VI. LAS VEGAS, Nevada, USA
October 20 – 24, 2002
The fact that many TFI-ers were unable to attend the 2001 reunion in Toronto due to the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, led Tjing Bie to arrange a TFI Reunion in Las Vegas in 2002. This reunion was held at the Tropicana Hotel, the same hotel where the first TFI reunion was held, 15 years earlier.
The Las Vegas Reunion was chaired by Johnny Tan Sing Oen, the alumnus who suggested the dinner get-together in Ontario, California, that became the forerunner of TFI reunions, 16 years earlier. Johnny was supported by Vice Chairperson Tan Hoei Tjiat and eight team members, while Tjing Bie, by now a veteran of TFI Reunions, acted as Advisor.
In his welcome letter, Johnny welcomed participants to the fabulous city of entertainments. He mentioned the new hotels that had been built in Las Vegas since the first reunion in 1987, and the free attractions that were available.
Unlike previous reunion booklets, the 2002 Reunion booklet included messages from previous Chairpersons Steve Kristedja (Las Vegas 1987), Thé Tjing Bie (Reno 1990), Kwee Kiem Han (Veldhoven 1993) and Dien Ko (Reno 1999).
Steve’s message dated October 20, 2002, reminded all participants that the first TFI Reunion took place in Las Vegas 15 years ago. That meant that we were 15 years older and evolving from recent retirees to the realm of “seniors” who were more aware of the passage of time. Steve wished all participants to take a solemn moment to remember those attendees — who have passed away and preceded us into eternity in the past 15 years. In wishing us a happy and enjoyable Reunion, Steve also urged us: While you are all together on this special occasion, may you all cherish each precious moment you have with friends you don’t often see. At our age … (God forbid), it could be the last time you meet each other!
Tjing Bie wrote that attending Reunions was to meet old friends and make new ones. He wished everyone a happy Reunion and urged them to enjoy their stay in Las Vegas.
In his message dated September 12, 2002, Kiem Han sent his regrets that he and wife Daisy would not be able to join the Reunion in Las Vegas, due to other social commitments. He wished the participants leuke en gezellige bijeenkomsten (fun and cozy get-togethers), zoals we ook vorige keer in Toronto hadden meegemaakt (like the last time we experienced in Toronto)
In her message of the same date, Dien thanked our dear Lord for His generosity and love to give us good health and good luck so that we can join the Reunion in Las Vegas. She also looked forward to meeting dear long-time friends and making acquaintances with new ones – – – and to feel young again remembering the good old days! It seems that TFI reunions do make their participants feel young again, as they relive the good old days.
Participants were treated to a picnic in Sunset Park, one of the largest parks in Las Vegas popular for festivals and picnics. Other than that, participants were free to do as they pleased, such as exploring this city with its millions of lights, flashing and blinking day and night to entice visitors to enter the many establishments offering fun and games and, if one was lucky, riches. Participants walked around downtown Las Vegas, and The Strip, as they took in the sights and sounds of this entertainment capital, or tried their luck in the many casinos for which Las Vegas is famous. The sound of music blaring through loudspeakers and the perpetual clanging of slot machines indicate that Las Vegas is, indeed, a city that never sleeps.
Except for the gala dinner on the last day of the reunion, people had the liberty to explore and try out different eating establishments on their own, or with friends, during the first three evenings. After dinner they could attend the social evenings at the hotel, where light snacks, coffee and tea were served.
The booklet lists 156 participants from Australia (1), Canada (7), Germany (2), Indonesia (8), the Netherlands (1), and the United States of America (137). The reunion concluded with an optional fascinating four-day tour of America’s natural wonders: the spectacular Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National monument.