2002 - THE UNTOLD STORY
Much has been written about this year's dinner and I guess the euphoria is still in the air for the committee as we reflect on what we have achieved as a team. Yes, it was a team effort and a bloody good one that is! It was indeed a satisfying experience to be a dinner advisor this year and as I reflect back on what has transpired over the last few weeks before the dinner, it will be a shame if I do not share it with you.
After all these years, these ladies are real life examples of what SMSS Alumni networking is all about. They share their strengths and complement each other. They have chemistry with each other. Of course, when under pressure and stress, we sometimes can get uptight but there is always Bosley and me around to balance the dynamics of the trio.
JUNE the "Rafidah Aziz" of the team was aptly chosen to be the Chief Financial Officer and she performed way above expectations. She collected almost all the ticket sales single handedly, coordinating with the batch reps. She started of a database of all alumni contacts which we will use in future and she has to put up with a lot of crap from some people. Some may say that she can do this because she is not working but mind you, she is a mother to 4 kids and also have to attend classes during the weekends. For this, I have to salute Rafi for his patience all these months and I have to promised him that I will not take away anymore of June's time for the next few months. Rafi - your patience and support did not go unnoticed. However, I was a bit disappointed you did not turn up that night.
IJA- the "Datin"of the trio. If Hudal is Mr Nice Guy, she is Mrs Nice Lady - who seldom refuse a task assign to her. She is also in the Alumni committee and therefore she has to wear 2 hats for the dinner. Ija was the main lady for the venue. Through her contacts at Saloma, which I will not dwell into here, we got almost everything we asked for. We asked for a closure of the Bistro and we got it. We asked for free parking and we got it. We asked for table cloths for all the outside tables and we got it. We asked for a room for the dinner secretariat and we got it. We got almost everything that Saloma had. It was unbelievable! They even did not have any more chairs and tables for us and that is the main reason why we could not sell anymore tickets. Ija was also responsible for the Alumni folder's design, the life membership plaques and coordinating that night's event. Lokman - I salute you for allowing Ija time off to do all these for us. I was also disappointed that you did not turn up that night - as it could be a template for your company's dinner.
CHE' NA - The promoter and publisher of the event. I came to know Che' Na last among the trio. She had some experience in event management before and was aptly chosen to take the lead on promoting the event. All the dinner logos and program book were entrusted to her for production. She also has to seek advertisers for the program book, which was by no means an easy task. Advertising in a dinner program book is something a lot of companies do reluctantly and advertising in an alumni program book certainly does not get you the kind of coverage as advertising in a magazine. But with her perseverance and support from her friends, we managed to fill up the pages in the program book. She is also someone who has a lot of ideas and at times can speak her mind. Che' Na, Keep it up and keep the ideas flowing as we need people like you.
For Mr Nice Guy HUDAL aka Bosley - you are the balancing factor among the angels. It is important to have someone like you who balances the chemistry of the team. I remember when we were studying Chemistry in school; we had this factor that we had to put in to get a balanced chemical equation. I liken you to that factor. Well liked by everyone in the team Hudal had to play his role as Dinner Director in between his full time job at Petronas. However, he managed to guide the team by giving them the right kind of advice and accomodating to the needs of the team. As dinner director, Hudal was a worried man at the end of June when some pledges did not come in and ticket sales were still low. He kept asking me who could underwrite this event but I told him that my success criterion is simple - positive cash balance and having fun at the dinner. We do not need splurge on luxuries that we can't afford as at the end of the dinner, someone has to pay for it and it is not going to be the Alumni. Well, Hudal you did it and though we are competitors in the business, you can still call me for lunch.
LAW IN ACTION
You see, what can go wrong went wrong right till the dinner nite It started 2 weeks before the dinner when Jun and Che' Na wanted to send the program book layout to the printers. The whole program book was in Che' Na's PC hard drive and it could not be retrieved because of certain problems. June and Che' Na spent the whole weekend trying to fix the problem until she almost gave up. She called me to inquire whether I could loan her my PC which I obligingly did but told her that I could not be of much help to her as she is technically far more superior than me what it comes to this stuff. They had to call the in house MIMOS expert to help out (Rafi) and the trio worked on both PCs until the wee hours of the morning. By Monday morning, June's face was smiling again and I sighed a heavy relief.
Murphy came to visit us again on that Saturday morning. All the planning had been done. All the preparations were almost ready. I was still struggling with the slide presentation for the night as we were having problems editing the slide images and mixing the music. I went to pick up the life membership plaques and it all read 1978 for all the life members! Too late to change so we have to use them first and correct it later
At the venue, it was drizzling. Ija called me up to say that they cannnot have the other buffet line at the tables outside for fear of the tables getting wet in the event of a downpour. The place was also very crammed to seat 180 people comfortably with the buffet lines. Crazy ideas went through my mine on how to handle the situation, as I was uncomfortable with the idea of 600 people cramming for food at one location. Lin of Saloma re-assured me that it was allright. I had to go along with the idea. Then the big screen outside could not be lowered down. Majdi wanted to do it himself but I cautioned him against it as it is Saloma's property. The Saloma technicians came to the rescue. Then the lorry that was supposed to pick up the Gamelan equipment could not turned up. Sabri came to the rescue by arranging someone else to pick up the equipment from the school at 3pm. Phew!! All was finally in place.
unfolded earlier in the day when June almost missed the dinner that night.
I collected the door gifts from her house that morning and almost freaked
out when I saw her face all puff up as though she has been in a fight
the night before. She was all stressed up with her school assignment and
dinner preparations. I had told her to finish her assignment, go to bed
early on Friday and not to think about the dinner. But she told me early
Saturday morning that she did not get to sleep at all as she was all tensed
up for the big day. Her face and eyes were swollen - not because of a
domestic dispute but because she took something that she was allergic
to. Looking at her condition that morning, my knees went weak as we only
had a few hours to go before the big event and the most important person
of the dinner was unwell. I immediately called Hudal to prepare him for
the worst. Modern medicine works wonders and June only needed a jab (not
from Rafi but the doctor) to be on her feet again. I saw her at about
4 pm and sighed relief.
The dinner started and I was still frantically waiting for my slides to arrive. When it did arrive at about 10pm, I was ready to be MC with Azura. We had practiced our lines a few minutes earlier and then off we went to be MC. Though I knew Azura from way back in 79, we did not really know each other very well. All I knew now is that she is working at that glamorous new network. We exchanged a few e-mails and that was it. She is very supportive of the alumni and was instrumental in getting the coverage that we need. I always told her that we may be small in numbers but we must have the right coverage for other people to have an interest in our alumni activities. I think we clicked pretty well that night and as it turned out, we delivered our lines just like those AIM awards. The part that I don't understand till today is that I was supposed to partner June but I guess she chickened out at the last minute. Lady luck was smiling on us again and I guess Murphy had no choice but to leave us alone for the rest of the night.
in the air when batch 81 took the stage. Rozie had to use someone's powered
sunglasses and I guess she was at "dizzying heights" on stage.
They really delivered a solid performance that left me to wonder till
today why they wanted to cancel the performance in the first place. Soon
after, everyone was congratulating us for a job well done. I was eating
the free ice cream when Azura called me for an on camera interview. I
was really not up to it so I gave her 2 questions to ask and answered
it in one. She was dumbfounded and the cameraman had to cut the recording,
as she could not ask the next question.
All I have to say is that I am proud to be working with a team of wonderful dedicated people who are not just doers but who are also out to have fun.
Thank you again to everyone who has contributed to organizing this dinner.
Good luck to batch 82 on your next dinner.
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