A veteran SCMP reporter, Kevin examines the good, bad and ugly sides of life in the city. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org There was little chance of hanky-panky - as they said in those days - as boys and girls filed into Central British School when it reopened after the second world war. Girls went primly into school through the Argyle Street entrance. Boys tumbled in through the doors from Ho Man Tin. Closed during the Japanese occupation, the school opened again with 79 students in September 1946. Maunie Bones, a graduate of the class of '55, was nine years old when she tentatively walked onto the playground 61 years ago. 'I couldn't wait to come back and see how things had changed,' said the now 70-year-old Maunie Kwok, who lives in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney. Neither could scores of other graduates of King George V School (as it is now called), which has been staging a reunion over the past week that coincides with its 105th anniversary. At least 200 old boys and girls came from abroad. Many other graduates living in Hong Kong helped organise the event. 'Every time we have a gathering, boys and girls you sat next to in class 55 years ago look a bit older,' smiles Anders Nelsson, who graduated in the 1960s to become Hong Kong's king of rock 'n' roll. Deedee Chow, a retired real estate businessman, was in the class of '58. He welcomed back to Hong Kong classmates from Sweden, Australia, Canada and the United States. 'We do a lot of the same things we did when we were students,' he laughed. 'We played cricket between old boys and the current team and, believe it or not, we won by nine runs.' There was also a Friday night dance, just like they held in the 1960s. This bought back happy memories to Jose Barros, of the class of '66, who married his high-school sweetheart; 41 years later with three children, they live in Sydney. Mr Barros recalls that 'we were too shy in those days to even speak to each other. It was through these Friday night dances that we met'. Nelsson, as a budding entertainer, helped organise those dances with their streamers, colourful lights, an amateur band belting out tremulous rock songs on the stage and the rickety old tables lining the walls. Last Friday, things were a little more sophisticated, he noted. 'But not too much.' One of the reasons this year's reunion was larger than most was because graduates wanted to come back in the 10th anniversary year of the handover to see how their old home town had changed. One visitor was Nora Sun, granddaughter of Sun Yat-sen. 'The thing with our era was that we were really keen to party,' she smiled. 'We always had a dance going on, a party where we could socialise. It was truly an international school. There was not then any German school, French school, Australian school or Canadian school. There was KGV and we all met here. It was unique.' The school fills a fascinating part in the educational history of Hong Kong. In 1902, there was a need for a quality English school in Kowloon. Government, as usual, was not inclined to provide the land or the money needed to build it. The only previous establishment was the Kowloon British College, which had opened in 1894 in Tsim Sha Tsui. It was a flimsy, sad matshed construction which was flattened by a typhoon in 1896. As always, the plea went out to big business. That great man of commerce Robert Hotung, who seems to have given away almost as much money as he made, was typically quick with a generous response. He produced the necessary HK$15,000. One probable reason for his swift response was because Hotung, scion of the famed comprador family, had studied at the English-medium Central School on Hong Kong Island. There was no bulky contract or agreement. He gave the money and the work went ahead. But when it came time for the proud new school to open its doors, it turned out that Chinese and Eurasians (of which Robert Hotung was one) were banned from using the school. It was strictly for English children. Hotung must have been a remarkable man of steady temper. Having been tricked in such a mean and underhand way, his response was merely to stay away from the official opening of Kowloon British School - as it was first called. Instead of being thoroughly ashamed of such uncivilised tactics, some of the more bombastic British voices in Hong Kong positively crowed. Thomas Reid, editor of The China Mail, wrote: 'We assert and we are prepared to prove our point [although not in print] that European children have been ruined irretrievably by intercourse with and contamination from the mixed races with whom they have had to associate in elementary schools.' Can you believe it? Even for 1902?