King Edward Hall 100 Anniversary Gala Dinner
Written By: Gabriel Lim
Edited By: Cheryl Francesca
Centennial. King Edward VII Hall is currently NUS’s sole student hostel able to stake its claim on this word. KE hall has come a long way since it was first inaugurated in 1916 as the Federated Malay States Hostel, having become much more than just a second home for thousands of students over the years, and chalking up a list of achievements and accolades too numerous to count. As such, I am truly humbled to be given the prestigious honour of covering the culmination of the series of events celebrating the Hall’s 100th Anniversary, which was none other than the Centenary Gala Dinner held at Hilton Singapore.
It was a momentous evening on the 7th of April when past and present KEVIIans from all walks of life put aside their busy schedules to head down to Hilton Singapore for the dinner. Many a handshake was exchanged and much selfies were taken even as KE Alumni whom had graduated from the hall decades back reconnected with their peers. Furthermore, the once-in-a-lifetime event was graced by our Guest-of-Honour, Dr Lam Pin Min, who was also a former resident of the hall.
The attendees were treated to a seven-course Chinese dinner as KEnsemble opened the night with a stunning performance that showcased various tunes, including ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ which was actually used in King Edward VII’s coronation in 1902. Additionally, the perfect comedic timing of the emcees Bao Xiao and Juniper left much of the dinner crowd in stitches as they led the attendees through a series of mini-games and activities.
After the welcoming and opening speeches by the Hall President, Hall Master and Guest-of-Honour, the KE Band wowed the audience with an array of pop and jazz numbers even as the third course was served. Subsequently, KE Alumni Dr Goh Yaw Chong and Dr Devendra Kanagalingam then reminisced about their experiences back when they were residents of the hall.
Thereafter, three art pieces showcasing the magnificent scenery that only the rustic slopes of KE could offer were auctioned off to provide funds for the KE Bursary, which provides financial aid to the less well-off hall residents. The night’s performances then ended with a bang, with the Smoking Marshalls taking the stage and blowing the audience away with their own take on four pieces which consisted of both classics and today’s popular tunes.
The band most certainly lived up to its name and had the attendees enraptured as the vocalists spared no expense in wowing the audience, gamely strutting about and even making several provocative moves during the performance! The performance was most definitely the icing on the cake that made the gala dinner a night to remember.
But wait! Just when we thought that the night could only handle so much unrestrained alumni, several batches of medical professionals stepped up to the plate, spontaneously taking up the stage and receiving a standing ovation for their very boisterous take on the KE Song. They were led by Dr Claire Ang, the Vice-President of the 1984/85 batch. In fact, the camaraderie and enthusiasm was inherently obvious, and it was truly heart-warming for a freshman to the hall such as myself to witness my seniors proudly singing the KE Song.
All in all, the Centenary Gala Dinner was most certainly a memorable event that would remain etched in the hearts and minds of all present. There would never be a night like the one KEVIIans experienced on the 7th of April.
Well, at least until KE200……
In the celebration of KEVII’s 100th Anniversary, KE Press sits down with Dr Claire Ang, JCRC Vice – President of 1984/85 for an exclusive interview. She recounts to us a tale of KE Experiences from the long, distant past, for which most of us current KEVIIans would not even dream of or be capable doing (given that a certain government organisation has rendered the performance of most of such boisterous activities as strictly illicit). KE Press brings to you several of the highlights that was commonplace for a KEVIIan over thirty years ago:
- Ah Leng’s Canteen
“Ah Leng’s canteen is a canteen near the old KE Hall, which is where the Duke-NUS Medical School is currently situated now. The canteen mainly sold hamburgers. Ah Leng was a very kindly person who allowed us to buy food from him on credit, and the thing was, many of us actually forgot to pay him back. He’s actually seen generations of students that owe him money. Ah Leng kept a record of who owed him money. A houseman after graduating actually went back to Ah Leng to settle his outstanding bills after graduating.
- Orientation in the past
“Back in my day, orientation was not just a 4-day thing. Our KE Hall orientation was for about 3 weeks! The orientation period actually carried over into the curriculum period, with activities continuing before and after lessons. As a result, you could actually see the difference between those who attended orientation and those who didn’t when they turned up for lessons. Those who went for orientation usually slept in lessons or dressed in a dishevelled manner, while those who didn’t well, basically didn’t!
- How the KE Hall Song was taught in the past
“Okay, I feel the need to explain the reason behind why fellow keviians and I felt this deep-seated need to give our take of the KE Hall Song towards the end of the Gala Dinner. This was simply because that we believe that the KE Song should not be sung in such a manner. Back in my day, KEVIIans were typically taught the KE Songs, and all five, not just one, through song fights with the other halls. How a song fight works is that we will go down by bus to the other halls and try to catch them by surprise or they will come down to us, and we had to practise until we knew all the Hall Songs by heart. You can imagine that the surrounding residents (the old KE Hall was situated in the middle of a housing estate) were not happy about this.”
KE Press has managed to get exclusive insights into the journals of a student whose identity shall remain secret due to various classified reasons. After significant amounts of data mining and relentless research, we have managed to obtain the following information:
It was a tiring but yet exciting day for Day 16 of Orientation. I had to wake up at 5am to do 5BX (which was such a pain on my already aching muscles), which was constantly peppered with extra ‘love’ from the seniors in the form of an extra set of push-ups and jumping jacks. After that, at about 6 I think, square meal only eaten at one specified dinner(The threat of having to crawl up all four floors of Block 1 even as flour, paint, dirt and other undesirable substances were thrown on me was most definitely a real and terrifying one throughout the camp)
Once we were finished with breakfast, I had to prepare for a full day of lessons even though I could barely keep my eyes from closing, given that I had stayed up to talk with my friends all throughout the previous night. My head was rolling back and forth throughout the entire lecture on the upper limb, and all I got from that lesson was that the forearm actually has two bones, not one! Given my already dazed state, the rest of the day passed away like a blur, and I cannot remember much about what happened until orientation activities continued on at about six in the evening.
We started the evening with a 5km run at Mount Faber just before dinner, and after that, some students from Raffles Hall came down to have a cheer fight with us (We had a late dinner that night ☹). Needless to say, it was only natural that the most awesomest ever hall won that fight. After the cheer fight, I saw some of our seniors talking to the police after that as apparently, we had made too much noise.
Orientation activities finally ended at about 11 at night, after we have sung the five hall songs and also the KE goodnight seniors Song, But that was only the ‘Official’ ending time. Sleep is for the weak, right? I ended up spending the entire night talking to the seniors. It’s about 4am now, and I have no idea how I’m going to be able to focus on my lesson on cardiovascular physiology tomorrow.:/
Its been a very busy and tiring day so I don’t have much time to write today but I’m gonna be so excited for tomorrow night! We’re finally going to be able to have a chance to get back at our seniors who have been tekaning us for the past 19 days! I’m so looking forward to making my leader do pushups!
It was all wishful thinking! We tried to tekan our seniors, but as I tried to get my seniors to do ten sets of crunches, they simply refused to listen to anything I say! Guess I should have expected this! Oh well, even though we didn’t get the chance to give our seniors a taste of their own medicine, this was still the most fun and wildest camp I’ve ever been in. Can’t wait to give my juniors the same initiation process next year haha!
Lastly, to bring many of the current KEVIIans up to speed, KE press has provided a brief summary on various terms, places and activities common to the hall in the past and what they currently are today.
|Back in 1985…..||Currently in 2016……|
|Ah Leng’s Canteen||Super Snacks @ PGP|
|Song Fights||Phased Out|
|Beer drinking contests during orientation||BANNED|
|Rooms catching fire||So far none as of yet|
|Aquariums in rooms||None to the best of my knowledge|
|Carrying cars up to corridors||BANNED|
|Displaying rows of girls’ panties in the basketball court||BANNED|
|Slow Motorbike Races (up the hill)||BANNED|
|Climbing on roofs||BANNED|
KE Press sincerely hopes that this special section has provided its readers with a brief insight on hall life was like in the past. However, we would like to strongly advise that all personages reading this section are to consider carefully the potential legal ramifications before incorporating any of the activities mentioned in the section into any of the events in the hall. Thank you for your consideration.
Photos Courtesy of KE Vision and Prof Thomas Lew