My Army buddy Tat Kai (the one who slapped his own balls trying to kill a mosquito) called today to say the on again off again reunion of mates could be on again if he could get hold of Foong and Ho Yeo.
Foong had to have dinner at his in-laws and Ho Yeo wasnâ€™t answering his phone till about 7pm, but Tat Kai managed to arrange for all of us to meet at Ho Yeoâ€™s office at 8pm.
Foong, Ho Yeo, Tat Kai and I were bunkmates and crewmates at 46th. Ho Yeo was the big bully that initiated everyone transferred into the platoon by beating them up. Foong was the most unlikely looking combat trooper. Looked like a 9 year old when he was 19, but won all the awards there were to win in the Army. Tat Kai, well, he slapped his own balls trying to kill a mosquito.
I got to Marina South at about 8.15pm, and couldnâ€™t figure out where exactly we were to meet, as I had never been to Ho Yeoâ€™s office, and only know vaguely that he works for his fatherâ€™s company, which owns the Superbowl and Super Funworld chain of entertainment outlets (bowling and video games).
Tat Kai and Foong were standing at the bus stop outside Super Funworld, and the food outlets outside there were packed to the brim full of Sunday night diners taking advantage of the Sunday night steamboat and barbecue special for $12 per person. It was so bustling I thought it was the Festival of the Gas Canisters or something.
Ho Yeo met us outside Super Funworld and brought us into his office. Unlike most of my former Army mates, he looked trim and fit, prompting Tat Kai to comment that we could no longer call him Tua Bui (Big Fat) Yeo Yeo, his nickname then, but San Por (Skinny) Yeo Yeo.
Ho Yeoâ€™s office at the back of the video games arcade was much like the gangster back office you see in movies. Glass windows to watch over the arcade, and desks and shelves stacked high with magazines and tapes and an ancient VCR and TV for which to play them on. Ho Yeo himself was still very much the thug, and it was strangely nice to hear him put so many swear words into every sentence. I kept being half afraid everything I said would be taken badly and Iâ€™d get my head smashed into a video game machine, but thankfully, heâ€™s become more conciliatory these days.
The gist of the catch up session was the usual amongst my peers these days: Married? Kids? House? And as usual, for me, no, your honour, none of the above, not even close.
â€œYou have a lot to do to catch up to where we are, but take your timeâ€, is what Tat Kai and Foong said. And I feel like Iâ€™ve been left out of the race, still using the old marker flags from ten years ago as guides.