I’ve always loved reunions. Family reunions. As a child, I would lap up every bit of the stories that my grandma and grandpa would regale at dinner. Well, that and itek sionh (my grandma’s specialty), babi pongtay, ayam buah keluak, hee pioh … During my mother’s time they only had meat once a year at Chinese New Year. We were not too far from that, but at least we had fish during the slow months before the New Year 🙂 My uncle was a deep sea fisherman and after every outing, we would get baskets full of fish, hand-carried to us by his mother. And his salted fish, divine! Not the Hugh Grant variety :p

Anyway, I digress.

A friend was talking recently about having gone to a class reunion. Primary 6 class reunion at that! Isn’t that amazing? I can count, with the fingers on one hand, the number of Primary 6 classmates that I am really in touch with. So a full class, well not all, but still more than the digits on two hands and feet, is quite a feat.

I asked a question that my friend might have found somewhat strange. I didn’t phrase it too well. I asked what the folks were doing these days. What they were working as. A question apparently quite typical of a Singaporean and second in popularity only to, “How much?”.

I didn’t make myself clear even after my friend listed off hand, what some were doing. Some were in law. Some owned their own businesses. The typical management folks (given our not so tender age), teachers, engineers, … etc… You know the drill.

While asking the question and kind of anticipating the answer, I was mulling about the rest of the not so full class turnout. The no-shows.

I wonder who shows up at such reunions. I am sure everyone wants to catch up to see how “well” the other has aged. What everyone’s been up to. How the laughter is still similar, even though the body shape and number of hair on the head has ballooned and thinned out respectively. Some could even be networking above all the other “curiosity” reasons. That’s all great. I love these catch-ups too.

But have we ever wondered, besides living overseas and work commitments, why the no shows, don’t show?

At tertiary level, we can roughly guess at the path ahead of us. So a class reunion, besides throwing up the ones who have grown more prosperous (the more physiological changes), would likely throw out white collar folks. For pre-university and secondary schooers, the outcome of where life leads, is less clear. Primary school, murky at best.

So speaking of a Primary 6 reunion made me wonder, where the no- shows were. Whether life had been kind or fate had dealt a cruel blow. And if we go by the crude measurement of success and happiness that society dictates ie: professional or white collar work, home in a good district, nice car, kids in good schools, etc… whether those without all these trappings, would show at all.

Hawkers make an honest living. So too taxi drivers. Cleaners. Housewives (as opposed to tai tais). Bus captains. Bar tenders Restaurant service staff. Gardeners (not horticulturalists). Clerks. Coffee ladies (why are they only ladies … hmmm…).. factory workers…you get my drift.

If they didn’t show, I wonder if it’s because they CMI in the way society dictates is success. Or because they themselves don’t feel comfortable in such social dos. They have a perception that those who do show might “look down on them” and not make them feel comfortable. Whether that’s in fact, the reality.

Why must reunions only be in hotels or swanky clubs? Would it make a difference if they weren’t? Would those who choose to no show, show?

I don’t know. But we tend to associate (even outside of reunions) with those of the same ilk. I wonder how that came to be? Has it always been this way? Was it my imagination? I thought we (at least the baby boomers) grew up and were friends with people of diverse backgrounds and life was the richer for it. Can’t we remember the village in the metropolis?

Is this a mole hill that I’ve just turned into a mountain? Is the divide the real reason for a no show? Or am I just reading into things that are not there? I don’t know. It’s just a hunch.


4 thoughts on “reunions….”

  1. I agree…I have some friends who do not bother with such gatherings. They feel that it is a waste of time. As far as they are concerned, we have moved on…that was a phase of our lives and they see no point or need with establishing those ties again. After all, we can choose our friends.
    In my case, I was drawn to the group because some of those in the group I knew really well as a teenager. We literally had no secrets then. But alas, it was a simpler time.
    As I get to know the group better, I am sure there will be those that I now relate to better than others.
    Perhaps this is a phase in our lives when we appreciate the things we have now due to our hard work and reminisce the past…….also known as mid-life crisis ! …hahaha I feel this urge again to go get my class 2 license so that I can get a Harley or Indian motobike. “Owhhhhooooooo”…what’s that….the call of the wild beckons. 😛

    1. Ohhhhh….”do not bother to attend”, “waste of time”? putting it like that makes it sound so cold. heartless. i hope i am not like that. it’s not so much no point re-establishing ties. i’m happy to do it once in a way. as long as it’s an informal do. not one of those stuffy ones held in a hotel. reminiscing is also good. but after the first few reminiscences, it’s good to be able to shift to the current too. if not, it seems to be like being stuck in the past. or perhaps, that’s what it’s supposed to be. just reminiscences. then everyone splits to return to their current lives. some of which we are a part of and some not. i should just stop assigning deeper meaning to these things than meant to be. :p not sure about doing the same with the wild and the restless 😉 get a grip (didn’t mean them handlebars!) 😀 easy does it.

  2. I went to a reunuion recently….it was my secondary 4 cohort. I would have loved to see what my primary 6 friends were doing today. I met one of them at this reunion though, but many have been lost. We were partners in Primary 1 ! Imagine that ! (Errr….partners had a more innocent connotation then. Trust me, we are straighter than straight)
    We had a cohort of at least 400 students in Secondary 4. Only 15 were at the reunion. I was told that about 5 or so more were regulars but were not able to make it that day, so that makes 20. Indeed, what happened to the others. I then went on a mission to search out some of them. Thanks to technology (aka Facebook), it was not too difficult.
    Who goes to reunions? It was my first time at this reunion, hence there was a sense of adventure. What did these guys look like? Some of them I had not seen in over 33 years ! It was the sense of meeting some of the buddies I used to fool around with after school, fought side by side with after our school lost a soccer match to an unmentionable rival school, played pranks on unsuspectiing classmates, etc. Were they still as playful? Did they still look the same? (There were a few who were perpetually sweaty and untidy)
    It was a great catch up peppered by mixed updates. Some had migrated, one was about to migrate, one passed away due to cancer last year. God Bless his soul.
    Most of the time was spent trying to get updates on our missing classmates, reminising our teachers, etc. Some of our classmates had done very well for themselves including becoming MPs and prominent doctors. Alas, they were not at the reunion. I did a quick tally of who were there versus the classes they were in. Back in school, the brainiacs were in the science classes (3 classes). Then there was the Technical stream for aspiring engineers (2 classes) and the Arts Classes (6 classes). Half of those who turned up were in from the Technical stream, the other half were from the Arts classes. Where were the science students?….Maybe still in the library :p …ouch !
    Sorry for verbous post but this topic of reunion struck a chord with me, given my recent experience. OK, who attends reunions? They are those who are comfortable about who they are now and wish to re-establish the ties from years gone by. Imagine a bunch of 49 year olds behaving like they were 16 again. Thank goodness it was not in a swanky place, otherwise, we would have been thrown out.

    1. so it’s the middle-of-the-road[ers] who attend reunions? that’s something to be said eh. if going by your remark that those who show are those “comfortable” with themselves, likely the ones at the top are. which means either they don’t have time or won’t make time or are afraid of hidden agendas… so they don’t come. although i’d always thought that they’d be the first to show, for bragging rights :p
      not sure about the other no shows. i’m still wondering if it were more inclusive whether they might show. or like me, they are not so good with “official” reunions with stodgy programme and all. nor with big groups and prefer a smaller gathering of friends. maybe they are the smart ones and have been doing that all along. 🙂

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