A Farewell Party for Mr. Tan

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Topics: Teacher
When I was in Form 2, we had a temporary science teacher. His name was Mr. Tan. He taught us for a couple of months before he obtained a place in university to further his studies. We found out that he was leaving us just one day before the day he was supposed to leave. He did not tell us. Another teacher did. As we liked very much, we got together and planned a farewell party for him. The girls agreed to make some tidbits and the boys agreed to prepare some drinks. It was to be a small party, as we did not have enough time to plan a bigger one.

The next day, we sat through two study periods early in the morning before Mr. Tan entered the class for our science lesson. We had our food and drinks discretely covered at one corner of the class. So when Mr. Tan entered he did not notice anything different in the class. We wanted to surprise him, and we did. As he was opening his book to begin his final lesson. Everybody stood up. Mr. Tan looked at us in surprise and asked us to sit down. When nobody complied he gave us a puzzled frown, closed his book and stood at his desk, arms akimbo and chins thrust forward enquiringly.
What’s matter?” he asked.
We looked at one another.

Our monitor answered, “Sir, we wish congratulate you on your admission to the university. We have prepared some food and drinks (a classmate removed the sheets covering the food) and we would like you to have something to eat before you leave us. All eyes were on Mr. Tan. His gaze alternated between the food and us. He tried to speak but no words came out. Slowly we could see his eyes misting over and we realised that he was on tears. Good Lord, there was Mr. Tan the muscle-bound he –man that we knew him to be, actually shedding tears of joy or was it sadness. Anyway it was good to know that he was human.

Gradually he regained his composure and our monitor led him by the hand toward the food. Everybody clapped. For the next half-hour we mingled around eating the tidbits and drinking the

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