Thursday, 3 March 2011

BBGS reunion in London

Mak Mei Ling (Class of 1983) gives us a peek at what happened when twelve BBGSians based in the UK got together at the Souk Restaurant in London on 27 February 2011. Enjoy!

At the end of each year, as I heave a sigh of relief that our family has survived another 365 days without too many upheavals, my thoughts turn to the year ahead. In thinking about New Year resolutions, the level of my ambition has gone down as the number of white hairs on my head has gone up. A list of 20 ostensibly achievable resolutions when I was 22 was reduced to 10 when I was 33. This has whittled down to just the one now I am 44. However it is a significant one, designed to stop boredom in its tracks and to add some joie de vivre in a world that is increasingly competitive, complicated and unpredictable. In 2011 my one resolution was to do something or to eat somewhere or to meet someone really interesting every week.

The advantage of living in London is that you are never at a loss for things to do, places to eat or people to meet. However, I did not imagine that this would take the form of a BBGS reunion.

BBGS we pledge to thee...

How I came to be invited to the first BBGS reunion in Europe was itself very interesting. I attend All Souls Church in Langham Place, and in January I was asked to give my testimony. Immediately after the service a member of the congregation came up to me and said, ‘are you by any chance from BBGS?’

There was no need for a particular type of walk, a wink of the eye or a funny handshake. The beauty, if I may say so, of being a BBGS girl is that you are almost instantly recognisable by another BBGSian. Boey Moo Ling introduced herself and informed me that there was a BBGS reunion taking place in February. I contacted Doreen Craig who organised the event to say I would be attending and asked if I should wear my old school badge!

On 27 February, 12 of us gathered in Central London where Doreen had hired a private room in a Moroccan restaurant. The dim lighting was perfect as we did not have to be under too much scrutiny (I was not the youngest there). Everyone was very chatty and found someone else to talk to. Bits of other people’s conversations drifted around - the ais kacang machine, toasted sambal sandwiches, Mrs Abraham and her tongue twisters. Declaring who your headmistresses was gave an indication of your age but no one cared because we were far too engrossed in talking about our present lives and what brought us to London and to Europe.

Smiles all round when BBGSians get together

The moment of reckoning came when we were asked to sing the school song. Not only to sing it, but to have it recorded and uploaded onto Facebook. I cannot imagine what my children will say when they find out. I left BBGS in 1983, but am very proud to say that I remembered the tune to the song. Since the lunch I have even managed to sing the first verse in my head without having to refer to the words.

In singing the school song again after such a long gap, I hope any BBGSian would agree with me that the words, once embedded in our memories if not our hearts, have made us who we are – loyal women, who are able to call on God for help, able to shoulder burdens and who delight in simple things. If I have gone this far in life, it is not due to my own efforts but the efforts of the school in instilling in me a sense of duty and responsibility in all that I undertake, and in underpinning that duty with the understanding that everything is sustained by God. As the year goes by whether we have one or 100 resolutions, the school motto still holds true: Nisi Dominus Frustra - without God all is in vain.

BBGS cupcakes brought by Alice Lian

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