On September the 9th, I was ridden with regret.
Then on the 10th I was over the moon.
But by October 29 my cup runneth over - because finally I met my former Primary School teacher, Mr Kempson Wong from Pasir Panjang English School, Singapore - face to face. He was my class teacher from 64 years ago (1955) when I was just 11 years old. It was not the last time I saw him - I met him briefly in 1968, by which time I was a young adult, a teacher, just like him.
He was a fantastic, unforgettable teacher, and in 2012 - having not seen him for 44 years - I wrote a posting for him.
Seven years later, the fates were kind to me. I met up with Mr Kempson Wong once again - and this time I met his lovely wife Catherine too.
|Catherine and Maznoor in their kitchen.
She not only gave me a bottle of her absolutely divine Almond Florentine biscuits. I also took home with me the recipe and the special Florentine flour. Iain and I are still squabbling over who has had more Florentines than the other. Thank you so much Catherine.
My ex-teacher is so lucky (and so happy) to have Catherine as his soul mate - a finer couple would be very hard to find. When I got back to Kuala Lumpur from Singapore I wrote him a message;
"When Iain and I grow up we want to be just like you!"
Because of "circumstances beyond his control" Iain was unable to enter Singapore to meet my former teacher. In his place I passed on a gift of his book "Fatimah's Kampung" to this exceptional teacher of mine.
Here's something I managed to cobble together to celebrate my reunion with Mr Kempson Wong - something for our family album.
|Left: Maznoor and Iain Buchanan. Right: Catherine and Kempson Wong
He was my teacher 64 long years ago - but I remember his classes like they were yesterday. He is indeed hard to live up to. They just don't make people like him any more.
But I discovered something new about him. He plays the piano - and he does it so beautifully. It was something he decided to learn when he retired from his profession. I shall never forget my ex-teacher's serenade to celebrate our meeting.
I asked him to play for me "The Ash Grove" . Then he followed it with this.
I wished I could have recorded his version but I guess the original song will have to do.
After he had ended the repertoire, he stood up, looked at me and smiled and sang :
"My memories of love will be of you."
What else could I do but collapse in tears. Thank you Sir. I always knew you were special. I shall treasure this morning to the end of my days.
Long, long ago in 1955 :
|Mr Kempson Wong (red square), Maznoor (red circle).