That was nearly 43 years ago when we were in Bras Basah Road !

It turned out to be a truly memorable evening for many , reconnecting friendship and bonds between classmates , team mates , teachers , and lifelong friends , all united by our common love for SJI . The organising team was very grateful that many responded to the invitation to this reunion dinner just one or two months before . We thank all who responded , including many in our cohort who were not able to join us but nevertheless contributed $ 59 each to the SJI Donation Fund 1987 .
The event started with a Mass in the SJI Chapel , celebrated by alumni priests , Fr . Paul Yeo and Fr Clement Lee , CSsR from the Class of 1975 ( O Level and A Level respectively ). The celebration of the mass was to give thanks to God for His wonderful grace of our old boys , teachers and the school . Prayers were also offered for our late classmates and SJI teachers during this Mass . Our teacher in charge of the 1975 school choir , Ms . Charlotte Collars , conducted the more than 100- strong congregation while Steven Tan ( SJI 1980 ) accompanied with the chapel organ . The altar servers were Jude Jonathan and Mark de Souza , both from Class of 1975 as well . The collection of $ 1500 during this Mass was donated to the SJI Chapel .
Singing the school songs was a joy for Gavin Pan ( SJI 1975 , 4S5 ) and Jerome Tan ( SJI 1975 , 4T3 ), as they led the Josephians in a series of school songs with gusto and nostalgia . Some were seen with tears in their eyes as they sang their hearts out . Our love for SJI was clearly seen and everyone rendered with joy to our Mater !
It has been more than 40 years since some of us last met . As we pursued our studies , careers , established families , and lived in different countries , we eventually lost touch with each other . That evening saw a gathering of old friends coming back from Canada , UK , Australia , New Zealand , Hong Kong and the USA to be SJI ‘ boys ' again . Thousands of photographs were taken of class groups , ECA groups and even primary school groups too , amongst others . Social media had made tracing and contacting possible .
As true Josephians , home-coming was never just about ourselves but about our Alma Mater . We came together to raise funds for SJI after her threeyear long redevelopment at Malcolm Road . Two beautiful pictures of the SJI Chapel in the 1940s and the Statue of St John Baptist de La Salle were curated and donated towards the SJI Donation
Fund . The oil-painting on canvas of the statue of St . John Baptist de La Salle in St . Peter ’ s Basilica was commissioned in Vietnam by Aloysius Wee ( SJI 1975 , 4S5 ) and donated to SJI by Mr . Mock Pak Lum ( SJI 1975 , Sec . 4T1 ) after an auction during the dinner . More than $ 36,000 was raised for the SJI Donation Fund from the two curated pictures and the overall collection made and donated to SJI by Mr . Mock Pak Lum ( SJI 1975 , Sec . 4T1 ) after an auction during the dinner .
The event could not have happened without the support from many alumni volunteers such as Lawrence Yeap ( SJI 1975 A Level ) for the group photo-shoots , and our very own Mr . X ( William Xavier , SJI 1975 ) who compiled the 1970s and 1980s music for the evening . The SJIOBA Secretariat provided merchandise items for sale and Lewis Mitchell ( SJI 1975 ) organised the wine sales .
The many talents of our Josephians were on display throughout this home-coming event . It went smoothly with good food , a video of our good old days and happy faces all around . Everyone who came also received a goody bag containing a book by the late Mr . Goh Sin Tub , Angel of Changi , a bar of French soap , a dinner-memento bottle and a diary and pen . Most of all , everyone also received an SJI badge which we pinned on with pride and great joy ! This event really brought out the highest spirit in all of us as Valiant and True Josephians !
This page ( top ): SJI Principal Fr . Adrian Danker receives the donation from the organising committee of the SJI 1975 59 @ 59 Reunion Dinner . In the middle is the oil painting of the statue of St . John Baptist De La Salle as it is seen in St . Peter ’ s Basilica in the Vatican .
This page ( centre bottom ): Pre-Dinner photo taken in SJI , before the SJI 1975 59 @ 59 Reunion Dinner .