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Keith Tse


  • Writer's pictureKeith Tse

Childhood reminiscence 2

I attended a school reunion a few weeks ago and it was a wonderful occasion. I have had severalchildhoodreminiscences this year, and this one was equally emotional. As we chatted and caught up with the events in our lives in the past decade or so, it is amazing how much we had developed since graduating from school as teenagers. We attended Sherborne School, which is a fairly decent school with notable alumni, namely academics (e.g. Alan Turing), actors (e.g. Jeremy Irons) and artists (e.g. Chris Martin), and in our conversations we naturally talked about those of us who had become famous in one way or another. We mentioned a particular person with whom I had a rather peculiar encounter when I was in my first year (and he in his last). It was after the half-term break in Spring 2001, this senior-looking person (wearing a sixth form suit) came up to me every morning in our Dining Hall and asked me whether my Housemaster, who was on extended leave due to some personal matter, had returned yet. I have no idea how he found out that I was from that particular boarding house (Wallace), though it may have had to do with the fact that our Head-of-House was classmates with him and he might have seen him talking to me, but in any case I distinctly remember having this conversation with him every morning during breakfast and every time I had to disappoint him by telling him that my Housemaster still had not yet come back. I assumed that he was studying English, which was what my Housemaster taught (and also what our Head-of-House studied) and that he was anxious to resume his studies (something which was rather unusual at our school…!). Nonetheless, we sustained this daily routine for more than a week until my Housemaster’s long-anticipated return. On the following morning, I finally gave him an affirmative response, for which he thanked me and that was it. I don’t think we ever exchanged words again. I later saw him in a school play- ‘Dealer’s Choice’, and I was shocked to see him on stage as well as very impressed by his acting talent (which probably explains why he was studying English). That person’s name was Charlie Cox, who is now an established actor, and according to the people at the reunion (some of whom were in the same year/house group with him), it was his performance in ‘Dealer’s Choice’ that caught the attention of an acting agent in our school audience. The rest is history. I do not think I ever said more than a word to him during our time at school (a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to his repeated question: ‘has Mr Haigh returned yet?’), but it was this encounter that left an impression on me. I was hugely impressed by his last dramatic performance at school, and I was even more surprised to see his name and face postered around the place a few years back. What a fascinating coincidence, and how funny it is that our childhood encounters can leave such a lasting influence on us.

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