Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Short Story OF The Anglo-Chinese School Kampar (1953)

A Short Story OF The Anglo-Chinese School Kampar



            THE Anglo-Chinese School Kampar, was founded in April, 1903 in the sixteenth

year of the reign of  Sultan Sir Idris Murshid Al-Azzam Shah G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O.  It was not a very eventful year in Malayan history but the little mining town of Kampar was rapidly growing in population and wealth, and an English School was an urgent necessity.


            This School began as small one-class school, under the auspices of the Chinese Methodist Church, in the Chinese Church building which stood on a little mound in a two-acre plot about half away from the town to the Railway Station on the left side of the road (prior to the deviation).  Mr. Ling Ching Mi was the first teacher and the roll during 1903 was 45. The Government gave a special grant towards the teacher’s salary and reported favourably on the work of the School.


            Mr. Phong Ah Sang was the next teacher in 1904. He did faithful work, and the enrolment increased to 70. In 1906,  Rev.W.E. Horley reported to the Methodist Annual Conference:    Our school here is growing by leaps and bounds………….I am sure that we could easily collect enough money to put up a fine building. Kampar is raising town and is growing rapidly. ”


            On account of World War II all available records relating to the early history of the School were lost and even the Methodist Conference Minutes make no mention of the school from 1907-1909 and 1913-1915. But the school grew steadily from year to year until in 1909 an assistant teacher was employed. Besides, Rev. W.E. Horley, the founder, such pioneers as Dr. H.E.L. Luering, Dr. W.G. Shellabear and Rev. G.F. Pykett were associated with the School in their capacity as Presiding Elder (District Superintendent), and early headmasters included Messrs. Phang Ah Nam,  Kwan Tien Poh, Yew Choy Seng and Lim Eng Chuan from 1906-1915.


            Messrs. Lo Wei Kuang  and Chong Wan Fook, two of our most senior teachers, received their early education in the School conducted in the Chinese Church.


            As mentioned above, in 1906 Rev.W.E. Horley  had urged the necessity of collecting funds for a new building, but it was not until ten years later, when Rev.G.F. Pykett complained that the Chinese Church was too small  to house all the five classes, that drive for funds was initiated.  But before this, a temporary wooden building was erected to house the extra classes that could not be squeezed into the Church.






Rev. Paul Ponniah was appointed Headmaster in 1915. By 1917 a sum of $8,000 had been collected or promised towards the erection of a $20,000 building and the Government had approved a grant of $10,000. The Hon. Mr. Eu Tong Sen, O.B.E.  donated $3,000, and Rev. Horley, who had spent many wearisome afternoons in Kampar collecting subscriptions  for the building, was able to report to the Malaya Annual Conference that a fine site had been acquired and building operation would soon commence.  At this time the problem of accommodation had become rather acute as the enrolment had passed the century mark—112, and Tow Kay Teng Kong Chen shifted the Chinese Church to its present site, as he wanted his old
site immediately for mining purposes.
Mr. Paul Ponniah               



            Owing to World War I things did not work out exactly as planned.  In  February 1918 Rev. W.E. Horley reported that as a result of the rise in the cost of building materials, the building, which in ordinary times would have cost $22,000, would cost $32,000.  Plans were altered to a new contract for $24,700 plus $ 2,300 for furniture making a total amount   of $27,000.  A sum of $23,012 had been collected and the rest promised. Rev. W.E. Horley noted that the new building would accommodate 320 pupils and advocated the purchase of an adjoining European house and compound for a Missionary residence.  When this residence was purchased it was used for a few months during the transfer of the school from the old site to its present one.


            Mr. Paul Ponniah, Headmaster since 1915, served in Kampar till 1917 and left for India. During his period the School grew rapidly, and he earned the commendation of Mr. Horley who reported to Conference that he ‘ had done an excellent work ’ in Kampar.  Mr. V. John took over from Mr. Ponniah and acted as Headmaster for slightly over a year.


            The dreams and aspirations of Rev. W.E. Horley and  G.F. Pykett, backed by countless hours of hard work, soon became a reality with the opening of the first brick building built on land donated by the Hon. Mr. Eu Tong Sen. In this effort Mr. Horley was assisted by Mr. Chan Yin Tit, J.P.,  then Chief Clerk of the Mines Department, Kampar.


            The Hon. Mr. R.G.  Watson, then British Resident, performed the opening ceremony, and some idea of the enthusiasm that marked the occasion may be gleaned from contemporary newspaper reports which state that the town was en fete for the event, that special trains brought visitors to Kampar, that the Hon. Mr. Eu Tong San threw open his magnificent residence on Coronation Hill and extended hospitality to all visitors, and that a procession of school children marched through the town headed by the State Band.



            The chief item of the celebration was the First Athletic Sports organized under the direction of Mr. T.W.  Hinch, and the new Principle, the Rev. C. J. Hall who, with Mrs. Hall had arrived in Kampar after the 1919 Malaya Annual Conference.  Rev. C.J. Hall’s Opening Celebration Committee included among others such leading men as Messrs. Lee Tien Siew and Ong Chong Hui. Football fans will note with interest that Mr. Wong Hean Kim, one of the senior members of the Mission staff, then one of the staff of the A.C.S., Ipoh, brought down a football team which beat a local team comfortably. The enrolment stood at 178.


            Rev. C.J. Hall left in 1920 and Mr. T.K. Cheong succeeded him as Headmaster. The latter was an able organizer and administrator, and his 12 year period was noted for its consistent standard of classroom work while the extra-curricular activities consisted of football, basketball and scouting. In 1921 the Kampar Union Epworth League was formed with Mr.Cheong as President.


            Scouting was still in its infancy in Perak, and in 1924 the first Kampar Scout Troop was formed with the late Mr. Lee Chak Pong as Scout Master and the late Mr. Yeoh Cheang Toh and Mr. Chong Wan

Fook as Assistant of Scout Masters. Our present Principal, Mr. V. D. Kuppusamy, Mr. Wong  Hean Kim and the late Mr. Oh Kay Beng
                                            assisted the troop as Honorary Scout Instructors.    
         Mr. T.K. Cheong

            The Scout Troop grew rapidly and many and varied were the distinctions it achieved. In the next 15 years the School won the Latham Shield for signaling open to all troops in Perak seven times and was runner-up once. In 1929, the then District Scout Commissioner of Perak , Mr. H.R. Hertslet, chose the Troop to represent Perak at the Selangor State Jamboree.  The Troop led the Selangor Scouts to the Cenotaph to celebrate Armistice Day and marched at the head of the Selangor Troops to the Jamboree Ground at the Stadium. In his report for 1929 the  District Commissioner cited the  First Kampar Troop for all-round efficiency among scout troops in Perak.


            Minutes of successive Malaya Annual Conference reported favourably on the work being done in Kampar.  In 1923  “ the School was continuing to prosper ” , the next year the Kampar Mission Station was referred to by Mr. Horley  as  “ one of our bright spots ”,  and the able leadership of Mr. T.K. Cheong came in for mention in the Annual Conference Minutes from 1925 to 1928.


            During all the time, while the School was growing rapidly , from 247 in 1922 to 352 in 1928, Mr. Horley concentrated on the work of collecting funds to pay off the debt incurred on the main building. In 1925 he noted that a friend had promised $2,000 for a new wing , and by 1928 plans had  already been drawn for an extension of the building, but these plans did not materialize until eight years later.


            In February , 1933 Mr. T.K. Cheong was transferred to Parit Buntar , and this transfer marked the end of the longest term  of service of any Headmaster in the history of the School. During his tenure of office the school enrolment had increased from 141 to 354, and a number of extra-curricular and religious activities had been introduced.                                            


                                                Mr.Yong Ngim Djin succeeded Mr. T.K. Cheong as Headmaster in  

                                                February,1933, and his stewardship was characterized by all-round

                                                development. Under his capable leadership, the hall-mark  of

                                                which was personal example rather than precept, the School

                                                distinguished itself both in the classroom and on the playing field. It

                                                was an important, interesting and active period marked  by many

                                                outstanding events in the history of the School.


                                                         In 1934 a new tiffin shed and a teachers’ room were erected.

                                                          This year also marked another significant event:
                                                Mr Chong Wah Fook,  District Scout Master                                     

        Mr. Yong Ngim Djin                was decorated with the Medal of Merit

            1933 - 1939                    by  H.E. Sir Cecil Clementi, the High Commissioner, who visited the

                                                School for the occasion.


          In the Perak Inter-A.C.S. Games Competition the School emerged champions of the Hockey Division and runner-up in the whole competition tying with Sitiawan. During this period the school soccer team had the distinction of being the winning team or the runner-up in the Kampar District Football League. In Cricket and Hockey, the School held its own against some of the best school and club teams in the State, and as a climax of the sporting activities came the successful tour of Penang in 1938 by the School Football and Hockey Teams. Further, swimming parties of boys and girls to the Eu Tong Sen Gardens, Chong Sin Swimming Pool or the Talam Mine Swimming Pool were a weekly feature of school life. Three Swimming Carnivals were held during this period.


          The year 1936 marked another milestone in the history of the School. On October 10th, the long awaited $11,000 annexe which had been built under the direction of Mr. Yong Ngim Djin, was opened by the Hon. Mr. Marcus Rex - 17 years after the main building was opened by another British Resident - the Hon. Mr. R.G. Watson.


          Mr. Bell opened the proceedings with a short speech in which he took the opportunity of publicly expressing his thanks to the people of Kampar for their generosity, and the School staff for their hard work, especially Messrs. Lo Wei Kuang and Chong Wan Fook, who had done yeoman service in the collection of funds and the supervision of building operations.


        Mr. Yong Ngim Djin, speaking at this function, mentioned that the occasion was unique, and that the letters A.C.S., stood for the watch-words of the School, namely : “ Ambition, Character, Service. ”



          The year 1936 also saw the publication of the Kacsian,  the magazine of the School. It has appeared regularly ever since, except during the war years and the two years immediately following (1941-1946).


          In 1937, the year of the Coronation of His Majesty the late King GeorgeVI, and H.M. Queen Elizabeth, a School Certificate Class was formed as an experiment, and 12 out of 13 passed the examination. The S.C. Class was continued in 1938 and 1939 when we had over 75% passes, but in 1940 and 1941 it was discontinued on the instructions of the Education Department. The Junior Cambridge Class which was started in 1934 had during its first three years 100% passes, and in the fourth year it had 94% passes. A significant innovation was the organization of classes in Malay and Chinese, and Mr. Ngim Djin himself taught the Malay classes.


          In the field of sports our crowning achievement was the capture of the Too Joo Lim Shield presented to the Champion School of the Perak Inter-Anglo-Chinese Schools Meet.


          With the transfer to Singapore of Mr. Yong Njim Djin on the 10th of May 1939, an eventful period in the history of the School came to an end. Mr. Ngim Djin, during his six years’ headmastership, was responsible for raising considerably the prestige of the School by the distinctions it had achieved in its scholastic work as well as its sports and scouting activities.



          Rev. and Mrs. D.P. Coole, who were appointed

by Bishop Edwin E. Lee at the 1939  Conference

arrived in Kampar in May of that year. They were

the second Missionary couple to be posted to

Kampar, and very soon they endeared themselves

to both pupils and staff with their informal manner,

amiable disposition and infectious enthusiasm. The

high standard the School had achieved in previous

years, both in the classroom and the playing field,

was maintained. Mrs. Coole introduced singing and

music with great vigour and religious education

received added impetus from both Mr.& Mrs. Coole.

At the All - Malayan Institute held in Ipoh in 1940                                    Rev. D.P. Coole

the School Choir earned compliments all round and                                      1939-1941

was acclaimed the best choir of the Methodist schools

in the country.


       The School relay team achieved a unique distinction at the 1939 Malayan Sports held in Kuala Lumpur by winning the Malayan Inter-School Half-Mile Relay.





          Early in 1941, practically every member of the staff joined one of the Passive Defence Services and rallied to the need of the hour, and carried out various duties until they were disbanded on 23rd December. Units of the Malayan Volunteer Infantry occupied the School on the night of 22nd December, 1941, and the career of the A.C.S.  as an educational was interrupted for a period of nearly four years - until liberation came in September,1945.


          From 1942 to the middle of 1944, the school buildings were used by the Japanese Garrison, and in the second half of 1944, a unit of the Indian National Army occupied them until the Japanese surrender. The furniture and equipment were looted or used a firewood, and when liberation came the buildings were left empty and in a badly dilapidated condition. Soon after the liberation in August, 1945, the buildings were occupied for a few weeks by members of the M.P.A.J.A.


          In August 1945, as soon as the liberation forces landed in Malaya, pre-war teachers met under the leadership of Mr. Wong Hean Kim, and decided to make arrangements to re-open the School, but all plans had to be deferred until an advance party of British Troops reaches Kampar a few weeks later.


                                                The School re-opened in October,1945 with Mr. Wong Hean Kim as

                                                Acting Principal, and soon classes from Primary I  to Std. VII were

                                                functioning. The B.M.A. gave a Rehabilitation Loan of $1,420 with

                                                which Mr. Wong Hean Kim carried essential repairs, and furnished the

                                                classrooms with temporary furniture. These were difficult days

                                                because of the large numbers of pupils seeking admission to the

                                                School, the absence of necessary documents and records, over-sized

                                                classes, the lack of text-books both for pupils and teachers, and a

                                                shortage of equipment, but Mr. Wong Hean Kim faced these

difficulties with a great deal of courage and considerable success.



        Mr. Wong Hean Kim

                1945 – 1946


          In January,1947 Mr. Wong Hean Kim was transferred to Sitiawan, and Mr. V.D. Kuppusamy, who had been in service in Kampar in 1918, 1923 and 1924, succeeded him. A widely-travelled and experienced per-war Principal, who had served in Ipoh and elsewhere for over 29 years, soon completed the task of rehabilitating the buildings with a second Government Rehabilitation Loan of $9,900  and a special grant of $6,837.60 from the Methodist Crusade Fund. New furniture were put in, classrooms were decorated, various additional facilities were provided, and the school assumed an appearance never known before, but probably Mr. Kuppusamy’s work in Kampar will be best remembered for the pioneering efforts in the field of audio-visual education, and the enrichment of the curriculum.





       In 1947 the Kacsian was revived after a lapse of seven years, and the magazine has filled a very important place in the life of the School. In the same year Speech Day was inaugurated combined with an Exhibition of Art and Handwork, and this has become an annual feature. A public address system was installed in the Office connected to the school radio and to every class by means of extension Malaya. When the Goh Khoon Buildings were acquired later a separate broadcasting system was installed in these buildings as well. (A copy of Kacsian 1947 was sent to The National Archive.)


         The year 1948 saw the re-opening of the School Certificate Class with 12 pupils. Since then these classes have been small, and sometimes the human material has been below quality, but except for 1950 and 1952 the results have been comparatively good ( 1948 - 83.3% ; 1949 - 92.9% ; 1950 -50% ; 1951 - 94.7% ; 1952 - 57% ).  Since the restoration of the School Certificate Class, 6 pupils have succeeded in obtaining scholarships or bursaries to institutions of higher learning.


         In keeping with modern educational development, a Science Laboratory was established in 1948 with very limited equipment and Science was taught in Stds. VI and VII. Since then the Laboratory has been improved, and now it is housed in a separate building, and it possesses some very up-to-date equipment. In 1950, the School Certificate Class completed the four-year course in three years, and all candidates passed their examination.


         The steadily increasing enrolment caused serious problems of accommodation, but these were partly solved by the leasing of the Goh Khoon property for 3 years. In 1951 a campaign for funds was launched for the purchase of this property. Parents, pupils and teachers co-operated whole-heartedly, and before the end of the year a deposit of $30,000 was paid to the owners of the property towards its purchase price of $70,000/-. With the help of a special grant of $40,000 from Government in January, 1952, the purchase was completed.  Since the acquisition of the property a total $34,974.33 has been spent on alterations, repairs, painting and colour-washing, and now the Goh Khoon Buildings form a very valuable and useful addition to the School, besides providing much-needed facilities for its steady expansion. It is worth noting that the one-acre plot at the back of the property is the only little playground of our own.


       In 1949 authority was obtained from the Education department to build up the School into  a two-stream institution, and Malay was re-introduced from Stds. VI - VIII, but the next year, in keeping the decision of the Federal Legislative Council, this subject was taught from Stds. III - VIII.


       The last six years have been outstanding for the number of school societies organized for the benefit of the pupils, and probably the largest and most useful is the Kinema Club, formed in 1949, which now has a membership of nearly 1,500 (including M.A.S. members.). Through the efforts of this Club a number of film strips and 16mm films have been acquired for the Film Library. Other activities organized during the period are (a) a School Museum (1947) , (b) the 1st Girl Guide Company (1949) , and (c) two Junior Red Cross Units (1951).




         In the short space of six years the Principal has succeeded in (a) restoring the School Certificate Class and keeping it going with comparatively good results ; (b) establishing an up-to-date Science Laboratory ; (c) building a new canteen ; (d) acquiring the Goh Khoon Buildings and renovating them ; (e) equipping the School with all the latest teaching aids ; (f) stimulating interest in art, handwork and needlework ; (g) extending the sports activities so as to enable every pupil to participate in one or more games ; (h) in raising the standard of the School and enabling it to keep abreast of modern educational progress and maintaining not only a high standard of discipline but also a spiritual and moral tone by his inspiring and challenging chapel talks.


          Under Mr. V.D.Kuppusamy’s leadership the School has seen its most rapid advancement in all departments of scholastic activity, for as Mr. R. Sidney, Editor of Young Malayans aptly remarked   “ The personality of the Principal is everywhere ”. An indefatigable worker ,with abundant love for his profession, a strong personality, and wide experience of men and affairs, Mr. V.D. Kuppusamy has made his influence felt in the School, which he has built up from a small town institution to “one of the three best Methodist Schools in the entire country”, as a Mission authority publicly declared

a few years ago.

    Mr. V. D. Kuppusamy  
                                                1947 -  

                                                In concluding this review of the manner in which the School has

                                                discharged its educational and spiritual task during the last 50 years,

                                                according to the world-wide programme of the Methodist Church, we

                                                cannot help feeling that, within the framework of Malayan educational

                                                policy, and inspired by the vision, courage, devotion and faith of the

                                                early pioneers, the School has endeavoured to equip all those who

                                                have passed through its portals not only with knowledge, but a genuine

                                                thirst for knowledge that will enable them to regard education as a life

                                                process ; to develop through games, sports and other extra-curricular

                                                activities a consciousness of a healthy body and a wholesome mind as

                                                a glorification of youth ; and lastly to lay a sound moral and spiritual

                                                foundation that will stand as a bulwark against life’s temptations and  






Source :   The Kacsian, Golden Jubilee Number, Vol. XI, December 1953

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