Surprise reunion for teacher turned into viral video


Serena (third right) and Melvin (second left) together with the other co-stars of the video at a press conference at Digi’s headquarters in Kota Kinabalu yesterday.

KOTA KINABALU: What started as a surprise reunion for a teacher has turned into a viral video that touches the hearts of thousands of Malaysians.

Charlene Chong, an aspiring writer based in Kuala Lumpur, wanted to produce a video that can depict the true meaning of family.

She came up with the idea to look for her former teacher, Madam Chuang and organized a surprise reunion between the latter and her other former students.

Charlene then started writing the story and proceeded to interview some of Chuang’s other students that she could find.

The video, entitled Journey To a Reunion, has now been used as a Digi commercial for the Chinese New Year. Since its release on February 8, the video has been viewed over 771, 000 times on Youtube and over 724, 000 times on Facebook (as February 22).

It featured a series of heartfelt interviews with Chuang’s former students and it had also captured Chuang’s genuine reaction when she was surprised by her students.

Chuang was the unsung hero here in the story, a one of a kind teacher from Kota Kinabalu. She lived her vocation as a teacher with love and compassion.

“Two weeks before Chinese New Year, Charlene had attempted to look for as many students that she can interview,” said Serena Liew, who was one of the co-stars in the video and also a former student of Chuang.

According to Serena, Charlene had first approached two of Charlene’s classmates. One of those classmates had just happened to read a book written by Chuang and in the book itself, Chuang had mentioned Serena’s name.

This prompted Charlene to contact Serene to invite her to join the surprise reunion.

“Charlene had informed me that the video would only be used for a documentary,” Serena said, adding that the interview lasted for two hours.

“We were asked a lot of questions, from our childhood to our university time. This is just so that they (Charlene and her crew) can remove all suspicions on Charlene’s actual plan. We thought the interview was for her own project,” Serena disclosed.

On the day of the reunion itself, the former students had started gathering at around 4.30pm. Most of them do not know each other, let alone the true purpose of the reunion.

“We were told that it was a surprise dinner for our teacher and that she would only come at 7.30pm¡Kfor most of us, it was our first time meeting each other.

“We felt like the project was quite a ¡¥serious’ one as there were over 20 crew from Kuala Lumpur,” Serena said.

When asked how Digi came into the picture, Sabah Digi Head of Region Melvin Yap said that Digi wanted a video that can represent the true meaning of Chinese New Year, which is about reunion.

Digi then approached Charlene’s agency and took interest in Charlene’s idea of the reunion.

Melvin said Digi wanted a video that is genuine and not something that was simply acted out.

“The video is true. It is a true story¡Kbeing a teacher is not a job, it is a relationship between the bloodline,” Melvin stressed.

Melvin added that the wonderful work done by Chuang was translated through the testimonials of the students in the video.

“To all of them (the students), she was more than a teacher. She was family.

“We hope that the story of Madam Chuang and her students will motivate more Malaysians to reconnect with the important people that have shaped their lives.

Everyone in the video and most of Chuang’s former students have now embarked on commendable career pathways. The co-stars in the video comprised lawyers, engineers, entrepreneurs, charity workers and many more.

The co-stars in the video were all former Tshung Tsin Secondary School students, one of the top schools in the state where Chuang used to teach at.

The public may view the video simply by typing ‘Digi Chinese New Year 2018’ on Youtube or visit Digi’s official Facebook page.