Happy 200th Birthday Penang Free School: Fortis Atque Fidelis

October 21, 2016

Happy 200th Birthday Penang Free School: Fortis Atque Fidelis

Image result for The Penang Free School

The PFS Class of 1959 and I offer our sincere congratulations on the occasion of the 200th Anniversary of the founding on October 21, 1816 of our alma mater today. Owing to heavy commitments at The University of Cambodia in Phnom Penh, I am unable to be with you in Green Lane to join the celebrations.

Image result for The Penang Free School

I was indeed fortunate to have been an Old Boy of the School, which gave me a good beginning and for that I thank my teachers, many of whom have passed on, for their hard work and dedication, in particular our Headmaster John Michael Hughes, and his colleagues Howe, Davies and Williams, Captain Mohamed Noor, Ambrose, Ong Poh Kee et.al.

I am also privileged to have made some wonderful and kind friends like Lim Say Chong, Sheriff Kassim, Kadir Sulaiman, Muthulingam, Goh Thong Beng,  the Din Brothers (Rahim and Zainuddin), Ali Ibrahim,  the late Anis Isa, Loo Quek Shin, Zain Yusuff, Khoo Soo Ghim and Khoo Soo Ghee (not brothers) and many others .

I thank these guys for making life at the PFS unforgettable. It has been great fun and that’s what life is about (to quote Bing Crosby). Here’s to you, guys.–Din Merican

Memorial held for Founder of 200 year-old Penang Free School

By Balvin Kaur- 21 October 2016 @ 9:39 AM


Image result for Reverend Hutching's grave in Penang

A memorial ceremony in honour of Reverend Robert Sparke Hutchings, the founder of the 200 year-old Penang Free School (PFS), was held at the Protestant Cemetery in Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah here today. The event was attended by around 130 people, including PFS students, teachers and alumni, who took turns laying wreaths at Hutchings’ final resting place, which is marked with a marble tombstone with an epitaph that reads ‘Founder of Penang Free School 21 October 1816.’ The service was conducted by Bishop Charles Samuel and assisted by Reverend Ho Kong Eng, who is also an alumnus the school.

Alumnus Ho Chu Hor, 38, said the commemoration is held annually in conjunction with the school’s anniversary. However, he said, it is grander this year, as it is the school’s 200th anniversary. Ho said it was important to honour Hutchings, who had played a key role in improving education standards in Penang.
Hutchings was born in 1782 and died in 1827, aged 45. He founded the school, which was the first English-medium institution in Southeast Asia at the time, on October 21, 1816. The school was initially located at Lebuh Farquhar here, but was moved to the present location in Jalan Masjid Negeri.
(File pix) Former students of Penang Free School going through an exhibition on the school’s history.

Image result for Reverend Hutching's grave in Penang

A memorial ceremony in honour of Reverend Robert Sparke Hutchings, founder of the 200 year-old Penang Free School (PFS) in 1966. It is held on October 21 annually.

5 thoughts on “Happy 200th Birthday Penang Free School: Fortis Atque Fidelis

  1. Dato

    You miss this once in a lifetime celebration of PFS. Good turnout at the Dinner on the school field. Saw some of your contemporaries.
    While at the School Hall, saw on the Board of past Chairman of Board of Governors of the school and noted that my late father served as Chairman for 14 years from 1971 to 1985. That is the longest term for all the Chairman of the Board both past and present. My late father will also probably be the ONLY holder of serving the school as a student, teacher, member and subsequently Chairman of Board of Governors, the full life cycle.
    The values we all were taught at the school made us what we are today. Sad to say those values are gradually being eroded and the current state of affairs in the country reflect the erosion of those values. Its going to get worse with the declining education system and the loss of english as a medium of learning. Our DPM’s speech at the recent UNGA in English is the apex of the poor standard of the language.

    Take care we will not be around to celebrate 250 years of the PFS in 2066.

    Capt.Mohd Noor was a strict disciplinarian with the ability to cubit or punch you when you write in bad Bahasa. I remember his encounters with my classmate Justice Kadir Sulaiman over classical Bahasa and the new Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka’s new Malay language.

    As a Commander of the School’s Cadet Corps, he was equally demanding. You can ask Lance Corporal Zainuddin Haji Din or our Regimental Quarter Master Dato Zain Yusuf. He was a close friend of PFS English teacher Hashim Bai, the father of my cousin late Ahmad Daud.

    Finally, let me say that Captain Mohd Din he was an institution who embodied the values of the Penang Free School of our time. Every time I see your brother and our former Auditor-General Khalil, I remember the Captain.

    I have asked Jimmy Yeoh to buy me the book, and the T-Shirt and other items which made to commemorate the occasion.–Din Merican

  2. Penang Free School: Learning religiously – without religion?


    No more, as author pointed out that

    “The country has come a long, long way from then. Education standards have slumped. We have been dithering over the direction we want to take. Sports in schools is no longer a big thing. Few teachers believe in the power of sports.

    Instead, religion has come into schools in a big way. There is a lot of emphasis on religious education and rituals, causing our children to drift apart from one another.”

    Just look PFS’s recent appointment of its headmasters, monopolized by race and religion

    1993–2000: Mr. Hj. Mohd. Ismail bin Ibramsa
    2000: Mr. Hj. Abdul Rahman bin Salim
    2001–2004: Mr. Arabi bin Sulaiman
    2005–2006: Mr. Hj. Muhammad Yusof bin Omar
    2006–2012: Mr. Hj. Ramli bin Din
    2012–2016: Mr. Jalil bin Saad
    2016–present: Mr. Omar bin Abdul Rashid
    Soon, if UMNO has its way PFS will be called Tanjong Free School led by mediocre Malay Headmasters.–Din Merican

  3. Penang Free School has historical significance as much as Raffles Institution (or school as was known then) in Singapore has.

    History and heritage are of immense value to be preserved for generations after us. Many places and roads bearing Colonial names have been changed for something local. Populist politicians are always a threat in this respect. They will pander to organised voices and change or demolish longstanding this and that and whittle down the rich cultural landscape if that will win them votes and secure them victory.

    A beggar in New Delhi took shelter in the night sleeping under a statue of Gandhi. When the clock struck at 12 midnight, the spirit of Gandhi came alive and complained to the beggar: “Look at these ungrateful Indians. They have built statutes for the English Governor General and many Viceroys but all of them are seated on horseback. But I have been made to stand on my legs all these years come rain or shine. I got them independence and this is what they have done to me. Please go and get me a horse”. The beggar said he will and that he would let him know the next day. The next day he brought a Cabinet Minister along to the spot expecting Gandhi to speak direct to the Minister. At midnight the spirit of Gandhi came and on seeing the Minister he got angry and scolded the beggar: “I told you to bring me a horse and you have brought a donkey”.

  4. If the people continue to let UMNO and PAS to win the next election at the present scale or beyond, one can bet his last dollar that it will be a matter of time before these guys change the name of Penang Free School to something sounding Bumiputra

  5. If ever they change the name to something Melayu sounding hopefully it’ll not be “Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Percuma Pulau Pinang so as not to lose the word “Free”. You know how these morons think, especially those from Hadi Awang Al Hudud’s camp.
    These goons have to change the motto–Fortis Atque Fidelis” since it is in Latin, which cannot be truthfully translated. Good luck to Malaysia. PFS is a jewel ,now in the hands of swines. They will make a mess of it and 200 years of history will go down the tube. So Tok Cik, how about that. Harap pemimpin Melayu lingkop lah Malaysia.–Din Merican

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