We laughed so hard that our bellies ached. The night passed by quicker than the speed of light.
Although several of us had not seen each other for nearly a decade, it seemed like time had stood still as we swapped stories and reminisced about our time working in The Malay Mail newspaper in the early to late 2000s.
The mini-reunion at Big Singh Chapati restaurant in Taman Tun Dr Ismail last Thursday was at the prompting of former sub-editor Sharanjit Dhaliwal, now based in Singapore.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, she had not returned ‘home’ for over two years.
A few phone calls and countless WhatsApp messages later saw Sharanjit and I meet with Ilyani Zahari, Fuzeani Fauzi, Sujartha Kumar, Haris Hussain and Azlan Shah Mohd Khalid.
Irwan Abdul Rahman and Shuhaidah Saharani made it an even joyous occasion by bringing their three children. All of us have such great memories of working at the paper.
Sadly, several others could not make it.
Then and now, the group we hung out with had no airs about them, and everyone was willing to help each other.
It was a great night. We were all sad that it ended, but we hope to hold a proper reunion, hopefully, before the year is out.
The one thing that Covid-19 has taught us is to value our friends, old and new, as we missed some weddings, birthdays, and funerals due to travel restrictions.
That is one of the reasons why I now try not to turn down invitations. Life is too short.
It is a reason for a weekly breakfast session with another with another former Malay Mail journalist, Rizal Solomon.
Among the things we talk about is making plans and sticking to them as we never know if a new wave will force us into another lockdown, or have our movements curbed.
Besides Rizal, I often meet up with the newer Malay Mail kakis – Gwendolyn Manickam, Sabrina Bahari and Sachina Dominic – whom I met during my second stint with the paper in 2014.
I also have regular meet-ups with friends from The Sun newspaper, where I cut my teeth as a journalist.
I met two of them yesterday – Bob Holmes and Darren Goh.
Although I meet Holmes regularly, I have not seen Goh for several years, as he too, has immigrated to Singapore. Holmes and Goh had not met for nearly 20 years.
Earlier this year, I met another former Sun journo, N. Rama Lohan, after more than 20 years.
The past week has taught me the value of accepting invitations as a moment can be gone forever.
Last Saturday, Malaysia lost one of its sporting legends when fencer Ronnie Theseira died. He was 92.
I interviewed him last year as he was then among the oldest living Olympians to represent the country.
Despite his age, Theseira was still active and was itching to resume coaching the younger generation. He only stopped because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
We kept in touch, and he even invited me to drop by Melaka so he could teach me fencing. It was an invitation I never took up.
It is my one big regret.
Just a word of caution. Although it is no longer mandatory to take a Covid-19 test, please do one before going to any functions, especially one that attracts large crowds.
It is better to be safe than sorry.
LOWEST DEATH TOLL IN A WEEK, SURGE IN CASES EXPECTED
There were 14 deaths from Covid-19 in the past week, the lowest accumulative total for seven days this year.
That included zero deaths on June 19, the first time that has happened since Dec 18, 2020.
The total deaths from Covid-19 now stand at 35,745.
There were 15,564 new cases, bringing the total to 4,552,359.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has urged senior citizens and individuals with chronic illnesses to take their second booster shot in anticipation of a potential surge of new infections.
Recoveries rose from 10,890 last week to 12,919, making it 4,488,367.
Worldwide, there are 548,243,022 cases and 6,349,436 fatalities.
FESTA SAN PEDRO
The Selangor and Federal Territory Eurasian Association (SAFTEA) will hold a Festa San Pedro (or Feast of St Peter) tomorrow.
In keeping with tradition, there will be a dance tutorial on the O Maliao Maliao Portuguese folk dance and other activities.
For an exciting afternoon of good food, tea-time treats, and fabulous music, kindly contact 013-5931645 or 016-3078558.
Tickets are RM45 for members and RM55 for non-members.
TWO-INGREDIENT NO-BAKE CHOCOLATE BANANA CAKE
I love chocolates. I love bananas. So why not have both in a cake? I plan to try this two-ingredient no-bake chocolate banana cake this weekend.
We end this week with an unusual John Prine number called Ubangi Stomp. Unlike his other deep-thinking songs, this is a fun up-tempo rock and roll song.
Until next week, stay safe.