Retired teacher seeks friends from 1962 India trip

SEREMBAN, Malaysia - Memories of being selected to visit India with two other Malayans to witness the republic's inaugural Republic Day celebration in 1962 still linger in the mind of retired teacher Ng Yee Tim, now 72.

Ng, who was then 21, said he was selected together with Melvyn Fernandez, a student from either St John's or Victoria Institution and another individual whom he could only remember as Zainal, who was probably from Kedah, to represent Malaya to witness the historical event in New Delhi.

Ng is now hoping to re-establish contact with his two buddies, whom he last saw over half a century ago.

"We used to keep in touch through letters for a short period upon our return but have never met since. I really wish to meet them again for a reunion," he said adding that all he knew was that Zainal went on to join the police force, while Fernandez's father worked with a newspaper company in Kuala Lumpur.

Ng, who is now Old Paulians' Association vice- president, said the three were picked by the Malayan government, which was part of the Commonwealth, on New Delhi's invitation.

"The Malayan government only allowed those who were members of Cadet Corps in schools to apply for the all-expense paid trip," he recalled, adding that the trio left for New Delhi via Singapore from the then Sg Besi Airport on Jan 19, 1962.

Ng, who had just completed his Senior Cambridge then, said they personally met Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India and had tea with then PresiĀ­dent S. Radhakrishnan at his official residence Rashtrapati Bhavan.

"Apart from visiting places such as Taj Mahal and the Atomic facility in Trombay Island, we met representatives from other Commonwealth nations at the ceremony.

"It was also an unforgettable journey as it was really cold in New Delhi then," he said, adding that he also remembers both Fernandez and Zainal wishing him a prosperous Chinese New Year when they were on board a train to Bombay (now Mumbai) from New Delhi.

Ng said they had plenty of fun as the Indian authorities had accorded them VIP treatment throughout their stay in India.

"We stayed in various army camps and were each assigned a batman to see to our needs," he said, adding that the friends had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to savour peacock meat during the trip.

Ng expressed hope that his buddies were still around so that they could meet up again. He can be reached at 019-333 4762 or ngyeetim@hotmail.com.