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ACS Ipoh - A Heritage In History

Updated on February 12, 2012

ACS Ipoh - Main Building in the 60s

ACS Ipoh - Main Building in the 60s
ACS Ipoh - Main Building in the 60s

When I first started my schooling life in ACS, short for the Anglo-Chinese School, in Ipoh, a town (now a city) in Perak, a State in Malaysia. It was unknown to me at that time, that this school already had a history of about 60 years, At that age, I was just 6 years and 7 months to be exact when I first set my eyes to be in Primary 1, as it was called in Malaya and known then. School was not exactly new to me, since I attended 2 years of Kindergarten or pre-school before started by the Salvation Army then. Being such a young child, I did not ask why I had to attend pre-school, and neither do I know what kind of questions to ask my parents about why I was sent there – the most probable reason is to get rid of me in the daytime (or at the very least in the mornings from Mondays to Fridays of the week), since I have another 3 younger siblings my mother had to attend to. Well it made no difference to me, since there were new toys and friends to play with in the Kindergarten apart from the meals, probably milk and biscuits (cannot really remember what I had those days).

Not to digress from the original subject of this hub, which is the School I had to attend for the next 11 years.


ACS Ipoh Founder - Reverend W.E. Horley
ACS Ipoh Founder - Reverend W.E. Horley
ACS Ipoh - Tablet remembering Reverend W.E. Horley
ACS Ipoh - Tablet remembering Reverend W.E. Horley

Looking back, we did not realize how lucky we were to be part of a great history of the School, and do not really appreciate the school song, the lyrics of which were written about its founder, Reverend W.E. Horley, in the 1890s and how the School started and how important it was.

This was also the first place I get to know so many new friends then, and made lasting friendships until now, which we managed, and over the past 2 years, reconnected and now keeping in touch, via emails and Facebook, a platform we use for communication, even when some of us have migrated to other countries as far as a 20 hour flight time.

I seem to be digressing, but I am not, as we are part of the history of the School now, and nothing can change that.


ACS Ipoh - Swimming Pool
ACS Ipoh - Swimming Pool

We have a lot of firsts – the first to have its own Swimming Pool, which was a big thing then, although it is only half the length of the Olympic sized Pool. We, the students, then had to put in a lot more effort than most people do nowadays, as we need to get donations for building the Swimming Pool, which was probably considered as part of the School Building fund. The school had to raise its own money for such projects, and so we did not just ask for donations for the sake of asking. We staged theatrical plays, following what Shakespeare wrote, like MacBeth, Midsummer’s Night Dream, Julio Caesar, Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, etc. Staging the plays also helped the students in the final year of Secondary School, where students take English Literature as part of the curriculum of studies. Although some of us (me included) did not really enjoy school life then, we have since learned how to appreciate what we were taught, especially the discipline – this the next thing which I will get into.

Discipline was a big thing then, and we had a Discipline Master who kept us in line, of course, we did not like him, what with his stern looking face and all that. We even gave him a nick name, “Lo Mo”, in literal translation? “Old Hair”, whatever that means, and who started it, I don’t exactly know or when the name started – God Bless His Soul!

Well, we turned out ok, none of us got into the Police Hall of Fame for criminals, nothing which will shame the School name. I admit that we all have our reservations on some of the disciplinary action he meted out to us then, like we could not find anyone of us who was not caned by him, whether in private or in public.  How could this be, especially when almost all of us were 'angels' or trying to be one even when we were caught being mischievous. Comparing with the advancement of Human Rights nowadays, he would not have survived. Still, we only had admiration for the man, even after we left our alma mater – a character we could not forget.

Anglo-Chinese School, Ipoh had all the facilities to make us proud, and we had more than other schools in the same Town. Other than the Swimming Pool, which came in the middle of our schooling years, we had a good Library, a School Hall, a Canteen, which we called a ‘Tuck Shop’ those days, the various Science laboratories (Physics, Chemistry and Biology labs), the Gym, the playing fields for all the necessary sports, including Cricket, and of course Athletics. The School produced some Olympians, if I can call them that, mainly in hockey and swimming where we had representatives in some of the events for the Olympics then.

ACS Ipoh - Main Building 2010
ACS Ipoh - Main Building 2010
ACS Ipoh - The Wesley Methodist Church
ACS Ipoh - The Wesley Methodist Church
ACS Ipoh - Old School Crest
ACS Ipoh - Old School Crest
ACS Ipoh - New School Crest
ACS Ipoh - New School Crest
ACS Ipoh - Walled up
ACS Ipoh - Walled up
ACS Ipoh - School Library
ACS Ipoh - School Library

The School actually started in 1895, in not as elaborate the circumstances as the photo depicts, but sometime in 1914, the Main building was built, and is still standing today. The School started as a Missionary School – from the Wesley Methodist Church, to be exact, so all of us from the era of the 50s and 60s are familiar with the Bible, irrespective of what religious faiths we are now in, partly thanks to our Discipline Master, as non attendance of Church Services on Fridays will warrant a visit to his office for some sort of action to correct us to be in the "right path".

The Methodist Church, still in existence today, was built at the same time of the Main Building of the School, and can be considered synonymous – looking at the compound of the School today, it is extremely sad to note the division, similar to that of the former ‘Berlin Wall’ dividing both East and West Berlin. Even the School Crest, which we so proudly wear throughout our schooling days, had changed, and why we asked? Well, the old crest show a cross and it is not necessary for me to explain the circumstances on why it was removed, unless you do not know the country of where this School resides.

Another disappointing building which was recently pointed out to me, was the Library. It was our pride and joy during our schooldays, and I can still remember the declaration of the ‘New’ Library and how proud our Principal was to announce that. We had the books in the Library, be they fiction or otherwise, being rented out to the students of our days, and the Librarian on duty will keep the necessary records on who rented and when returned. Failure to return will definitely be referred to the Disciplinary Master for action, and late returns will generate a fine, which probably will populate the Library fund then.

We found out, albeit abit late, that the Library is currently in its poorest state, and hardly manage – definitely the pride and joy has long gone. Some of us, who visited the School Library as late as August 2010, found out the poor condition the Library is in, and that even some of our names were still on record for some of the books there – cannot really imagine that in the space of more than 40 years, no new entries had been entered as borrowers for those books since. It is either that the age of computers has caught up where nobody physically read books, or that the Library is of no more importance to the current students of the School, or that it is no longer being promoted as a place to visit.

There are a lot more things I can write about the school, the everlasting memories it has brought to a lot of us for the time we spent there. But the most important of all is, the School, Anglo-Chinese School or ACS Ipoh is still not considered a Heritage Site to be preserved as part of the notable History in Malaysia. Why? Only those in the political arena can answer that. As for us, especially me, I am proud to have been a student of this great School, and having a history to back it up with its Main Building still standing today, and which should have been a Heritage Site in the History of Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia. We are still hopeful that one day, it will be declared as such, hopefully in my lifetime, but until then, we still make visits to our alma mater and organize our regular reunions with a visit, wherever possible, to the School we grew up in and proud to be part of its History, and which will remained forever in our hearts and the rest of our lives, until either amnesia or dementia or alzheimer sets in - hopefully not!

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    • profile image

      Nadarajah Jaganathan 

      6 years ago

      I left ACS Ipoh in 1961 after completing my Fifth Form. I will be attending the ACS/MGS Alumni D&D ON THE 4TH AUG. I hope to catch up with my former classmates.

    • profile image

      shanil kumar 

      6 years ago

      nice site. I left in 1980. sad to read about the Library.

      I loved the place. I was also a hostelite, with the fierce Mr Brian to keep us in line. I enjoyed my time in this school, and reading your article was nice.

    • telltale profile imageAUTHOR

      telltale 

      7 years ago

      Velayuthan, thanks for dropping by... wow, Class of 1953.. I was in Class of 64, some of the names you mentioned I know of, but some I don't... I think it is Low Chooi Beng you mean, not Low Beng Choo, pardon the correction. As far as I know, The Voyager still comes out each year, from what I know the last time I visited the school 2 years ago. Will be visiting this coming Saturday, to get confirmation on the publication of the Voyager.

    • profile image

      Velayuthan 

      7 years ago

      Class of 1953.Mr Keselring was the Principal.Brings to memory teachers like Low Beng Choo, D.R. Daniel,Dara Singh Dumy,Balagopal, Paul,Miss Lee,Ling Dung Sing ( Hope the spelling is correct )Does the Voyager still come out each year?

    • telltale profile imageAUTHOR

      telltale 

      7 years ago

      @mecheshier, thank you for dropping by.

    • mecheshier profile image

      mecheshier 

      7 years ago

      What an inspiring artcle. So much wonderful information. Thank you for such a great Hub.

    • telltale profile imageAUTHOR

      telltale 

      7 years ago

      @Ingenira, thanks for reading my hub. There are a couple of old schools which have been declared as heritage sites, but not the one I attended, which is the oldest school in Ipoh, Perak. Makes me think that even naming heritage sites seem to be politically indulged, or that, I fear the worst in that those people do not understand the meaning of the word. Either way, it's a total disappointment that my former school has not been declared one, until now.

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 

      7 years ago

      I like the first photo, and the organized, smooth flow of the write-up.

      This hub will definitely bring about the nostalgic feelings to many who studied and grew up there.

      Just curious, there are many old schools in Malaysia, are there any that has been declared as heritage site ?

      You guys are certainly so blessed to have the swimming pool!

    • telltale profile imageAUTHOR

      telltale 

      7 years ago

      @Joshua, thanks for visiting... the reason why I wrote this hub is because the School is not appreciated by the authorities, who, I think, may not be part of the School's history, and that is perhaps an 'oversight'? This School, in particular, should be part of The Heritage in Malaysia, but sad to say it is still not so...

    • profile image

      Joshua Anantham 

      7 years ago

      I'm a present student of this great institution. Pursuing Upper Six. Been here since Primary One. It is by the dedication and sacrifices of all ACS-ians over the generations, be they teachers or students, that the glory of the school is still intact..and still producing men and women worthy of society.

    • telltale profile imageAUTHOR

      telltale 

      8 years ago

      @twentyfive: memories like these are difficult to come by, and we treasure them, especially those of us who grew up together in the same school - we now have an alumni of more than 90 currently, half of which are actively interacting in FB and email.

    • twentyfive profile image

      twentyfive 

      8 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your precious school and its precious memories :) Looking forward to visit Malaysia

    • telltale profile imageAUTHOR

      telltale 

      8 years ago

      Thanks KoffeeKlatch for stopping by and glad you like the hub too.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Great pictures and wonder write-up. I enjoyed it.

    • telltale profile imageAUTHOR

      telltale 

      8 years ago

      Thanks, einron, for your visit to my hub. Ahh... your salary deduction was not exactly a voluntary contribution, and I can safely say that we were not so proud of Mr. Ram then, as being the only School having a Swimming Pool. On hindsight, we have to give Mr. Ram that bit of respect for his foresight. :)

    • einron profile image

      einron 

      8 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

      Glad that you wrote about the history of the school. I remembered when I taught there for five years, the principal persuaded all the teachers to contribute a month's salary towards the Swimming Pool Fund. A month's salary was a lot of money. We had no choice in the matter for it was compulsory, and money was deducted from our salary. Thankfully, I learnt to swim in the pool. No other school in Ipoh had a swimming pool. Neither the government schools nor the Catholic schools had a swimming pool, but our Methodist school. The pupils and staff were proud of it. Thank the principal, Mr. Teerath Ram for his insight in building the pool.

    • profile image

      Chi Mien 

      8 years ago

      "Comparing with the advancement of Human Rights nowadays, he would not have survived."

      Haha, it's fun reading too.

    • telltale profile imageAUTHOR

      telltale 

      8 years ago

      Thanks Mentalist for visiting and commenting, it's what we cherished.

    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 

      8 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      A nicely intimate look into your heritige Telltale;)

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