Story of O.P.A. Golf games: As I know it
By Philip John Siow, class of 1948, (Founder Committee Member)
This is an info story many old Paulians may like to read. Thus allow me the pleasure of writing my thoughts on how and when our OPA golf games began. Hence it gives me great pleasure of sharring with you its beginning. It is my hope that you will enjoy reading it.
It began sometime in the early 1970s. How then did this long-standing games begin? Well, it all began when the late Mok Wai Hoong, my goodself and many ex-Paulian golfers of bygone days were avid golfers playing on the Seremban International Golf Club course. We would play in “friendlies” over nine holes in the evenings. This was regular and it urged us on to tee-off for our own small “ball-sweep” games followed by a “makan kecil”, drinks and lots of noise. This keenness and support of these ex-Paulian golfers encouraged us to organize these games every four or five months once. These “ball-sweeping” and partying” went on successfully. From this humble beginning, our OPA golf-games took seed and grew.
Then, sometime in the early 1970s we decided to make this event more “solid”. An ad hoc golf committee was formed with the blessing of our main OPA Committee. They liked the idea of having another game-activity under its association, initiated by another willing sub-committee whose games brought ex-Paulians back to renew friendship. These organisers were happy with the committee for encouraging ex-Paulians golfers to support our initiative. It flourished in the spirit of La Salle schools, and here in Seremban it came from Saint Paul’s Institution.
Finally, it happened. A formal golf committee was formed. I was honoured to the first chairman, the late Mok Wai Hoong, the secretary cum PRO, Lai See Ming (Dato’) the treasurer and funds manager, William Wong the assistant treasurer, and another committee member Mr. Michael Yan.
Our main Committee was more than happy to have this group of ex-Paulians organise and run another game-activity in its name, under its “umbrella”. In those days most games were played at S.I.G.C. course.
The founding committee started from scratch and plodded along in its inexperience, persevering to get better. The players’ response and support empowered the committee to carry on. The games-organisation became more steadfast. Friendship, enjoyment and fun were the pulling and glueing factors. Over the years players gradually increased in numbers, prizes were attractive, food and drinks were tastier, laughter were louder and friendship was closer. Such was our comradeship. (At the beginning games, there were no Gross or Nett Challenge trophies). Prizes were sourced from friendly managers in our Senawang Industrial Zone. Managers and friends generously presented gifts to our committee. They donated company umbrellas, coffee mugs, pewter ware, caps, T-shirts, key chains, company souvenirs and cash vouchers. Considering its humble beginning, these were very welcomed.
At one stage of its history, Michael Yan, Kenneth Kulasingam and Lee Kok Keong joined the committee. Kok Keong agreed to be the Hon. Secretary. Then over the years the committee and games became more structured. Our games are now organised running in conjunction with our annual Reunion dinner.
Mr. Steven Chan presenting a momento to long serving Tournament Director cum Adviser, Mr. Philip John Siow.
However, along the way, because of some unavoidable circumstances, there was a lapse of two years when our golf games were not fully organised. Nonetheless, this was only temporary. Following this short gap of absence of games, happy to say that around the late 1980s Michael Yan agreed to be the chairman and he was backed by the former committee members. This time around Hilary Sta Maria and Michael Goh came into the fold. The committee went back to work and our annual golf games were teed-off again. Then as I remembered it soon after Michael Yan, another willing ex-Paulian, David Wee Toh Kiong, came forward to take over the chairmanship. Under his leadership, the committee continued to organise our annual games. There were some changes in the “after-the-tournament” lunch function. It was heard that it was “ada lebih standard-lah”. This mini carnival garnered many gifts, prizes, lucky-draws, and it offered more food and drinks. Its popularity continues to spread. Supportive overseas ex-Paulians came back to participate in our golf games and in our annual reunion dinner. These two events have been pre-fixed by the main committee to fall on the first Saturday of September. This sure fixture will surely serve as a reminder for our players and diners.
I am glad to add that three years ago Loh Yah Shang an ex-Paulian, came forward and joined our golf committee, at about the same time (perhaps in 2012) David Wee became the President of OPA organization. As such he relinquished his post as chairman of golf committee. Following that event another avid Paulian golfer came in the scene and he, Steven Chan Weng Choy, agreed to lead, as chairman of our Golf Committee in 2012. His managerial experience served him well to the benefit of our games. In the recent tournament, we experienced some organisational changes and addition in the show. He added some extra spice into it and it became more enjoyable and more joyous.
As I see it now, our golf committee has matured in its understanding, and organisation, with its good intentions and aims. I dare to say that it will continue to nurture the spirit of our Alma Mater, albeit just through our golf games. Happily I end this story by saying that we will continue to strive for the betterment of our games and Alma Mater. With such concerned and energetic leaders, we can do it.