Entering through the doors of the restaurant, a cool but musky breeze with a hint of familiarity greeted me. It was the same restaurant that I recognised so fondly, with its dim lights and dark oak brown partitions, reeking of archaic tradition, history and resilience, reminiscent of the ’80s grandeur.
Roland restaurant has been in operations since 1985, and has been steadfast throughout the explosive growth of modern and exceptional eateries sprouting up in its surroundings. Correspondingly, Island Taekwon-Do Centre (ITC) and Sun Hapkido Academy Singapore (SHAS) have also come a long way, celebrating its 25th and 10th anniversary respectively through highs and lows, nurturing the lives of many, and establishing somewhat of a legacy in its wake. This resemblance is certainly a location fitting for the silver jubilee of ITC.
The dinner comes after the success of the inaugural Taekwondo championships, held earlier in the day at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). A feat marked by a success parallel only to those of eminent martial arts schools, this marks a major leap forward for ITC, with supportive representatives from Hong Kong, Japan and Malaysia.
The excited chattering and occasional laughter which echoed the room, soon gave way to a hushed silence as the programme started with the customary bow to Master Daniel Sng, the chief instructor, followed by his opening speech. He kicked off the banquet with his signature “Sijak” (시작), which signified the commencement of our eight-course traditional Chinese meal.
While mingling and listening to our emcee of the night, Jeremy, who is also the chairman for this year’s dinner, we were treated to performances by our members. We had Anne singing ‘Tomorrow’, as well as a mixture of Taekwon-Do and Hapkido members – Jonathan, Kenneth, Jimmy and Christie, coming together to perform a few classics.
The theme of the dinner was undoubtedly that of openness, particularly offering an olive branch to former members who have left the fold. The attempts were manifold.
Firstly, we had a screening of video featuring former practitioners such as Jiang Sijian, Calvin Eng and even current members, presenting well wishes for ITC on its special day. This was followed with a short clip on ITC and SHAS through the years, which I’m sure, every member present was in at least one photo. We were also treated to a video on the championship which occurred earlier in the day before this year’s anniversary dinner cake was rolled out.
Secondly, long-serving members from both ITC and SHAS were recognised, by being awarded tokens of appreciation for their numerous years of training and loyalty. For ITC, they were Mr. Shaun Chua and Mr. Derrick Yong. Having been Master Sng’s most loyal and exceptional students, in and out of the dojang all these years. For SHAS, Mr. Detlef Geleick and Mr. George Goh were the most long-serving members, having been with Master Sng even before SHAS was formed!
Lastly, a brochure inserted with the door gift outlining various benefits for those who wished to once again, pick up from where they left off.
Following in the footsteps of tradition, the dinner culminated in the most anticipated event, the lucky draw. Prices such as shopping vouchers, an action video camera, air fryer, etc. were bestowed on many lucky winners, both guests and members alike. For the others, they had the exquisitely custom-made name card holder door gift to bring home.
Overall, the annual anniversary dinner is like a reunion dinner, celebrating strong camaraderie, however impalpable, and bringing people together. It definitely captivated all the hearts that were present. Thank you Master Sng for bringing us together.
Written by Mr. Matthew Lin, 2nd Degree Black Belt, ITF Singapore
© Island Taekwon-Do Centre 2017
For more images from this year’s anniversary dinner, please click here to view and download.
Finally, some sentiments from this year’s organising committee:
“Without a doubt, this year’s anniversary dinner is a celebration of the past, the present and the future. Being 25 and 10 years old respectively, ITC & SHAS have both come a long way. It was definitely a joy to see every one of you, former and current members, reminisce over good times. I’m truly honoured to have the best committee, work hand-in-hand, to have made this event such a success.”
– Jeremy Tan, Chairperson
“It was a great honour and pleasure to be able to serve as a member of the organising committee for this year’s anniversary dinner especially since it’s ITC’s 25th and SHAS’s 10th Birthday. Seeing familiar faces at the event proves that learning martial arts such as Taekwon-Do or Hapkido, is more than just personal mastery. It’s about the friendship and memories of tough training and fun times. Here’s to many more anniversaries ahead!”
– Justin Gan
“I felt that this year’s anniversary dinner was very entertaining. Until today, I am still stunned by Anne’s singing and have been rocking to the songs of the Beatles performed by our members. I had a good time working with the committee members and found our strength is most definitely in unity – like a bundle of chopsticks, impossible to break but when divided, they break with ease.”
– Joel Mok
“My son and I are very happy to be a part of the ITC and SHAS family. Master Sng has been a great teacher of the arts of Taekwon-Do and Hapkido. I hope to see even greater growth not just in the number of students but also in our reflection of the spirit of patience and perseverance that Master Sng has imparted to us.” – Sim Chai Heng
“For over 40 years, Master Sng has been teaching and training students in Taekwon-Do and Hapkido. His passion and love for martial arts still burns bright today. It’s not only the amount of effort that he puts into teaching, but his genuine care and concern for the well-being of each and every one of his students, is what sets him apart from other instructors. I’m sure all the familiar faces I saw that night will share the same sentiments, and I am deeply honoured to have been a part of the celebrations for ITC’s silver jubilee and SHAS’s 10th anniversary.” – Justina Sun