My yoga mate asked if I knew about this concert, which she had read in the Chinese papers. I hadn’t and didn’t expect to go until another friend H, whose child is also studying in HCI asked me if I wanted to go. Our boys, students of the school, can get us free seating tickets at student special. I looked through the ticket website and saw that my singing doctor Dr Alex Su苏心荃 was appearing in the concert as well. He was from HCJC? I asked my friend if we could buy the most expensive tickets instead? I have never seen 苏心荃 performed up closed before. Our tickets had always been the cheapest and our seats furthest. She agreed. After all, the tickets are for donation to the school. The concert was just before my brother’s birthday, and so, I decided to give him and my sister-in-law, also from HCJC, a treat.
On the day of the concert, H called me while we were on our way there. ‘Hurry, I have 苏心荃 with me. He remembers you from that time at the Esplanade. (https://vickychong.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/meeting-%E8%8B%8F%E8%8A%AF%E8%8D%83/) He will wait for you.’ I was flabbergasted. Mike drove as fast as he could and dropped us at the designated meeting point. H was there waving frantically. I approached the doctor and asked for a photo which he obliged readily, although also a little shy.
My friend urged me to chat with him but I was tongued-tied. Now I regret the lost opportunity. I need to prepare a list of questions to interview him for the next time we meet.
That meeting brought me to a high for the concert, which started promptly. The hosts for the evening were MP Baey Yam Keng and 933’s Feng Hui Shi (马炎庆、冯慧诗), both HCJC Alumni. All the performers that night were alumni of either Chinese High School or HCJC. The concert was thought to be initiated by Eric Moo during a reunion last year.
Many of the performers I was not familiar with, but the songs they sang were xinyao evergreens. I was only waiting for 苏心荃 and Eric Moo to perform. My brother, Min, perhaps felts a little lost with the unfamiliar singers and songs but he was impressed with 郑君心, who was the Talentime 1991 winner which 苏心荃 was the runner-up. My brother was also amused to see a friend’s photo up there as part of a xinyao singing group野鸽子. (His friend was out of town and thus missed singing in the concert.)
苏心荃 performed one of my favourites 故乡的老酒 and I guessed as a tribute to his job at IMH, the song Vincent, both of which can be found in his CD.
An awkward moment in the concert was when the performers on stage urged the audience to sing along to a HCJC song written by Liang Wen Fook, who appeared briefly in a video with an apology for his absence. The audience was clueless to the song. I guessed most of them were from Chinese High School rather than the JC. Needless to say, my husband Mike (81/82) and Sis-in-law Wei (93/94) were not familiar either.
Better was the sing along to the song 萍聚 when the school field was a kaleidoscope of multi-coloured lights. There was just the feeling of camaraderie among us in the audience that you can only experienced if you were there.
The anchor of the show was of course Eric Moo. Having seen his concert last year, I knew he could warm up the crowd and he did it with Kopi-O. Touching was his reminiscence of his time in the school – the brass band teacher who gave him the first exposure to music, and the friendship of his band members. He said, many people may question his identity, having lived in Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and now China, but no one can deny the fact that he is a 华中boy.
The concert ended with the performers singing the school song on stage. It was then I regretted not insisting that my son Aaron went along to see this other side of his school, where many of his predecessors spent many happy moments and returned many years later with fondness. I hope many years later, Aaron would have similar experience, either as a performer or sitting in the audience like us in this venue.
To have a feel of what we experienced, watch the live recording of the concert instead.