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30 December 2023

Standing from L : Patrick Martin RMC teacher, Liaw Siaw Teng F66-69, Christopher Fredericks A67-70, Tan Keng Seng B72-75, Lim Tiow Peng D69-72, Michael Silva F68-71, Samuel Ong C68-71 Seated from L : Arthur Reynolds C62-65,Jugjit Singh Chaal G/B61-64, Malcolm Westwood 53 Waterloo, Eric Paul Sumitran E62-65, Trevor de Run B58-61


The spirit of camaraderie knows no boundaries, especially when it comes to the Old Puteras (OPs) who recently gathered at The Manninghams on December 30th, 2023, for the much-anticipated OPs Down Under Annual Christmas Lunch. Amongst the joyous gathering were two esteemed visiting OPs, Tan Keng Seng B72-75 and Samuel Ong C68-71, adding a special touch to the event.

This year’s luncheon carried an extra layer of significance as it coincided with the remarkable 62nd wedding anniversary of OP Malcolm Westwood from the ’53 Waterloo and his beloved Patricia. It was a celebration not only of enduring friendships but also of lasting love, marking a milestone cherished by all in attendance.

The generosity of OP Michael Yam shone through as he contributed two delectable cakes from Bon Bon, enhancing the festivity of the occasion and serving as a sweet reminder of the thoughtful gestures within the OP community.

The captured moment in the group photograph speaks volumes beyond smiles and poses. Standing side by side are individuals from different backgrounds—varying vintages, companies, races, and religions. Yet, they share an indescribable bond forged through their shared experiences at the Boys Wing of the Royal (Federation) Military College.

OP Samuel Ong, C68-71 SUO & Commandant Prize Winner 1971, beautifully encapsulates this sentiment in his reflections. He highlights the transformative power of the military boarding school experience, where former “budak boys” evolved into Old Puteras. They reminisce about barracks life, late-night study sessions in prep rooms, enduring military drills, jungle bashing, and striving for excellence in sports. All of these experiences, lived side by side, cultivated an unbreakable bond and a spirit of serving to lead—a motto ingrained in their hearts.

Samuel Ong and Keng Seng’s visit to Melbourne over the festive season further emphasized the global reach of this camaraderie. They were welcomed at a luncheon organized by the tireless efforts of OP Lim Tiow Peng, the linchpin for Melbourne-based OPs, whose dedication deserves utmost praise.

The photograph itself narrates a tale of heritage, shared memories, and the enduring power of friendships forged through shared trials and triumphs. It echoes the sentiment that being an alumnus of such an esteemed institution is not just a label but a lifelong connection to a family of brothers-in-arms.

As we look at the faces captured in that moment, we witness not just a gathering but a living testament to the impact of shared experiences in shaping lifelong bonds. The OPs Down Under Annual Christmas Lunch stands as a testament to the resilience of friendships, the celebration of milestones, and the unwavering spirit of a community bound by history and shared values.

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