History of perak

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The Anglo-Chinese School (ACS) in Ipoh is the oldest and one of the most prestigious schools in the state of Perak, Malaysia.

Commonly known among locals as ACS, the school caters to students from Form One to Form Six of the Malaysian education system (13 to 19 years of age). It is one of the few schools in Ipoh which provide Form Six education. The ACS primary school, situated in the same compound, is for students from Standard One to Standard Six (7 to 12 years of age).

The facilities include a swimming pool (one of the firsts for a school in Malaysia, constructed in the 60's), the Teerath Ram indoor badminton stadium (built on a budget of 1 million Dollars in 1974), a gymnasium, an extensive library and computer and science laboratories. There are also two Methodist churches in the school compound, and a kindergarten which is run by the church. The school has many fields which are used for various sporting purposes.

This school recently became famous for its biggest "Rice kolam" feat, which entered the Malaysia Book of Records, and for the largest aluminium structure made from recycled cans, which also entered the Malaysia Book of Records.
Ten years after the founding of the Methodist Mission in Singapore, there in Ipoh on 31 July 1895, a young Englishman, the Rev. E. Horley, who was destined to play a vital role in the enhancement of the education and spiritual life of youth in this country.

A few days after his arrival, on 5 August, Mr. Horley opened the Anglo-Chinese School in a small attap-roofed Malay house adjoining the Police barracks behind the old Land Office which was later demolished to make way for a new million-dollar mosque. Ipoh at that time was no more than a small mining village.

The school was a resuscitation of the first English school in Kinta opened by the Rev. T. W. Stagg in January that year and closed soon after because of his departure from Ipoh in June 1895 on account of his wife's health.

The house in which Mr. Horley established the school was rented from the then Dato Panglima Kinta, Yusuf bin Nasam, and Sir George Maxwell, who in one of his letters described it as being "painted a rich blue with yellow shutters". This is probably the reason why blue and gold were chosen as the School's colours in the mid-nineteen twenties. Mr. Stagg, became Mr. Horley's first assistant teacher and local preacher.

The history of the A.C S. is very closely linked with the history and development of Ipoh which has been described as "the town that tin built". It is perhaps fitting to note that the school was founded just three years after "the great fire of Ipoh in June, 1892 which burned down over half the village, destroying 123 houses". By the time Mr. Horley arrived, Ipoh had become a town, the Ipoh Sanitary Board having been established in 1893. "From the very beginning I found the Perak Government sympathetic and willing to help. I applied for four acres of land for a Church and school and this was given to me on the Lahat Road," according to Mr. Horley as recorded in his Diary.

"I immediately had the jungle and blukar cut down. The swamps were filled in and the ground leveled, and in November, 1895, I commenced building a school-church."

It is interesting to note that just before these two buildings were completed Bishop James M. Thoburn, who was responsible for hosting Mr. Horley from Singapore to Ipoh, himself arrived on a visit to Ipoh on 11 February, 1896. He was accompanied by Messrs. West, Pykett and Curtis and had traveled from Penang to Telok Anson (now Teluk Intan) by a small coasting streamer, the Lady Weld. The train journey from Telok Anson to Ipoh took three-and-a-half hours.

Bishop Thorburn said of his arrival in Ipoh: "As the train began to slow down, Mr. West called me to his window and pointed out a new brick building just nearing completion and said `There is the new Methodist Church'. I was quite surprised to see a tasteful building 72 feet by 30 feet and asked what the cost was expected to be. `About $3,000' was the reply. Noticing another building going up nearby, I asked what it was, and was still more surprised when told it was the mission house. It is to be a comfortable building, and is expected to be ready for occupancy in three months. Truly our young missionary Brother Horley is putting energy into his new work. I was very sorry that this vigorous worker was not at home during our visit."

In his speech at the 65th Anniversary Celebrations in 1960, the then Principal Mr. Teerath Ram said the years 1895 and 1896 were not only most important ones in the history of the A.C.S. Ipoh, but they were important ones for other reasons as well.

"It was in 1895 that the Treaty of Federation was signed uniting Perak, Selangor, Pahang and Negeri Sembilan into the Federated Malay States, duly inaugurated on 1st July, 1896. It was also in 1896 that the first passenger train from Perak to Kuala Lumpur conveyed His Highness the Sultan of Perak to attend the Conference of Chiefs of the Federated Malay States."

The Church, incidentally, is the oldest Methodist building on the Federation of Malaya mainland; and it is of the same age as Bishop Amstutz, who in his younger days served in Ipoh as Pastor and teacher in 1933.

It is also an inescapable fact of history that the Girls' School which was also founded by Mr. Horley - a few weeks after he had started the Boys' School - remained an integral part of the A.C.S. until the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society, after much persuasion and hesitation finally took it over from Mr. Horley.

Even in those slow-moving and leisurely days when it took eight hours to get to Taiping in a "shandrydan" (a light cart on springs), buildings could not keep pace with the growing enrollments of the A.C.S. Ipoh.

Rev. Horley's Story

It was with a sad heart that I left Singapore in July, 1895 in order to come and open an Anglo-Chinese School. I had spent a very happy year-and-a-half in the Anglo-Chinese School, Singapore, and I was sorry to leave that school to come to the jungles of Perak, for Perak at that time was mainly jungle. Not a single rubber tree had been planted, except the few original trees from Kew Gardens that had been planted in Sitiawan village and Kamunting Coffee Estate by Sir Grahame Elphinstone. Except for the tin mines and a few attap villages, the whole country was dense jungle. The new railway had just been opened from Teluk Anson to Ipoh but it did not go beyond. To get to Taiping one had to go in a "shandrydan". The journey then took eight hours.

On my arrival in Ipoh the only place I could get for the opening of the school was a small Malay house adjoining the present Police barracks. I was told that it was impossible to get any boys to come to school, and then the Protector of Chinese as well as the Assistant District Officer urged me not to open a school in Ipoh. But I persevered and four boys duly turned up - two Chinese and two Malays. One of them is the present Panglima Kinta of Perak.

In a few months' time I had sixty boys and the lower part of the Malay house was enclosed as a school room. Some one nicknamed it "The Black Hole of Calcutta". I immediately applied to the Government for four acres of land and this was given to me. On it now stand the Primary buildings, my house and the church. I had a good friend in the late Mr. W. Cowan, who was then Protector of Chinese. With him I approach the leading Chinese miners and they generously subscribed towards building a school. The foundations were laid in November , 1895 and the first school building was completed in May, 1896. I used it as a school for five days a week and for a church on Sundays. My house was built at the same time, a good friend lending me the money. It cost only $1,300. Today, it would cost $8,000 to build a similar house. This shows the high increase in the cost of building in Perak since the olden days. The lower part of my house was used by the Girls' School, which I had started a few weeks after the Boys' School. Miss Towers, the sister of Mr. C. J. Towers, was the first headmistress. In 1898 I erected the present Primary School buildings. The Government gave me the grant and the remainder was subscribed by the public.

In the year 1900, the Boys' School had grown to nearly 200 boys. That year, I went on furlough and Dr. Leuring, a prodigy in languages, speaking ten living languages and able to read another dozen, took my place. Just before leaving, I had started plans for the present Boarding School building and Dr. Leuring saw it built. Dr. D. T. Khong, a well-known Ipoh practitioner, was one of the first boarders. The Day School grew so rapidly that it annexed the Boarding School for class rooms, and it has only just reverted to its original use. The Boarding School under Mr. H. E. Bunn's management now has 39 boys, and has been very successful.

On from my return from furlough in 1901, I went to Kuala Lumpur and founded and built the Methodist Boys' School there.

In 1905, Mr. Foo Choo Choon, one of the most enlightened Chinese towkays in Malaya, built the present Primary Hall and presented it as a gift to the School. I have never met a finer type of a Chinese gentleman than he and it was mainly due to his and Mr. Cheah Chiang Lim's exertions that a monster petition was presented to the Government asking for the suppression of licensed gambling houses.

In the year 1909 I was again reappointed to Ipoh. In 1910 the School had increased so rapidly that I was obliged to erect four attap sheds to be used as class rooms. I approached the Government for $25,000 as a building grant which they granted, and the present main building was commenced in the year 1912. The Hon'ble Mr. Oliver Marks laid the foundation stone on 1 August, 1912. Generous donations were given by the Chinese community and others. The present building was declared open on the 4th April, 1914 by His Excellency Sir Arthur Young. It was a great day and a distinguished company attended. The new building was worthy of the oldest and biggest school in Kinta. It was one of the finest school buildings in the Federated Malay States. In fact the late Chief Inspector of Schools pronounced it the finest school building in the Straits Settlement or Federated Malay States.

Sir Arthur Young in his opening day's speech said that he was glad to be present at the opening of that fine, commodious building and he congratulated the Principal and all concerned. He had always received a kindly welcome whenever he came to Ipoh. He was not always in accord with the views of Ipoh but he heartily agreed with Ipoh in not believing in the saying, "What was good enough for my fore-fathers, was good enough for me." In its mines, and its institutions, and in everything, Ipoh was not only up-to-date but wish to be even more so and he knew of no town which ought to have the motto, "I Lead" more than Ipoh. The Chinese had contributed generously to the new building. It would always be found that the Chinese did so when the object was good.

The Anglo-Chinese Branch Schools in the outstations were opened from the Ipoh School - at Teluk Anson in 1898, Kampar in 1902, and later on in Sitiawan, Tronoh, Gopeng and Tapah. Our Ipoh School is still going forward and we trust that it will continue to grow in usefulness. Hundreds of years ago an old Chinese scholar said, "Education without ethics; education without subordination of pupils to master; of child to parent; or of subject to sovereign; education, above all, soaring in conceit above faith in, and the worship of the Supreme, this is what threatens China." And today it does threaten other nations too? Our school today stands for sound learning, loyalty to the State, honour to parents, ethics, moral training, and faith in God, the fountain of all truth. May its future be bright and prosperous. May the benefactors of the institution find happiness and blessing in the knowledge that their monetary help and assistance have helped thousands to get a good education.

(Extract from Rev. Horley's letter to Dr. L. Proebstel, published in the 1928 Voyager)


ACS, being one of the few elite schools in Ipoh, often considers St. Michael's Institution as its rival, due to the close proximity of both schools, English missionary backgrounds and similar student demographics. Students of both schools usually compete in academic and sporting achievements. Together with Anderson (SMK Anderson Ipoh), they are part of the league of Big 3 premier schools in Ipoh, often being the choice of the cream of the crop.

School Anthem

Not so very long ago
More than hundred years or so
Horley dauntless hero came
Founded our beloved school
Ipoh Anglo-Chinese School
Though it then was new in name
But the banner then unfurled
Now it's known throughout the world
Your country can depend on you
Years we spend in your classrooms
Will help to make us brave and true
To do the right we're not afraid
And we're proud we're the students Of the ACS

Sports Houses

There are 5 sports houses in this school. Students compete for their respective sports houses during the school's annual cross country competition (Malay: Merentas Desa), track and field competition (also known as Sports day), and extracurricular day (Malay: Hari Kokurikulum). Students will train under their sports houses approximately 2 months before the school's annual Sports Day.
The 5 sports houses are named after the school's founding fathers of the school, and famous people in history. These houses are:
  • Horley (Green)
  • Oldham (Red)
  • Eu Tong Sen (Purple)
  • Tagore (Blue)
  • Abdul Aziz (Orange)

Theatre Productions

ACS is famous for its plays which are held at the school auditorium on an annual basis. Here are some of those famous plays.
  • Hamlet
  • Macbeth
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • West Side Story
  • Camelot
  • Fiddler on the Roof
  • South Pacific
  • King and I
  • Fantastics
  • The Phantom Of The Opera 2009
Sourced from http://www.wikipedia.com


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