The ceremony was scheduled to start at 10.45am but we had arranged to meet at 10am so that we had time for a short chat. His family came with him. I asked Ah Koh which area he would be serving in. I guess a big organization offers more choices that he needs to ponder. After he went to mark his attendance with the conducting officer, I had a chance to interview his mum – Uncle Koh is a man of few words. I remember Ah Koh once mentioned about tension in the family due to the faith. I guess it should be resolved by now since his parents have agreed to the membership. Aunt Koh told me she knew that Ah Koh would not turn back from the faith, and she was especially happy that her son had made friends (I believe she was referring to the beau). Then suddenly she asked me if I was the culprit who brought her son to the faith. Not me, it was Ah Goh, I replied. I jokingly asked if she would want Ah Goh to apologize to her when he comes back from overseas.
I met an ex-classmate who was in Ah Koh’s group. She remembered my name, much to my surprise. Initially I thought of asking her if she is in contact with other ex-classmates. But before I could open my mouth, she told her husband she remembered we were either ex-classmates or ex-schoolmates, but she could not recall whether that was pri or sec. I changed my mind.
One of Ah Koh’s friends reserved some seats for us. I had requested for the front few rows so that I could take the pictures close-up. The minute they played the music, I regretted that decision. I should have brought earplugs along. After a few songs, they commenced the water ceremony. The host introduced Ah Koh as he stepped into the fish tank. Then the host read out a summary of Ah Koh’s testimony. There was a little error with the timeline in that summarized version but Ah Koh did not want to dispute that. The conducting officer sought a final confirmation from Ah Koh. After that he was immersed. I did not see any dove when he emerged. What followed was more songs, then some announcements, then a piece of unleavened bread with a cup of red wine (or was that grape juice?), and finally the message.
It ended at around 1pm. I was cold and hungry by then.