On July 18th, we gathered together in Peach Garden Chinese Restaruant in Novena to bid farewell to our friend, Mr Martin Gorg and his family. They had not been expecting a large group so we all arrived early to surprise them and greeted them with a warm round of applause on their arrival. We were glad to see that they were very pleasantly surprised.
Many students were dressed very glamorously, adding to the sense of occasion! The food was also excellent and it just kept coming and coming, one course after another! Everyone enjoyed the good food, stimulating conversation and excellent company. Master Sng presented Mr Gorg with a gift of gold statuettes on behalf of the club. Mr Gorg made a brief speech. He was touched by our show of solidarity in coming out to wish him well and he spoke of his sadness in leaving all his friends in Singapore and in the ITC. He described the great sense of family in the club that he would miss so much. He also spoke of his hopes for his future in Switzerland and concluded by inviting us all to visit him in Geneva. The evening was characterised by a pervasive sense of ambivalence. Everyone seemed to feel happy to be in each other’s company and happy for the exciting new changes that Mr Gorg had to look forward to but sad at the same time that he was leaving.
I thought the round Chinese tables with the rotating centres from which we ate served as particularly poignant symbols for the community atmosphere that Mr Gorg spoke about. Not for us, long tables where we are divided up by rank, which seperate juniors from seniors and stifle dialogue. Instead we show humility and friendship by sitting together at round tables, all of us facing each other, sharing our food from the centre of the table and passing it on. This is the way we encourage conversation and juniors learn from being near seniors and most importantly of all, in this way we nurture the seed of friendship first planted in the dojang. Just as our proficiency in Tae Kwon-Do grows into a towering tree from careful cultivation by our seniors in training, so too does our friendship grow when we sit and eat together. When the sense of community, fraternity and loyalty in the club is so deep-rooted, it is easy to understand why Mr Gorg will miss it so much and why he will also be missed here. Take care Mr Gorg and come back to visit soon!
Written by Mr Eoin O’ Muimhneachain, 2nd Degree Black Belt, ITF Singapore.
© Island Taekwon-Do Centre 2009