The Bizad and BAcc class of 1981 mayhave graduated from NUS 35 years ago, but their esprit de corps is still thriving. On 6 August 2016, more than 60 alumni reunited for an evening of camaraderie and catch-ups at the Mochtar Riady Building in Kent Ridge.
Considering the length of time that has passed since graduation, the good turnout proved to be a pleasant surprise, with many making the effort to hop on planes or trains to attend the event. Informal and informative, the buzzing atmosphere was punctuated with laughter throughout the evening, as friendships rekindled and new connections were made. Memory games and a photo collage video helped to bring back the group’s cherished recollections from NUS, covering everything from the awkward bell-bottom era to sleepovers with Saturday Night Fever.
The group listened intently as host David Shaw talked about Dunbar’s number – 150 – which, according to research, is the cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships at any one time. He wondered aloud how many of the classmates in the hall featured in each other’s Dunbar list, and spoke about the value of reunions like this to add to that number. Co-host Monica Tan, who has lived in Perth for 23 years, flew in specifically for the occasion. She echoed the same sentiment on the value of friendships and support networks, “I will always come back for NUS, and we should cherish and make the most of this evening.”
Though many hadn’t met for years, the atmosphere was jubilant as old acquaintances enjoyed the chance to reconnect. Pek Chong Koon and Ong Hoon Meng, who hadn’t set eyes on each other since graduation, commented that nothing had changed since they last met. Ong Hock Ann remarked, “It’s bo nus time to catch up. I make it to every reunion.” Even those who couldn’t attend were present in spirit, with Peter Lam, Yeoh Cheang Teik and Miiko Tan sending their well wishes from afar. Miiko reminisced about time bringing many changes and the precious nature of life and friendships; while Yeoh Cheang Teik issued a standing invitation to old classmates who visit Kuala Lumpur to hit him up for a drink.
Pheck Choo and her Global Alumni Network Office (GANO) team’s mission to build relationships across networking events was made clear throughout the evening, with Mach Goh expressing his sincere gratitude for their hospitality. Other advocates for the event were overwhelming in their support. Besides contributing funds to the existing NUSBSAA – BBA/BACC Class of 1981 Bursary, many also put their hands in their pockets to supplement the collection towards a new bursary, the Tan Chwee Huat Memorial Bursary, in honour of their late professor. Others were encouraged to sign up for the NUS Bizad Charity Run in aid of Autism Research Centre, which is taking place 14 January 2017. There’s still plenty of time to subscribe if you want to join in!
All in all, the evening was one of revelry and reconciliation. In fact, Professor Kulwant Singh, Deputy Dean of the NUS Business School and alumnus of the class of 1981, summed it up perfectly: “It’s as if time stood still. I can recognise some of you instantly, as your faces haven’t changed. Your characters haven’t changed, either – the loud ones at school are still the loud ones tonight!”
If you wish to donate to the Tan Chwee Huat bursary fund, please contact Kerry Tan of our Development Office at 6516 1545 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
Organising Committee of the 35th anniversary reunion of the Class of 1981:
Kulwant Singh, Colin Chow, Leonard Lim, Chua Hung Meng, Tan Wang Cheow, Monica Tan & David Shaw.