I was invited by my alma mater to attend a graduation dinner in Shah Alam. Even it was a last minute invitation, and since I did not have anything on that night, I gladly accepted. My first reason to go was of course sort of payback time for the school cum to keep the network going. Secondly to see what kind of graduates that the school was producing in this new era.
The moment I entered the Shah Alam border the sky split opened and a mother of storm and rain poured down. I was lucky I was in Shah Alam an not in KL as I was very sure if I was I would have been in 2 meters deep of water already. With the storm getting nasty by the minutes and lighting flashing at will I inched closer to the Bluewave Hotel. My vision was so bad I missed the right turn to the parking lot and not wanting to make a long turn I just entered the parking lot via the exit hoping in the pouring rain there would not be any cars exiting. Furthermore if someday got annoyed with what I did I would have just said I could see anything.
I was the first VIP guest to arrive. Actually I did not know that I was one of the VIPs that was going to sit at the main table so I just been Ghaz and Bond at the same time. Until a lecturer who was my ex-student came over to chat and I was properly reintroduced to the student organizer and their patron lecturer. It was suggested for me to go to the waiting room but I nicely said I was happy and I’d rather just wait there. When I saw few people that I knew started to walk inside the hall I followed them. I did not know I would be seated so I just walked in towards the main area and started to say hi to everyone. When Zaihan saw me he quickly came over and requested for me to follow him to the waiting room. I try to talk him out of it but he insisted. Only when I got into the room I knew that I was supposed to be one of the VIPs for the night. Accept for the DG of National Archives I personally new everyone in the room and sat down to join them. I did not know how to react but I appreciated the gesture.
Kamaruddin was at the table on behalf of the DG of National Library and he was the first to be called to deliver his speech. Looking at the agenda and people at the table I was worried for a moment that the organiser might just called me up to give a speech. Well I was not worried about giving an impromptu speech but I was more worried that the students were there basically to celebrate and eat. No matter how inspiring I would be I was fighting a lost cause if I were to. No sane human being could give other thing a priority over food when there were hungry. But at the same time looking around the hall I was worried about the students. I was not really sure they really understood what they were getting into in the so called real world. At least most of them and only the brave and enterprising ones would survive the early scares. Just like I was many years ago just happy to graduate but back then at least I have a sure thing waiting for me. Even that I was ill prepared.
I could have gone up to say few words of, my, wisdom but the students would not be convinced. They applauded Nan, their Dean, the loudest but still I am not really sure they got it. So much has changed and the world is getting crueler each day for them. Because of the heavy rain Pak Ray came in to join us late and he was seated next to me on my right. Knowing Pak Ray we joked and talked about old times. As usual one of his first questions was ‘How’s Sue Allan?’ He made his fair share of confession to me that night. Some of which I could pretty guess and understood straight away. Listening to him I knew how proud of him of what he had done for the school. I have to argument on that as, as far as KM is concern he was the one who had asked me to teach the subject in their early Master program. He said, ‘being a good leader also means to be a risk taker.’ He has embarked on a number of risky projects that most people would not understand. Being in his reflective mood brought me back to the real and only reason why I am doing what I am doing. In that sense there are still a lot of unfinished businesses for me.
In the end before the night came to an end all the “VIPs’ were called to perform certain ceremonial things for the organizer including myself. Standing on the stage looking down at the students once again I could not get that convincing feeling that the students were ready. Furthermore not like before the size of the school and group prevented an effective relationships with the alumni. I do not have the answer but everyone has to play their role to get everyone closer and in touch with one another. Options could be an Alumni weekend, continuous knowledge sharing session, virtual media network like Facebook or just a plain Annual Dinner.