A Reunion

It’s already half way through the year – and I’m still getting used to writing 2010 instead of 2009 when jotting down dates! I’ve been reliably informed that time flies when you’re having fun. I think I’ll need more evidence before I’m convinced of the accuracy of this statement.

The first half of May has been a whirlwind of activities. I was fortunate enough to win three separate training engagements with three separate clients – all three in separate locations around Malaysia. No, I’m not complaining, though. It’s just that I’m not as young as I used to be: the traveling zapped more out of me than the actual training itself. Maybe I should start exercising more. Then again, I’ve already jogged once for 15 minutes somewhere in January – I guess I’ve already fulfilled my exercise quota for the year.

The highlight of the past 14 days must have been the reunion we had at Sunway Pyramid. In December of 2009, I conducted a month long communication skills course for a bunch of (fresh) biotechnology graduates under the auspices of the Biotech Corporation of Malaysia. I guess we must have bonded: one day I found a Facebook notification requesting me to attend their class reunion. As luck would have it, I happened to be Kuala Lumpur on that day. So, off I went.

Since it was too early for lunch, someone suggested we did karaoke first. My look of surprise must have been mistaken for one of terror. Almost immediately, several from the group started explaining to me what karaoke was about and how it worked. Some even tried to allay any fears I may have had while a few others subtly slipped in a dare or two. “But sir, you’re the one who’s always telling us not to be intimidated by an audience!” one of them reminded me.

I sat there quietly as they explained to me how karaoke was done. It occurred to me that it would be fun to conveniently forget to tell them that I had once worked in a karaoke lounge and that I was – for two years running – the karaoke champion of a major insurance company. I feigned ignorance, and after asking them a few dumb questions about karaoke, the stage was set. This was going to be fun.

For the first few songs, I continued to play dumb. But after a while I got into the spirit of things and could not resist doing my signature song: As Time Goes By (from the movie Casablanca). It was obvious that my students had never heard the song before – to them any song that was written pre-2005 was probably sung by cavemen during the time when dinosaurs still roamed the earth. But I guess they enjoyed my singing – and were probably mightily surprised. In retrospect, I should have continued to play dumb. After I finished my rendition of ‘Honesty’ and ‘Still’, nobody else cared to sing anymore.

After the karaoke we went off to shoot some arrows at an archery center somewhere on the third floor of Sunway Pyramid. At this point nobody was quite prepared to believe me when I said I had never done archery before. But still, we made a go of it. It was wonderful! At the end of the session I realized I should have taken up the sport long ago. I am now considering taking it up seriously as a hobby. But it does appear to be quite expensive…

In all, it was a great outing. The singing and archery was fun. But the best thing about it was seeing my former students again. It is heart warming to see how far they’ve come and how much more proficient (and confident) they are when communicating in English. I can’t help thinking that I may have done something right. And I thank Allah s.w.t. for this.

3 thoughts on “A Reunion

  1. Hi Matt, like u, I normally like to play dumb too (or for real? dunno lah..kekeke). My pet hate r those ‘know all’ smart alexes that says; I’d heard that, been there, done these b4 (even when they haven’t too). These r really the kill-joy /party pooper type of a**h*les, u’ll know the type I’d meant. By playing dumb, ‘make dunno’ have it’s positive side too like in your case here u got praised, ‘so clever one,u r so talented, pakcik’…kakaka..at the same time u made the students so happy & proud that they have taught u well too, so giving them lots of self confidence not to mention boost their self esteem too. It really is win-win situation.

    Ahhh ‘As time goes by’; my favourite version is this duet between Rod & the ever so gorgeous Chrissie;

    As Time Goes By

    Cheers & have a good weekend, Robin Hood.


    P/S – Don’t ever try that William Tell stunt with ur boy, ok?…kakaka.


    Playing dumb works a treat… but only if we do pull it off well. Otherwise we might appear condescending or even patronising. Don’t want that, do we?

    No, there’s no fear of me doing a William Tell any time soon…

  2. Bro, singing Just They Way You Are would’ve probably complemented the day nicely…

    Good to read that this teaching thing is suiting you nicely. Happy teacher’s day!


    ‘Just the way you are’ would be a good thing. But I’d have to lower the key maybe 3 semitones: just didn’t want the kids to know I’m on first names basis with the karaoke remote 🙂

    Yes, sir. This teaching thing is right up my alley.

  3. Salam bro
    Hope its not too late….Happy ‘teachers’ day!


    Thank you, sir. I guess even mercenary teachers (freelance trainers) like me are entitled to a piece of Teachers’ Day 🙂

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