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> Self-proclaiming Victoria Institution, are they changing the history?

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TSclayton-chew
post Mar 7 2009, 01:24 AM, updated 11y ago

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I would like to know HOW the Ministry of Unity, Arts, Culture and Heritage Malaysia conduct its investigation before giving the VI the world heritage status and WHY VI proclaim themselves as the oldest English school in Malaysia.

Recently Victoria Institution was claim to be the oldest English school in Malaysia, and also granted as World Heritage status. As far as I am concerned, based on the History books of Malaysia, Penang Free School is the oldest English school in Malaysia, and it is as well the oldest school in the South East Asia. Victoria Institution was as though they were changing the history of Malaysia.

As I was reading the news about VI, i found a contradicting statement made by an alumnus of VI.

"The school was also the first English secondary school in the country, was prestigious and had produced important personalities from Sultans, leaders, ministers, corporate figures, politicians to sports luminaries and professionals." said by Safie, an alumnus of VI.

Penang Free School was found by Rev. Sparke Hutchings on October 21st, 1816, on the island of Penang, Malaysia. Its first headmaster was Mr. James Cox 1816-1821. Its original premises on Farquhar Street first housed the Hutchings School, but is now the Penang State Museum. In 1928, the school moved to its current location on Jalan Masjid Negeri (also known as Green Lane). The School received cluster school status from the Malaysian Ministry of Education in 2007

Penang Free School produced many notable people in Malaysia and one of them was:
- Tunku Abdul Rahman, First Prime Minister and founding father of Malaysia.
- Tuanku Syed Putra ibni Almarhum Syed Hassan Jamalullail, the 3rd Yang Di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia.
- Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin, the Raja of Perlis and the 12th Yang Di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia.
- Tan Sri P.Ramlee, Malay actor, director, songwriter and musician.
- Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu, second Chief Minister of Penang.
- Dr. Wu Lien-teh, plague fighter and pioneer in the modernization of China's public health system.
- Tengku Tan Sri Ahmad Rithauddeen, President of the United Nations Association of Malaysia (UNAM)
- Danny Quah, Prominent economist and Head of Department of Economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
- Tan Sri Elyas Omar, First Datuk Bandar of Kuala Lumpur

A few letters were sent regarding this matter to the Star:

QUOTE
I refer to the articles “It’s back to Victoria Institution from now on” (The Star, Feb 15) and also one published on your website, “Victoria Institution gets back its name”.

I wish to point out that Victoria Institution is not the oldest English secondary school in Malaysia. It was reported that VI was founded in 1893. Penang Free School, founded in 1816, is the oldest school in South-East Asia.

Secondly, I would also like to take this opportunity to seek clarification about names of schools and National Heritage status.

Since the Minister of Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage, who happens to be an old boy of VI, has declared that the school can now revert to the old English name following the awarding of the National Heritage status, it would also be appropriate for the Minister to also consider other world-renowned and historically rich schools in the country, such as Penang Free School, to be accorded similar status.

After all, Penang Free School is officially recognised as the oldest school in the region and had produced the third and 12th Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, a Chief Minister of Penang, the first Mayor of Kuala Lumpur, the current Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and many other notable personalities.

OLD FREES 99,

Oxford, Britain.


QUOTE
I REFER to the letter “Accord Penang Free School heritage status too” (The Star, Feb 18).

I truly agree with the writer that Penang Free School is the oldest school in South-East Asia and Malaysia.

Founded in 1816, Penang Free School is a school of excellence and tradition. In fact, the term ‘Free’ in the name of PFS is very meaningful because it means that children of all backgrounds can attend the school. Moreover, PFS had received recognition from the Malaysian Book of Records as the oldest school in Malaysia.

PFS has produced many notable figures. Among them was the late Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first Prime Minister of Malaysia. More importantly, there is a two-storey building in Penang Free School which is named after Tunku, that is Kutub Khanah Tunku.

The cost of construction of the library was largely funded by the Tunku who donated $100,000 for the construction of the library. And he also officiated at the opening of the library.

Besides that, PFS has also produced many achievers in various fields. Among them are Tunku Abdul Rahman (politics), Tan Sri P. Ramlee (arts), Datuk Dr Anwar Fazal (consumerism), Dr Wu Lien Teh (medicine), S.M. Zainul Abidin (education) and Datuk Eddy Choong (sports).

Therefore, I urge the Ministry of Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage to accord PFS heritage status as a recognition to PFS, an alma mater which has produced great people for our nation.

LEE SIU MING,
President, PFS Historical Society (2007/2008), Penang.


QUOTE
I REFER to the letters “Accord Penang Free School heritage status too” (The Star, Feb 18) and “PFS has done much for the nation” (The Star, Feb 19).

While I would like to first congratulate Victoria Institution (VI) on their winning the honour of being accorded heritage status, I would be failing my alma mater – Penang Free School – if I sat back and kept my views only to myself.

It will be very interesting to know the terms of reference and criteria on which the authorities in the Unity, Culture, Arts And Heritage Ministry based the selection of VI.

For the record and information of fellow Malaysians who may not know much of PFS, allow me to highlight a few facts that should convince any authority to favourably consider PFS as a “national heritage”.

>Penang Free School was founded in 1816 – even before Stamford Raffles (1819) and is the oldest school in Malaysia and yes, South-East Asia. Education was provided free of charge for young children during the very early days.

>PFS can proudly boast of having the most number of Queen’s scholars in the country, including Dr Wu Lien Teh and Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu who was a former Chief Minister of Penang.

>PFS is the alma mater of two Yang Di Pertuan Agongs – the Raja of Perlis and his late father. Our Bapa Malaysia Tunku Abdul Rahman was also a student of the school.

>Artistes? We have Tan Sri P. Ramlee, Ahmad Daud, world renowned pianist Dennis Lee and many others.

> Sports? We can mention the Choong brothers (Eddie and David) in badminton, Jimmy Yeoh and Allan Oh in motor rallies, just to name a few. Former Datuk Bandar of Kuala Lumpur Tan Sri Elyas Omar shone as a leader for our badminton and football teams while Dr Wu Lien Teh did PFS and Malaysia proud with his service in medicine during the plague in China.

We would like to urge the ministry to consider according heritage status to PFS and also ask the Education Ministry to revert the name to Penang Free School.

WAN RAMLI MOHD NOOR,

Petaling Jaya.


I did many research and investigation to about Penang Free School to obtain evidence to prove my statement right before posting this thread to the eyes of many people.

From what i heard, the ministry of unity, culture, arts and heritage Malaysia happens to be the ex-student of VI and his son is currently enrolling his studies in VI.
b00n
post Mar 7 2009, 04:45 PM

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Topic approved with a short note from RBR.
QUOTE(RBR @ Mar 7 2009, 03:58 PM)
It looks ok to me.... it is presented properly - the question is how are heritage sites determined.
*
Whereby we can further discuss on how or what is being used as a benchmark to determine a certain heritage site.
Do we all agree with the current ones or otherwise like the above post by TS.

Would also appreciate if someone has any information on how one is being selected to be posted here for information sharing.

Cheers!
iseenoevil
post Mar 7 2009, 05:53 PM

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It seems to me that why VI was accorded national heritage status is because it is definitely one of the most elite school in Malaysia.
And, yes, I do agree that if VI could be given such an honour, other schools like Penang Free School or St. Xavier's Institution (my alma mater) should be given due recognition.

St. Xavier's Institution began in 1787 as a Malay language medium school in a hut in a jungle clearing.
In 1825, as an English medium school, it was named St. Francis Xavier's Free School. On April 20, 1825, the De La Salle Brothers took over the management of the school and its 80 pupils. In 1857 it was relocated in a building of 30x50 metres on Farquhar Street.

Moreover, St.Xavier Institution was one of the sites in the City of George Town which was awarded the Unesco World Heritage City status on 7th July 2008. ( The Star, 7th July 2008)

My alma mater is the first of the many La Sallians school in South East Asia, and is affiliated with other elite schools such as St. Michael's Institution in Ipoh and St. Joseph's Institution in Singapore.

It is also the ONLY school in Malaysia to have a Rev. Brother as Principle, and is due to retire in June 2009. After his retirement, this marks the end of the brother directors as the principle of missionary schools in Malaysia.

SXI's notable alumni:

Royals:

~ Kapitan Chung Thye Phin - son of Kapitan Chung Keng Quee and last Kapitan China of Perak
~ Y.M. Tuan Syed Safi ibni al-Marhum Syed Alawi Jamal ul-Lail - Raja of Perlis Indra Kayangan (1897 - 1904)
~ H.H. Raja Tuan Syed Alwi ibni Al-Marhum Raja Syed Safi Jamal ul-Lail - Raja of Perlis Indra Kayangan (1904 - 1943)
~ H.H. Raja Tuan Syed Hamza ibni al-Marhum Syed Safi Jamal ul-Lail - Raja of Perlis Indra Kayangan (1943 - 1945)

Politicians:

~ Karpal Singh - DAP National Chairman
~ Tan Sri Wong Pow Nee - the first Chief Minister of Penang
~ Tan Sri Dato' Seri Nor Mohamad Yaakaop - Finance Minister II, Malaysia
~ Kedah-born Tun Haji Abdul Daim bin Zainuddin - Minister of Finance
~ Datuk Wong Kam Hoong - Deputy Heritage Minister

Others:
~ Tan Sri Dato Justice Michael Chang Min Tat - Federal Court judge and Commissioner of Law Revision and Law Reform
~ Dato' Ng Poh Tip - former Editor-in-chief of the Star Publications
~ Wong Sulong - former Editor-in-chief of the Star Publications
~ Michael Aeria - Group Chief Editor for the Star Publications
~ Wong Chun Wai - Deputy Group Chief Editor for the Star Publications
~ Reggie Lee - cartoonist and satirist

DarkNite
post Mar 7 2009, 06:07 PM

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QUOTE(b00n @ Mar 7 2009, 04:45 PM)
Would also appreciate if someone has any information on how one is being selected to be posted here for information sharing.
Very simple. No need rocket science. Ini Bolehland. As Sir Winston Churchill puts it ....
History is written by Victoria..err...Victors.
Aoshi_88
post Mar 7 2009, 06:30 PM

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But what victor? Who is the victor? These are schools of education, not something for people to massage and pad their egos over. If PFS is THE OLDEST, then so be it. This issue smacks more than anything else.

On another note, VI, SXI, PFS, MCKK and St John's(among what is considered the creme de la creme of schooling) have churned out many of whom we know today as well-known politicians, property developers, sultans and scholars.

But what has become of them(the schools) today?

This post has been edited by Aoshi_88: Mar 7 2009, 06:30 PM
DarkNite
post Mar 7 2009, 07:13 PM

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BTW Today was the PIGB meeting for Penang Free school. I wonder was this issue raised? or the PFS PIGB knows better than to query this heritage nonsense?
paultantk
post Mar 7 2009, 09:43 PM

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Well firstly, did VI ever claim to be the first English school in Malaysia? I was from VI and we never ever tried to lay claim to that fact. It could be just a blunder on the reporter's behalf or that Safie person, and the reporter did not bother to double check.

This post has been edited by paultantk: Mar 7 2009, 09:43 PM
chilicandy
post Mar 8 2009, 01:24 AM

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If its a mistake, someone must put them correct.

I am not from that era, so there's no arguments from my side.
Probably what i felt is that, Victoria Institutions is the oldest english school in KL ? biggrin.gif They might have left out the "KL" there....

beatlesalbum
post Mar 8 2009, 04:32 AM

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I think the UNESCO world body should decide on this. Lay down the facts and present to them and leave it to their books to decide


DarkNite
post Mar 8 2009, 06:54 AM

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QUOTE(chilicandy @ Mar 8 2009, 01:24 AM)
If its a mistake, someone must put them correct.

I am not from that era, so there's no arguments from my side.
Probably what i felt is that, Victoria Institutions is the oldest english school in KL ?  biggrin.gif  They might have left out the "KL" there....
Quite right about 'someone' must put that information correct, BUT it aint gonna happen!
Tutup satu mata, semua nya OK!
I stand to be corrected.

QUOTE(paultantk @ Mar 7 2009, 09:43 PM)
Well firstly, did VI ever claim to be the first English school in Malaysia? I was from VI and we never ever tried to lay claim to that fact. It could be just a blunder on the reporter's behalf or that Safie person, and the reporter did not bother to double check.
Hey, would be nice if the VI old boys do some justice to this blunder, possible? hmm.gif
riz0n3
post Mar 8 2009, 10:03 AM

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well i was from VI as well.. and we never claimed that VI is the oldest school in Malaysia or the region. We all know that there are other schools in this country which is over 100 years old. There must be some mistakes in the report by the reporter. Perhaps they dont make enough research on this. But the main thing is that we from VI knows that we are not from the oldest school in Malaysia but one of the oldest school in Malaysia. there many other old schools and i congrats VI for receiving the status. there must be a certain standard of criteria to considered before granting the status to any schools or places. i dont think the age alone would be strong enough to be considered as national heritage. if that the case, many other places or building can claim for national heritage as long as they are the oldest and the 1st in the country.. VI holds more than just an old school. theres a lot of historical stories lies in VI. the school hall was the place where Japanese surrendered to the British during world war. the ceremony was done in that very hall. the building was used by the japanese before that. all this historic incident must be counted as well. im sure other schools have their own historical stories as well and im not saying that VI has the greatest history of all but if the ministry can grant the status to VI im sure they can grant to other schools as well. VI maybe the 1st to receive the status but definitely will not be the last. we all came from such a great school and we should be proud to come from that school. smile.gif
iseenoevil
post Mar 8 2009, 12:47 PM

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I believe politics have something to do with it. Out of the many national heritage status given out throughout the country, there was not a single honour given to Penang, much less mention the oldest school in Malaysia which was located in Penang.
paultantk
post Mar 8 2009, 02:28 PM

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QUOTE(iseenoevil @ Mar 8 2009, 12:47 PM)
I believe politics have something to do with it. Out of the many national heritage status given out throughout the country, there was not a single honour given to Penang, much less mention the oldest school in Malaysia which was located in Penang.
*
Politics of course, the minister fella himself was a VI old boy. I suggest all of us old boys from various schools don't bother to bicker over this, its only for the politicians own entertainment.
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post Mar 8 2009, 02:37 PM

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QUOTE(clayton-chew @ Mar 7 2009, 02:24 AM)
I would like to know HOW the Ministry of Unity, Arts, Culture and Heritage Malaysia conduct its investigation before giving the VI the world heritage status and WHY VI proclaim themselves as the oldest English school in Malaysia.

*
And since when World Heritage Site status can be conferred by the Malaysian Government ?

We did not proclaim ourselves as the oldest English school in Malaysia. The media did.
V12Kompressor
post Mar 8 2009, 09:38 PM

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Oldest in KL, yes. Oldest in malaysia, NO. Best school in town? NO.
All only "indah khabar dari rupa".

As for TS's rumour that Shafie's son is studying in VI, that's true. In fact his another son is in the same batch with me too and we graduated on 2006.

YTL used to have substantial amount of influence in VI hierarchy, but two years ago, something happened within the PTA and they resigns from all PTA posts and had their children transferred to other schools.

This post has been edited by V12Kompressor: Mar 8 2009, 09:42 PM
Grif
post Mar 9 2009, 12:56 AM

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I wish to point out that even my old school in Kuching, SMK St. Thomas is older than this "old boy", being founded in 1848. Yes it is a missionary school once.

Heck even St. Joseph is founded on 1888.
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post Mar 9 2009, 11:49 PM

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personally i see the whole debate centering around nothing more than either a) a slip of the tongue or b) genuine ignorance tempered by school spirit on behalf of the minister. vi certainly isn't the oldest school in malaysia, but perhaps it is noteworthy to point out, that it is perhaps the oldest non-mission school in malaysia.

and yeah, im an old boy too.
silverv
post Mar 10 2009, 12:02 AM

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as far as i noe, VI's band is one of the oldest bands in Malaysia n SEA. thts about hw much i noe of it.

n since sum1 said tht thr is a minister's son studying thr, i wouldnt b surprise tht the minister wil put more money into the skool.

n i second RBR's quesiton: how are heritage sites determined?
TC_Boy
post Mar 22 2009, 05:15 PM

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QUOTE(riz0n3 @ Mar 8 2009, 10:03 AM)
well i was from VI as well.. and we never claimed that VI is the oldest school in Malaysia or the region. We all know that there are other schools in this country which is over 100 years old. There must be some mistakes in the report by the reporter. Perhaps they dont make enough research on this. But the main thing is that we from VI knows that we are not from the oldest school in Malaysia but one of the oldest school in Malaysia. there many other old schools and i congrats VI for receiving the status. there must be a certain standard of criteria to considered before granting the status to any schools or places. i dont think the age alone would be strong enough to be considered as national heritage. if that the case, many other places or building can claim for national heritage as long as they are the oldest and the 1st in the country..  VI holds more than just an old school. theres a lot of historical stories lies in VI. the school hall was the place where Japanese surrendered to the British during world war. the ceremony was done in that very hall. the building was used by the japanese before that. all this historic incident must be counted as well. im sure other schools have their own historical stories as well and im not saying that VI has the greatest history of all but if the ministry can grant the status to VI im sure they can grant to other schools as well. VI maybe the 1st to receive the status but definitely will not be the last. we all came from such a great  school and we should be proud to come from that school.  smile.gif
*
I concur. VI is not just an old school. Important historical events happened there thus making it unique. BBGS was also 100 years old and yet was torn down to build The Pavillion. Why so? Because no important historical events happened there.

This post has been edited by TC_Boy: Mar 22 2009, 05:18 PM
hazairi
post Mar 23 2009, 02:02 AM

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I can't believe my ex-school which is Penang Free School didn't get heritage status.
It was opened in 1816.
Maybe it didn't get coz PFS location was later moved.
selenium
post Mar 23 2009, 03:38 AM

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wow so many La salle-ians were offended because of the VI status.

neways we la salle-ians are proud of our schools and thats the fact

no doubt PFS is the oldest but if VI old boys control more power they can say what ever that want
TC_Boy
post Mar 23 2009, 09:55 AM

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QUOTE(hazairi @ Mar 23 2009, 02:02 AM)
I can't believe my ex-school which is Penang Free School didn't get heritage status.
It was opened in 1816.
Maybe it didn't get coz PFS location was later moved.
*
I guess if more UMNO High council members studied in PFS then PFS would receive it too. I was very surprised to learn that it is only now that VI received the status and PFS still has yet to received it. doh.gif


Added on March 23, 2009, 9:57 am
QUOTE(selenium @ Mar 23 2009, 03:38 AM)
wow so many La salle-ians were offended because of the VI status.

neways we la salle-ians are proud of our schools and thats the fact

no doubt PFS is the oldest but if VI old boys control more power they can say what ever that want
*
What's so special about La Selle? PFS and VI certainly deserves it.

This post has been edited by TC_Boy: Mar 23 2009, 09:57 AM
samuraikacang
post Mar 23 2009, 10:41 AM

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I don't think the current building of PFS would get heritage status since it was only build in 1920's but PFS is the oldest english school in the country and South East Asia (and I'm very proud of it since its my alma mater)

Well PFS used to produced UMNO Top Brass but now children of PFS would rather stay away from politics at least I can say that for my behalf

PFS will be 200 in 2016.

This post has been edited by samuraikacang: Mar 23 2009, 10:42 AM
hazairi
post Mar 23 2009, 11:10 AM

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QUOTE(samuraikacang @ Mar 23 2009, 10:41 AM)
I don't think the current building of PFS would get heritage status since it was only build in 1920's but PFS is the oldest english school in the country and South East Asia (and I'm very proud of it since its my alma mater)

Well PFS used to produced UMNO Top Brass but now children of PFS would rather stay away from politics at least I can say that for my behalf

PFS will be 200 in 2016.
*
Exactly. Maybe PFS didn't get coz it didn't use the same building since it was first built..
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post Mar 23 2009, 11:51 AM

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QUOTE(hazairi @ Mar 23 2009, 11:10 AM)
Exactly. Maybe PFS didn't get coz it didn't use the same building since it was first built..
*
BTW, Penang Free School has many races as principal including a `mamak`
ketonazole
post Mar 23 2009, 03:18 PM

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WOW @All the La Sallians against VI.
But I guess St.John's Inst (SJI) crown it all, being VI's arch-rival.

It was kind of unfair that the government would, particularly confer the status to VI only, when many others deserved it as well.
While its true VI had its historical significance, other schools do so, as well. SJI for example,other then those mentioned in the posts before, had produced many great figures of Malaysia. (sadly (or proudly), including our controversial PM-in waiting)

I can only speculate that VI was chosen for more 'nationalist' reasons. PFS and La Sallian schools were all established by the westerners for all citizens, whereas VI was established by the gov't to cater for the Elite Class children.
selenium
post Mar 24 2009, 02:36 AM

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QUOTE(ketonazole @ Mar 23 2009, 03:18 PM)
WOW @All the La Sallians against VI.
But I guess St.John's Inst (SJI) crown it all, being VI's arch-rival.

It was kind of unfair that the government would, particularly confer the status to VI only, when many others deserved it as well.
While its true VI had its historical significance, other schools do so, as well. SJI for example,other then those mentioned in the posts before, had produced many great figures of Malaysia. (sadly (or proudly), including our controversial PM-in waiting)

I can only speculate that VI was chosen for more 'nationalist' reasons. PFS and La Sallian schools were all established by the westerners for all citizens, whereas VI was established by the gov't to cater for the Elite Class children.
*
although i so wanna agree with you(la sallian my self)

but if they wan to recognize by elite class they would do so with the malay collage in kuala kangsar
diwant
post Mar 25 2009, 02:39 AM

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Penang Free School = 1816
Sek. Keb. Sg. Gelugor = 1826

Both are in penang. Both are more than 100 years old. What recognition they get?

Sigh... doh.gif doh.gif
hazairi
post Mar 25 2009, 02:41 AM

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QUOTE(diwant @ Mar 25 2009, 02:39 AM)
Penang Free School = 1816
Sek. Keb. Sg. Gelugor = 1826

Both are in penang. Both are more than 100 years old. What recognition they get?

Sigh... doh.gif  doh.gif
*
I think the heritage status is based on the building.
The PFS building and location now is not the same as the building when it first built in 1816.
lalachong
post Apr 3 2009, 09:55 AM

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I am ex victorian... and we were thought in Form 1 by our seniors that VI is not the oldest school in Malaysia.... during orientation...
and i believe all the victorians are aware of this from day 1...

the orientation is a traditional thing and memories from it are imprinted in our(VI boys) minds, but i am not sure if there still is now...

besides TS forum title "Self Proclaiming Victoria Institution" is also a mistake?

we do not self proclaim that we are the oldest school.

TQVM.

BTW,

FYI, the original VI building is also not the current VI building... The old building was located near the Dang Wangi Traffic Police Station...

I would think it is a heritage building because of the event on Japanese occupation and subsequent withdrawal pact signed in the VI hall...

This post has been edited by lalachong: Apr 3 2009, 09:59 AM
snipersnake
post Apr 11 2009, 12:19 PM

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well, didnt thought I find this here.

I am a Victorian, class of 97.

VI never made any argument about it being the oldest school in Malaysia. As simple as that.

Yes Shapie Apdal ( this slowpoke was a Victorian doh.gif) and his sons are/were in VI. But the work of getting that status began during my schooling days.

Aside from the historical fact that VI was the place Japanese soldiers surrendered, VI also witnessed many historical events. Hell, even the Sidek brothers, our beloved Mokhtar Dahari (his son was a John laugh.gif) were from VI. Many more (including that snake Rafidah Aziz doh.gif)

Do you guys know, when VI moved to High Street (its current building), the land where Stadium Merdeka is now was VI's land? And the school governance gave it to government (during Tunku's time if I remembered it correctly) to set up a stadium there? And how many people died in VI resisting Japanese invasion? And during the 30s and 40s, VI was one of the flood camp in KL.

One thing about VI, it was never a missionary school. It was established using donation from the kind people of Kuala Lumpur. Thats why, a lot of Malayan people, regardless of their faith joined it. My grandad was a Victorian, my dad was and I was too. Actually, one of the reasons of VI having its tattoo was to entertain KL residents who generously donated for her establishment. That and our VICC Band is now a world class band, can Xavier boys say the same?Not to brag, but personally for me, these qualities made VI achieve that status.

Oh yeah, in May VI will have its Tattoo again, celebrating its VICC Band's 100 years. See you guys there.

 

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