Last night, I was invited to gate-crash my husband’s wine table at the Singapore Medical Association’s Annual Dinner.
In recent times, a friend from childhood buys a table and gathers the oenophiles from the Class of 1982.
Dr Chan spent 12 years of his life at X school. So did his father, brother, nephews and cousins. Just about everyone I have met through marriage, share the same lineage. The old boys network runs deep and strong. It’s a given- X boys help each other out.
There used to be a local saying. Boys from Y school run the country, but the X boys own it. These days the men moan, their alma mater has become too much like Y; changes especially in national educational policies have perhaps created a culture, they don’t quite recognise anymore.
Because I am unfamiliar with his childhood, it was heart-warming to meet some of the men he grew up with. Lingering lessons from last night’s encounter include:
- Boys will be boys, no matter when in time they meet again.
- Cos d’Estournel is served in 1st class onboard Singapore Airlines.
- Once the meals are sorted out, when the air stewardess is less busy, ask politely, and chances are there may still be an opened, unfinished bottle that can be brought to you in business/economy.
- When frequent flying, an effective way of combating jet-lag is to keep flying, west.
- X boys have impeccable manners. From, Can we tell the usual sort of jokes we would if you were not around, to serving me first at every point in the 8 course dinner, standing when I rose, or helping me with my seat- it was refreshing to see the gentleman expressed in present times.
- Every man at the table is firmly married. Fact- good guys get snapped up, fast.
- “Guys from Y, they have their lives mapped out from the start. X boys? Gosh, we don’t even know what we’re eating for recess!”
- Shared values/ School ethos- Generous, Laid-back, friendly, warm. Nonchalance. Just study enough to ensure you pass and make it to the next grade, and the next. Don’t worry, be happy.
The evening ended with a rousing rendition of the school song. A few other diners migrated over, lured by the camaraderie, wine and sheer revelry. Listening to them chorus and cheer, I realise that even as I struggle with Singapore, I could never ask my husband to leave. He’s in his element here; the best is yet to be.