我在2007 年认识（已故前政治拘留者）陈仁贵时，我的第一次听到有关这个集会的信息。我与陈仁贵共事几年后，我问他，我是否可以出席这样的聚会，目的仅仅就是要看这个的到底是什么情况。陈仁贵告诉我， 这个聚会仅仅限于在1960年代被捕的政治拘留者，这是一个纯粹局限范围的聚会。
一年后，FUNCTIONG 8组织的成员在2011年突破了这个局限后，我在2012年受邀参与了这个聚会。这可能是我在2011年5月与陈仁贵、卢妙萍女士（前政治拘留者、社阵合洛区准立法议员）和Tan Kok Chiang共同编辑出版了有关1954年5月13日（“513”华校中学生反对强征兵役运动）历史事件的书籍后才受邀参与这个聚会。我因此成了第一个非政治拘留者或其家属成员参与这个聚会的人。
Below is a letter from our reader, Hong Lysa to the writer of “Changing Times and Operation Coldstore” which was published on 10 Jan 2016.
Hi Soh Lung
Thanks for your reflections on attending the annual lunch of those whom we loosely call the “Old Left” held on the third day of Lunar New Year in 2012. I had heard about this event from Tan Jing Quee after I first got to know him in 2007. After working with him for a couple of years I asked if I could attend, just to see what it was like. He said it was only for former political detainees of the 1960s, and was a strictly social event.
I was invited to attend in 2012, one year after Function 8 members made the breakthrough in 2011. It was most probably because of my working with Jing Quee, Loh Miao Ping, and Tan Kok Chiang on the May 13, 1954 publications. Jing Quee passed away soon after the launch of the books in May 2011. I would therefore be among the first who is not a former detainee or their family members to attend the lunch.
I recall very well, the photo-taking that you write about. I had said to you earlier that people may not be happy being photographed at the event. You replied that you would not take photos of anyone who was unhappy about it.
I attended the 2014 gathering. It was quite relaxed. The 50th Anniversary Operation Coldstore book had been launched. I was told that the number of people who turned up had increased significantly. There was an announcement that those whose names were not on the list of political prisoners published in the book should approach Loh Miao Ping if they wished to be included. I heard that subsequently, she did receive phone calls, and met up with many of them. They not only talked about themselves, but also of their friends.
I was unable to attend the 2015 luncheon. Nevertheless, I had a good sense of the atmosphere. Not only were those attending themselves taking photos, excerpts of the event were in a blog, and sent overseas, including to their comrades in Malaysia, South Thailand, Hong Kong and Canada.
Tan Kok Fang gave a speech on behalf of the organisers, stating that it was primarily a gathering of those who had been wrongfully imprisoned, for the purpose of confirming their cause of working towards a just and more equal and democratic society. They had about 20 plus tables in 2014, which was a record. The 2015 gathering had about 30 tables. Former political prisoners were stepping out of the shadows and into the light. They are proud of who they are, and what they did.
Karaoke singing was replaced by rousing songs they used to sing in the past, led by a choral group. Function 8 member Wai Han did an unaccompanied solo, performing a Cantonese song wishing everyone well. Those attending were also reminded that it was 21 February, the birthday of our beloved Dr Lim Hock Siew, and a minute silence was observed.
I recall in one of the few times that I was with Dr Lim, he mentioned to us about an occasion when he was asked to make a speech. He declined because he did not want to politicise the event, which might deter others from attending in future. I understood what he meant and appreciated his sensitivity to the situation. Dr Lim and his wife attended the lunch every year without fail.
Doubtless he would have been proud that the 3rd day of Chinese New Year lunch is not only captured in photos, but widely circulated in videos as well.
See you there this year.
1.张素兰：《改变的时代与（1963年2月2日）“冷藏行动”》（ Changing Times and Operation Coldstore ）