By Philip John Siow, class of 1948, (Founder Committee Member)
OPA-SPI Games Carnival 2018
The OPA Annual Games 2018 was held on the 4th of August in SPI Secondary. Badminton was played a day earlier on 3rd August while hockey had to be played on 28th July as some of the school players would be involved in the Under 18 NSHA Tournament as well as the Negeri Sembilan League.
Word of thanks to Puan Shantini Lingam, SPI Senior Assistant in charge of Co-Curriculum, Hockey Coach Mr Subramanian, OPA Sports Chairman Mr. Steven Chan and OPA Secretary Mr. Lee Kok Keong for coordinating, planning and scheduling the various games.
On the morning of 4th August 2018 the atmosphere in Mont La Salle was filled with fervour, excitement, thrills and cheers as participants from various year groups started trotting to the school field. A total of 178 participants from both sides signed up for the Games Carnival. Before the games commenced, everyone was feted to a simple and good breakfast of fried bee hoon, curry puff and vadai to go with coffee and teh-tarik.
The football match had always been one of the most exciting games with both sides fighting tooth and nail to score. The results could have gone either way. However, lady luck once again sided the Old Boys for the third straight year. OPA again won narrowly with a score of 3 – 2. It’s indeed heartening to see both sides exchanging hugs and handshakes after the game in the spirit of sportsmanship.
At the other end of the field, the match for basketball was also in progress. From a distance, the cheers of excitement were erupting every now and then and scenes of high fives were seen exchanging on both sides. It was a very tense match between two equally strong teams. Players from the OPA team comprised of ex-school players who had left school in the last 2 - 3 years. They were captained by Kau Wai Hong. When the final whistle was blown, SPI had to play second fiddle again, losing narrowly to OPA by a score of 38 - 40.
There was separate excitement in the foyer of the EGM Libra building where Table Tennis was ongoing. OPA players consisted mainly of veteran players captained by Coordinator, Yam Kait Wah. The SPI team comprised of the more consistent younger Paulians. It was a ding-dong battle as both teams slugged it out with one another. In the end the Veterans prevailed over the young guns 3 - 2.
With the overall tie standing 4-1 in OPA’s favour including Hockey and Badminton which were played earlier in the week, the results for the other 2 games of Volleyball and Squash were deemed academic. But in true sportsmanship, SPI continued to give their best in both these events. The Volleyball match was held immediately after the basketball players vacated the court. The match was very closely fought but unfortunately Lady Luck was just not SPI’s side. OPA won for the second straight year with the same score line of 2 – 1.
The Squash Competition was held at the Royal Sungei Ujong Club. It was SPI who won honours with the younger Paulians displaying grit and determination to beat OPA with a score of 3 – 2 as a very good consolation. A word of thanks to Puan Shantini and OPA President David Wee for gracing the event.
The Hockey match was played on the 28th July 2018 in Seremban 2 Hockey Stadium and we are indeed privileged to be the first 2 teams to play on the newly refurbished Astroturf pitch. The Under 15 team represented the SPI team while the OPA team consists of players from various age groups which included those from classes considered “senior citizens” by now. The OPA team didn’t have enough players and had to rope in assistant coaches of the school team, Lawrence Tan and Osbert Azraai to make up a team. The very much OPA seniors started off very convincingly and scored the first goal to take an early lead. However, when it came to speed and stamina, they were just nowhere compared with the juniors but nevertheless these “old timers” gave their best and lost narrowly to the younger Paulians with the score of 3 – 4. OPA Secretary Mr. Lee Kok Keong presented the Trophy and medals to the winning team.
As in previous years, the tournament for Badminton was held at the Ma Hwa Badminton Hall a day prior to the main event. The response for badminton had always been overwhelming with 20 players signing up. Due to the overwhelming response, coordinator Loh Yah Shang had to book a few extra courts to cater for everyone. SPI badminton coach, Lee Nam Yew made up a team comprising of players from Form 1 to Form 5. OPA’s team consisted of a well-balanced team of strong and weaker players. Although the younger Paulians fought courageously they were simply outclassed by the more experienced OPA team. OPA won 6 – 1. The Sports Chairman Steven Chan presented the Badminton Trophy and medals to the winning team. A nice fellowship dinner was also held at a nearby restaurant, organized by coordinator, Loh Yah Shang.
The overall tie for the Games was 5 – 2 in OPA’s favour.
Present at the closing ceremony on 4th August and prize giving ceremony were the OPA President Mr. David Wee, SPI Secondary Principal Mr. Lee Boon Seng, teachers and OPA Exco members. Momentos of appreciation were presented to each OPA coordinator of the various games. In his closing speech, the Organizing Chairman, Steven Chan placed on record a special word of thanks to the donors of the respective challenge trophies. He reiterated that the purpose of the Games Carnival for OPA was for the continued bonding with our alma mater and also Paulians coming together in solidarity of true Paulians’ Spirit. The ceremony concluded with the singing of the School Rally and Victory March songsd in 1926 as the official alumni association for former students of St. Paul’s Institution (Secondary) and St. Paul’s Institution (Primary). Today, OPA comprises former students and teachers of both schools.
We are blessed with members from various races, religions and economical background. OPA encourages members to participate in games, athletics, social and cultural activities. We are recognised for our outstanding leadership, organisational ability and contributions to our schools and country.
OPA preserves and strengthens the bonds of Paulian fellowship. We are proud to be celebrating our Annual Reunion Dinner on the first Saturday of September every year - attended by more than 1500 paulians and guests - another remarkable achievement.
OPA is one of the few alumni associations in this country to have its own building to call home. We actively respond and contribute to the needs of our schools, helping foster a conducive and unique Paulian experience for students.