Written by: Julian Tay
Edited by: Victor Lee
Formal Hall Dinner or more affectionately known as FHD by KEVIIans – current or alumni – has always been a yearly tradition and it serves one primary purpose during all these years: for all KEVIIans to take a night off from their hectic schedule and participate in a night of light-hearted entertainment and good food and ultimately serve as a platform to foster a strong sense of camaraderie amongst hallies in a communal living setting.
The theme for the first FHD of the year is KE: The Social Network and this undergirds the concept of hall being a center for different social groups to interact with one another. However, what’s distinctive or even special about the first FHD of every year has never been its theme, dress code or even the programme but rather that each newly accepted hall resident is supposed to ask a senior from the opposite sex as their date for the dinner and this his has always resulted in some unexpected pairings that elicited raised eyebrows, childish guffaws or even wild loud cheering reactions by their block mates and friends. As for those who were too shy to make the first move, the block committee members played cupid by providing matchmaking services to pair up the shy juniors with the ever-ready seniors.
As always, the event started a tad later than the planned timing. There was some foreseen congestion at the registration counters and people engaged in some light pre-dinner banter and photo taking sessions at the lobby area. There were also several alumni who returned to join us in this yearly tradition. Even the Dinner and Dance Committee and OCIP team were also there in a joint flower sales collaboration to fundraise for their respective committees.
The night began with the entry of the hall SCRC and JCRC members into the dining hall before our dear hall master A/P Ho Yew Kee delivered the opening speech of the night. It was then followed by another speech by Eddie Tan, the newly-elected president of the incoming 55th JCRC and a swearing-in ceremony for the 55th JCRC members.
Once all the formalities of FHD were done with, all the hungry “wolves” were seen scrambling from their seats to redeem the specially catered food for their tables with coupons. The meal was definitely a refreshing change from the usual fare provided by the caterers as many KEVIIans were nodding in approval when they were eating their black pepper prawn, sweet and sour fish or custard puff, just to name a few.
However, the night was not just all about the catered food as there were several activities in store. KE’s very own band set the stage ablaze with their rendition of Rolling in the Deep by Adele and many other popular song choices. The night progressed on with a mini-game in which five senior-freshie couples from each block were tied to each other at their wrists. Each pair was then tasked to blow five balloons which must be burst only by sitting in the fastest time. This game proved to be an exciting one as the crowd was sent into an edge of competitiveness as they were cheering for couples from their respective blocks. It was a close match but in the end, He Yu and Zhang Long from F block emerged victorious and claimed “pride and honour” for their block.
Despite all this, the clear highlight of the night was the final portion when the emcees, Shaam and Biquan who are freshies went around to unsuspecting couples to ask them to tell the crowd one interesting thing that they had managed to glean from each other throughout the night. It was during this moment that many KEVIIans were sent to fits of laughter (some teary) by some very hilarious antics by fellow KEVIIans and witty remarks by the emcees. Some of those memorable instances were that of Johan, a senior from AB who lied about his name and later presented his date with a cauliflower from one of the dishes prepared that night. It was also later discovered that Biquan, the emcee left his date, Sophie alone at her table throughout the night, leading to some loud jeering from the crowd.
It was evident that KEVIIans were enjoying themselves that night. JJ a senior from CD mentioned that the food this year was an improvement from last years and he felt that FHD has allowed him to interact and know his date better. Patrick, one of the alumni who were present that night also complimented on the food and commended on the superb emceeing by Shaam and Biquan. This sentiment was also shared by Dr. Seow, F Block Resident Fellow (RF) who has undoubtedly attended numerous FHDs during his tenure as an RF here. He felt that the emcees had made the event came to life with their charisma.
The night ended with KEVIIans entering a state of photo-taking frenzy to capture memories of the night. It was definitely a night full of fun and surprises and if anything, the FHD this year has perhaps helped in creating a bunch of people who are more bonded through shared experiences. Indeed, FHD is just the beginning and there are many more events that will cement the friendships forged here.