PETALING JAYA, February 2013 - That afternoon of 3 February was a day filled with anticipation for the sixty-odd alumni who graduated from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) in the seventies (1970-1979) when they converged at PJ Club here.
Some of whom had not met for decades and the first forty-five minutes of mingling did wonders as the participants ‘found’ long lost friends.
The reunion was actually the effort of T. Balasubramaniam (B. Soc. Sc. ‘75) and his wife K. Sarasvathy who organised the much awaited event. He contacted the USM Alumni Liaison Office (ALO) as a partner in reaching out to as many alumni as possible via e-mail.
“Gone are the snail-mail days as a RSVP (Répondez s'il vous plait, French for ‘Please reply’) would take at least a week to receive and with a tight deadline before the enthusiasm turns cold, e-mail is still the best option,” he said.
After batches of e-mails were sent, replies trickled into the ‘In Box’. The response was encouraging and to distinguish the alumni by the year of graduation, Bala prepared name tags of different colours: yellow (1973), green (1974), orange (1975), dark blue (1976), light blue (1978), and white (1979). Guests had them in pink.
After the mingling and catching up with ‘old times’, the buffet lunch started at 12.45 pm and by then the alumni had settled in with much catching up to do with their friends.
“I believe we all enjoyed the reunion, especially being together again among colleagues some of whom we have not met for some years,” Dato’ Ahmad Ibrahim (B. Humanities ’75) said. “I will look forward to the next reunion.”
Lena Khaw (B. Humanities ’73) concurred that “It was really good to meet up with USM grads because we wouldn't have recognised one another if we were to meet in the street (if it had not been for such reunions)”.
Some had indicated that it would be nice if they could make a trip to Penang and visit USM one of these days for they realised and heard that the campus had gone through tremendous changes especially in terms of its landscape over the years.
Separation after their graduation was unable to anaesthetise their spirit of camaraderie but instead allow them to relate some four decades of anecdotes to share with their friends within the few short hours at the reunion.
This was not the first neither will it be the last because Bala and Sarasvathy had and will continue to organise such gatherings over the years.
A number of the alumni wrote in after the event to express the hope that more of such gatherings could be held.
Each participant took home a copy of the latest edition of The Leader (USM ALUMNI Magazine) as well as ‘door gifts’ of fond memories when they left PJ Club that will last a long time to come.