An account by Suzy Tan:
On 8 April 2014, I headed off to ABC Brickworks to check out Fatty Cheong, which was supposedly run by one of our own, Chan Tuck Cheong. It was ironic it was my first time there despite it being a hit amongst most foodies near and far. Once I found the stall, I asked for Tuck Cheong. He swung round with a big grin, pleasantly surprised to have someone address him by his Chinese name after so long. Tuck Cheong was genuinely pleased to have reconnected with an old friend and bubbled with excitement and detailed recollections of his good times in school. I told him about the reunion on May 24 and he was sorely disappointed he would not be able to make it due to his business needs.
I had found someone who truly loves the school and the teachers, perhaps even more than I do. I knew I had to get the teachers together to go see him, requiring some effort but that it would be worth it. The next day, I called Mdm Eileen Seah and Mr Chia to arrange the gathering. Mr Chia gathered Mr Kok and Mr Ee. It was an all-clear for Friday 11 April 2014 and even Mrs Tay was well enough to go out.
We got there nice and early to get a table. Tuck Cheong spotted me and got curious. He came out of his stall and then spotted Eileen. He broke out in a grin again, one of many for that morning. Tuck Cheong and the teachers chatted away animatedly for quite a while, reminiscing and catching up on what he had been doing.
It was then time for lunch. Tuck Cheong and his wife, Jenny, served up a delectable spread of their offerings at the stall. The teachers were absolutely thrilled to taste food prepared by one of their students. There was even one whole plate of Mr Ee’s favourite Chinese sausage too! I jokingly told Mr Ee he was going to get a sausage garland instead of the teachers’ souvenir for the reunion.
The joy of the reunion was palpable. The teachers were all very proud of him for having done so well for himself and he, in turn, articulated his gratitude and happiness at seeing them again. As for me, I was honoured to be there to soak in the atmosphere and to partake in all that wonderful feasting for the stomach and the soul.
It was a great day out and we stayed for almost 4 hours, eating and chatting.
Tuck Cheong, you may not be able to come to the reunion but we were glad to have been able to bring your reunion with the teachers to you. You may not think it but you are a teacher’s dream. You were and are not only respectful to your teachers but you also stood up to bullies for the weak. You may have struggled back then but you did not give up. We can learn much from your tenacity, your “never say die” and positive attitude.
Seeing you and the teachers so happy makes it so worth it and if I had to do it all over again, I would do it in a heartbeat! I am blessed to call you friend!
With all my best wishes,