From Albert Yam 任杰倫 (class of 1970)
Having been living in New Jersey for over a quarter of a century, I have been asked in recent years by our BHJS friends in Toronto to join their yearly reunion dinner. In spite of the ground still covered by snow and the wind shivery cold in the middle of March, and Toronto being 500 miles to the north, the warm desire in my heart tells me this is the year to go home and rejoin the big family.
It takes about 10 hours to drive from New Jersey to Toronto – a long trip to get there, but it’s just a short span of time as compared to the more than 42-year flash back to my BHJS days. Surely the time has been stolen in silence, but the bonding and friendship among our schoolmates and teachers are still steadfast, growing stronger with time that we have now become one big family with brothers and sisters. If it is not for the education we received from BHJS and the opportunity to virtually live and learn together under one roof with a bunch of at times naughty and yet innocent teenagers for several years during our adolescence, our lives wouldn’t be the same, let alone having the chance to meet up with each other again in high spirit today. It’s truly a blessing that we had so much fun back then, and can still have even more fun today. Our looks may have changed a bit, but our hearts and spirit remain as child-like as before. We owe our mother school so much that we can never pay her back enough.
Graduated in 1970, I am very excited to have the honor to meet up and catch up with so many BHJS friends at the dinner, new and not so new alike. More than 70 alumni, teachers and family members came to the dinner event on March 16, 2013. Some schoolmates are to our senior and many others to our junior. The participants range from the very first graduating class in1964 to a much younger class of 2003. Many married couples joining us at the dinner were first met and matched at BHJS and have become life-long companions. It supports the notion that dating in high school would almost guarantee good results…agree? It is also our pleasure to meet with many of our teachers, including Ms. Ng Siu Fong (English) and Mr. Tse Hing Cheung (chemistry), Ms. Irene Fong (chemistry) and several other teachers of our time (my apology for not remembering their names). Ms. Ng and Mr. Tse (photo at right), both retired and appearing at the Toronto reunion dinner for the first time, have been married for over 40 years and living in Cincinnati, Ohio since 1978. It is so amazing of the teachers to remember us given they had so many classes and students to deal with. Ms. Ng is very kind to say that we were friends then, and we are friends now. Yes, we are good friends now and often make fun of each other. But to us our school principal(s) and teachers are always our respected mentors, then and now and in the future as well.
One thing I am caught in a little surprise is that the alumni committee members at the door are very eager in “kicking” and “pushing” new blood into the association, in a most cordial and charming and irresistible manner though. Wonder if the police is keeping a keen eye on our assembly ! (just kidding). I truly think the Canada Alumni chapter has done a superb job to provide a wonderful platform for all BHJS friends in North America to get in touch and stay connected with each other on a regular basis. This is in part because Toronto is like a magnet to the Chinese immigrants in North America. Over the years the BHJS alumni in Toronto have out-numbered many other cities in Canada and the USA. And so I am more than happy to join the big club and submit my due. Another nice surprise is to find a couple of schoolmates dressed in BHJS uniforms at the dinner, proudly geared with the colorful 校章 (top photo at right). It really brings back the memory vividly in real time. Someone told me the original designers of the uniform are our first beloved principal Mrs. Helen Wong and her assistant Ms. Ng Tsui King. After all these years the uniforms still fit and the design has proven to be a timeless piece indeed. In a recent award winning Hong Kong movie 歲月神偷, the young leading actress was dressed in BHJS’s blue and white sailor style uniform in her opening scene (bottom photo at right). Wonder if the producers have paid any patent fee to our school. Someone said the producers feature the uniform in the movie to guarantee success at the box office, that they have enticed all the BHJS alumni to buy the ticket. I’ll say they have gotten all the male graduates from every school on Oxford Road and beyond to see the movie as well. In my mind the real BHJS students at our time are prettier and more charming and innocent than those in the movie (honestly from the bottom of my heart).
The night is filled with joy, fun and laughter. From the singing of our school hymn “And did those feet….” to playing just a single game of bingo (who doesn’t love bingo at our age?) towards the end of the evening, with many remarkable moments and plenty of generous raffle gifts given out in between, the dinner event is most admirable and will certainly melt into fond memories for a great number of years to come. It really takes many hearts and souls to bring great ideas into reality so that we can have so much fun to enjoy for the night.
Now that many of us are approaching the “golden” age, family and friends have become priceless as we flip to another chapter of our life journey. So let’s be grateful and embrace the blessing that we still have so many friends with sincere devotion to each other deep in our hearts, and champion our school’s motto (校訓) “I was not born to myself alone, 非以役人, 乃役於人”, which has been evidenced by the generous donation of the night by everybody to help support a poor child in Mongolia. Let’s look back and lend a helping hand to those in need after we have passed through the threshold of opportunity.
Again our sincere thanks to everyone, especially to our warm-hearted and often seemed tireless, hard working hosts….congratulation to you all for a job well done and keep up with the great work ! If it isn’t for their leadership, this reunion would not have happened and would not have been so successful. Thanks for the hospitality, plenty of good food, and best of all, so many good friends to share so many precious moments together for so many years. It definitely is another wonderful memory that we can all cherished. I wish all the happy times could be fixed and saved in a bottle forever. Time is too short though; all good things must come to an end. We miss those of you who cannot come to the reunion this time. Certainly there will always be next time, with yet more friends and more fun to share. As for now, wherever you are, cheers, happy spring time with warming weather just around the corner and beautiful flowers blooming soon, and may I wish everybody good health and prosperity for many, many years to come !