Satisfied that I have done my utmost best in looking acceptable for the night’s festivities, I strode confidently into the hotel lobby. Unfortunately, my newfound confidence was quickly punctured. In the presence of hundreds of dashing, muscular young men with their flamboyant haircuts and tailored suits, I felt woefully inadequate. My small frame coupled with my slightly oversized blazer did nothing to help my average appearance. Regardless, I was determined to make the most of the night. Waiters dressed in tuxedos swept around the area, offering drinks to Josephians who were beginning to sweat profusely. Tropical weather and suits do not go hand in hand. Resisting the urge to ask for a Martini, “shaken, not stirred”, I opted for a more conservative glass of Coca-Cola.
The ballroom was not large, however, with its crystal chandeliers, adorned walls and carpeted floor, it did have a classy charm to it. Our class had an extremely low attendance, just a little under half of decided to show up that night. The handful of us who did attend were allocated two tables. One of which was taken by the class jocks, and the other by my closest friends. I would not lie and say I have never wanted to be a part of the jock clan, but I always bear in mind who are the more important people in my life. No surprise to which table I elected to have my dinner with, is there? Dinner was only due to start in half an hour’s time, so we were advised to abuse the provided photo booth in true Singaporean fashion. Long queues and free photos, what’s not to love about that.
Hallelujah, the announcement for dinner finally arrived, high time for me to fill my groaning belly. The carnivore inside of me advised me to skip the salad bar and dive straight into the main course which consisted of various meats. Beef Rendang, Boneless Chicken and Cheesy Ham were accompanied by an undersea ensemble of Smoked Salmon, Champagne Prawns and Grilled Dory. After filling my plate to the brim, I shuffled back to our table to begin my refueling process. Four plates and three belt adjustments later, I was confident that I had a full tank. Enough of food going in, it was time for words to go the other way. Quiet small talk quickly erupted into boisterous conversation, where insults and complements were thrown about in equal measure.
Following the dinner was a prize-giving ceremony, where winners were honored, or in this case, dishonored with titles ranging from worst haircut to most likely to end up in jail. To put in bluntly, awards such as these are designed purely for the self-pleasuring of more popular individuals. Nevertheless, my applause was rather genuine, for some surprises were seen. In between the rather half-baked magic performance and other games, we went hunting for good photo spots. Clad in our suits, we arranged ourselves in unflattering positions, all with the intent to fill up our Cameraman’s memory card.
I have always wanted to win a prize from a lucky draw, no matter how small it might be. Alas, I have never had that experience. This night was no different. We stood, arms interlocked as a school to sing the rousing anthem “Saint Joseph’s Call” before calling it a night. Pockets stuffed with photographs and shirts full of sweat stains from exchanging hugs were common takeaways for the majority of us. I glanced around at my friends around me, and a warm, bubbly feeling started to rise within me. How blessed I am to have these wonderful individuals in my life.
Thank you, Benedict, Bryan, Ryan, Ryan, Alagu, Kaushik, Magil, Andrew and Sean (and many others not present that night) for being responsible for some of the sweetest memories in my life. And for some, always being there for me, inducing crazed laughter from me, or as a listening ear when I am feeling down. There are only so many ways I can express my gratitude, but as of now I offer these two words. You “Sexy Malacans”.