As Ivan attended his graduation dinner in school last Friday, his friend’s mother called from Sabah to thank me yet again for taking care of her son, whom she hopes will continue to maintain the friendship he has built in ACS(I) after they all leave the school in a month’s time. I felt a sense of deja vu when she said that. When the boys were at kindergarten, the parents then had also hoped the close friendship shared by the kids since they were toddlers would remain even as they left for different primary schools. It was a futile dream. The kids made new friends in primary school and soon forgot their ‘best friends’ from kindergarten. Ditto too in primary school.
Thus it was heartwarming as I sit back and appreciate the friendship the boys have maintained since young with the kids from Faberhills, about 15-17 of them from 6-8 households, comprising both girls and boys with age 16 – 21.
Our family had lived in Faberhills since 1970. My sister, Ade and I only played with my next door neighbour J and another girl M, who moved out when we were 14. Full day school in Nanyang kept us busy and we did not socialise after school. We only knew the neighbours by sight.
The link in friendship is as fragile as a spider’s silk and needs constant nurturing and maintenence to develop into a strong web. These kids, despite coming from different schools, ranging from top schools to neighbourhood schools, manage to do this through birthday outings and various gatherings. Many of them are third generation kids living with their grandparents (like mine), and whose parents, like me, did not socialise when we were that age. Some are from families that had moved in in the 1990s. They met as little children playing in the Faberhills Park and still meet for a game of soccer every evening. (I don’t know how the girls got involved.)
Last Friday, they went out to celebrate another birthday, and i was surprised so many turned up, as it’s exam month and a few of them are taking O’levels and one ‘A’ levels. (I think Ivan is the only one taking O’levels who did not attend.) I guess their parents, like me, are supportive of this friendship, envious even. What they could not acheive, the kids have done it – building a community bond.