Names from the past

The neurosurgeon attacked at Footscray Hospital was Dr Michael Wong, aged 43. I went to school with a Michael Wong; presumably he’d be 43.

Digging around, I haven’t found any other detail to confirm or deny it’s the same bloke (there are tons of Michael Wongs, even just in Melbourne, and my usual method of trawling social media networks didn’t help), though I note he studied with a Professor Andrew Kaye – name of another fellow student at Melbourne High School.

Either way, I hope Dr Wong makes a full and speedy recovery.

Update 12/7/2014: Today’s Age has an article on the neurosurgeon — it’s inspiring stuff, well worth a read. He has recovered fully. The article also notes he migrated from Hong Kong when he was 18, so he’s not the same Michael Wong I knew.

VCE exams – good luck everybody

I was 25 when I first had kids. One outcome of this is that my eldest son’s education is running 25 years after mine.

The dates don’t match up completely — the main event, the English exam, for me was on 7th November 1988. For this year’s VCE, it’s today.

Daniel's VCE, 1988

Good luck Isaac, and all of the other 43,000 students sitting the VCE English exam today.

(Though if any of you are reading this before the exam, I’d question your priorities!)

25 years on – school reunion

The weather on Friday night wasn’t favourable, but I think we all had a good time at the 25th school reunion in any case.

Amusingly, it clashed with the year 9+10 social in the main building. When I first arrived (wearing a black suit) I was asked if I was with Security.

Melbourne High School in the rain

It was a mixed group of 25 years/1988 and 20 years/1993. I assume the Old Boys Association reckoned that was the best way to make it viable to run it. About fifty of each group showed up.

Things I learnt on the night:

Melbourne High SchoolI seem to have forgotten the words of the second verses of the school song Honour The Work, as well as Forty Years On and Gaudeamus Igitur

Apparently of the staff at the school in 1988, a staggering 15 are still teaching there 25 years later, including my year 12 maths teacher Mr Ganella, who was there for the reunion. He doesn’t look a day older, except his hair’s a bit greyer.

Likewise, as on previous occasions, many of my classmates looked the same… some a little greyer, rounder.

At least one hadn’t put his boys up for Melbourne High, in part because of the travel distance involved from Eltham (fair enough — when I was there, some students travelled from as far away as Mount Eliza, Launching Place and Gisborne) and because his friends had been scattered around Melbourne (perhaps I was lucky, as many of my friends were in the inner-southeast).

Some have been through some big challenges in their lives, but all those who came seem to have got through it okay with an optimistic viewpoint, and many seem to be living the dream — with things exactly how they want them.

I don’t recall looking at the 1988 honour board before, but I note a high proportion of people from my original year 9 (1985) class, which is kind of nice.

The most well-known last day prank in 1988 was a (lewd in parts) spoof of the school newsletter which was distributed to all year 12 classes. I finally discovered the anonymous students behind it.

A higher-profile incident was this one at Box Hill station, which other students volunteered to clean up — the description of the incident from the stationmaster is particularly amusing — and you can see from the uniform why we called them gumbies:

Finally, pranks obviously still take place… in one of the hallways of a newer building, I found this picture, supposedly of distinguished old boy Michael Gudinski:

Distinguished Old Boy: Michael Gudinski?

Before Facebook and Twitter, we did analogue social networking with paper and pen

Tonight I’m going to a school reunion. Almost unbelievably, it’s 25 years since year 12 in 1988.

To mark this occasion I’ve dug out something even older than that.

Once upon a time, before Facebook and Twitter, we couldn’t write on each others’ Walls or send a Tweet. On occasion in class, we’d pass a piece of paper around instead and write notes on it.

Here is one that survived, from July 1986.

Analogue Facebook wall, from a class in July 1986

As you can see, the chatter amongst myself and my friends at aged 15 was pretty moronic — a mix of tech talk (if you think the Mac/PC/Linux debate is heated, that was nothing on Commodore/Spectrum/Amstrad), Monty Python quotes and personal insults.

I don’t know if any of the other participants in this page of silliness are around and reading my blog… Most are referred to by initials only, so if they wish they can out themselves if they do happen to see this.

First school day

With most kids going back to school this week, Andrew was blogging about the first day of school.

I don’t remember much about my first day either, though I do have a photo that I believe was snapped that morning:

db-school

Long-haired hippy. It was the 70s though. And I was obviously in a good mood… or it may have been my usual “I’m being photographed” face — lots of kids have those.

What I do remember is that (possibly on enrolment day rather than the first day of term) I decided that I wasn’t capable of spelling “Daniel”, and went by the name “Danny” instead… that lasted for 9 years, until I switched high schools to Melbourne High and decided I liked “Daniel” better. (My surname changed at the same time.)

I also recall early in that first term of Prep an older kid bullied me about something (possibly race-related, or perhaps about the odd appearance of my right eye), but I can’t remember any of the other details. Hopefully I wasn’t too upset about it. Back then there wasn’t a school buddy programme, which probably would have helped.

But as far as I recall, no other issues in Prep, and most of my primary school years are filled with happy memories.