One might ask is an Alumni Website a priority project for the Alumni Association to embark on at this juncture. A response to this should be made in the context of a fundamental key goal of the Association , which is to bring together as an effective whole, the global diaspora of Ipoh ACS’s alumni body, now numbering an estimated 50,000. The advent of the internet and ubiquitous broadband renders the cost effective realisation of such a goal , a realistic proposition. This is predicated on the belief that the unique and quite glorious history of Ipoh ACS can provide the compelling content which often determines success or failure of similar net based ventures. Importantly, it is also based on the conviction that Alumni will generally respond favourably and contribute in various ways to this rallying call to restore our School and what it stands for, to its former glory. On balance a Website is not just “nice to have” but am urgent necessity for a Community based organisation like ourselves.
The history of ACS Ipoh spans a period of some 117 years . Despite the vicissitudes of World Wars, an Emergency, the struggle for independance and further challenges since Merdeka, the school has survived. Indeed it has thrived, if we go by the extraordinary numbers of Scholars, Olympians and other high achievers the school has produced over the years. Such excellence in the face of extraordinary odds is even more admirable given the diversity of its student body and teaching staff who came from all of the world’s great religions and civilizations. Such unity amidst diversity must have been the bedrock of the school’s successful Quest for excellence in all fields. The story of this Quest amidst trials of all kinds , surely provides a treasure trove of both historical facts and the grist for many a heartwarming story. In tandem, the history and tales of our unique past would surely spark renewed interest in both students and Alumni alike, in ongoing alumni association efforts to help both ACS Ipoh and its graduates, achieve the great heights of the past.
Whilst the past and the recent days are adorned with achievements that one can be proud of, there are both subtle and overt forces continually at play which potentially can derail the stature and legacy of our august Alma Mater. Would Ipoh ACS live on and flourish, even aspiring to be as renowned as the ACS Singapore brand as an educational institution? Or would decline and oblivion set in leaving us to lament a great legacy lost? Amongst other things, it is hoped that our Website will heighten our pride in our Alma Mater and enhance our awareness of the potential threats of decline and decay. Collectively, perhaps, we may find a set of solutions to overcome such adversities.
Noting the pervasive way the Internet can change societies globally in mid 2011, the Website Committee obtained a mandate from the Ipoh ACS Alumni Association Executive Committee to create an official Alumni Website. The caveat is that the Website Committee will be wholly responsible for the funding of this initiative with no access and recourse to the meagre coffers of the Alumni Association. Such a Website was to be the repository of all material pertaining to the school, which have historical, literary or human interest value. The WebSite has the following key Objectives:
- To attract new members from around the globe and to provide a single point of contact for members to network, interact and pursue lifelong learning. . Our aim is to leverage on the Internet to reach as many as is possible, of the estimated alumni body of 50,000 residing around the globe. Hopefully many will be attracted by this website to join as life members and indeed, they are most welcome. (see Joining Association segment for details);
- To serve as a supplementary internet based Teaching – learning platform for current ACS Ipoh teachers and students. The aim is to twin this website with that of the school and facilitate continuous knowledge exchange;
- To serve as a cost effective Internet based platform for the Alumni Management Committee to communicate and conduct its official business;(Only Committee members can access this password controlled portion under Management which is part of the About Us segment)
- To serve as an efficient mechanism to raise funds for worthy projects of benefit to the school and Alumni .(Alumni who wish to contribute in cash or kind are requested to refer to details under the Donations, Gifting and Others segment)
- To catalyse the Alumni to act in unison as an agent for positive change in the School and in Society at large.
To achieve the aforesaid objectives, the Website Committee is fully cognizant that attractive content is of paramount importance in attracting the initial alumni interest. In this regard, the methodical dredging of the school’s history, produced rich rewards. Another source of useful information was derived from locating and interviewing the relevant Ipoh ACS personalities and also from soliciting articles and information from them where this was possible.The results are primarily found in the Our School Ties segment of this website. This segment also contains articles pertaining to The Rev Horley, The School Song, Stage Tradition and Sports Tradition.
A highlight of the Our School Ties segment is the provision for online retrieval of the Voyager. All copies published since the pioneer 1926 issue (barring just a few years due to the war and Depression years), are available online. These provide a remarkable recorded history of the school and indeed the nation which both Alumni and history buffs will surely find irresistable.
Not many other schools had been able to re-assemble such an impressive archive. A key output of the Website Project was the production of soft copies as well as a hard copy comprising 14 handsomely bound volumes of incredibly clear print quality (better than the original). One set of both is kept by our Alma Mater and another by our Alumni Association for posterity.
Old Salts might want to share with friends and family the beauty of their youth as the class photos in the Voyager and other school photos, found under the Pictures segments, would testify. They might want to renew ties or network with old chums through the “Where They Are Now “ part stored under the Our Alumni segment. To facilitate your networking, this Segment also has sections on Alumni Contacts and Articles and Letters from Alumni. Alternatively, you might want to keep in touch through the Email from Alumni segment. This will help realise another paramount objective of the Association which is to re-connect with as many of the 50,000 alumni out there in all parts of the world, as we possibly can.
Dos and Donts
As is normalplace for most Community Websites, all correspondence through this website are subject to the normal “dos and don’ts”. In this regard:
- Of particular importance is the need to keep out material which are offensive to others. Articles are welcome from any Alumni which they may want to publish under various segments.
- In the interest of brevity, Alumni are requested to limit their contributions to 2 pages for articles under “ Sharing Experiences” and to 6 pages to various general interest articles under “Our School Ties eg Teachers Remembered sub segment” and those under “Our Alumni – Articles and Letters from Alumni”
- As this is an Ipoh ACS Family Website, we would like all alumni to sign off on their true identity and state their Graduating Year, e.g. James Lee Say Wan, Cohort: Form 6 Upper Arts A, 1979
After only a very short span of 3 months (Service Agreement with Website Designer signed in early November 2011), the website is already online albeit as work in progress. Some portions need re-working and some additional titles have been added in and as such the official launch of the Website will only be undertaken in April this year. To continually improve this website, your feedback is welcome. On its part, the WebSite Committee has plans for continuous improvements including upgrading to a more robust technology platform and to leverage on Facebook and Twitter to catalyse Alumni interaction and networking.
Urgent Funding Appeal
The continuous improvement of the Website and even its very survival over the foreseeable future, is also contingent upon the raising of adequate funds to finance the project as a going concern.True to its undertaking to the Alumni Association EXCO and in the true spirit of voluntarism, apart from the very intensive call on time and effort, the Website Committee contributed RM500 each . To add to this, there were further contributions of RM500 each from the Alumni President, Lee Seong Yan and the Immediate Past President, looi Teik Aun and an “anonymous” alumnus. An initial working capital of RM3,500 was raised as a launching grant, just to meet immediate needs.
The development of the Website was undertaken deliberately on “a very low budget”: about RM85 went to signing fees with WordPress, the facility provider; RM1,300 for the Website Designer and a meagre monthly allowance of RM500 for the Website Administrator (an almost full-time role) who thankfully is an ACS alumnus. Very importantly, she succedeed in arm twisting her designer husband to “volunteer” a give away fee.
The Website Committee subscribes to a very strict set of financial discipline. No claims at all were made for expenses incurred in travelling outstation to interview ACS personalities. Each one took turns paying for refreshments imbibed at the numerous thirst-inducing meetings. Incidental expenses like photography, printing and photocopying costs, etc came out of “private” pockets.
We are very grateful to the very generous donor who footed the RM2,200 bill for scanning, capturing, photocopying and binding of “The Voyager” series. He is duly acknowledged in “Our School Ties>The Voyager” in the Website.
There are 2 major threats that can see to the early demise of any major initiative.Firstly, it is management, custodial and editorial neglect. We are hoping to persuade Chew Beng Hian “(Cohort: Form ^ Upper Arts A, 1965)”, renowned for his passion for very high standards, eye for details and zealous commitment to work, to stay on in the highly demanding and non-paying role of Editor-in-Chief. The second is, of course, money and funding. The initial working funds of RM3,500 has been almost depleted – sufficient to make one more payment for the monthly allowance of the Website Administrator. Members of the Website Committee are already involved in sponsoring financially as well as in efforts other alumni-initiated projects (some featured on this Website) with more to come.
We, therefore, appeal to the generosity of our alumni to help raise an initial sum of RM20,000 to cover the running expenses of the Website for the next 3 years (RM500 monthly allowance for the Website Administrator, annual WordPress renewal fees and minor Website enhancement costs).
All donations should be sent to the Honorary Treasurer of the Ipoh ACS Alumni Association for the following specially designated Website Project account:-
Website a/c @ OCBC , Ipoh Main –
Persatuan Alumni Anglo Chinese Ipoh
A/C No: 720 113907 0
He/she will control and oversee all deposits and disbursements through the account as had been done earlier on the initial working capital sum of RM3,500.”
The Future holds Promise
The WebSite Committee strongly believes that with your continuous support, this Website can set the standard for Schools website. In fact our school’s unique unity in diversity pursuit of excellence in education, through affordable , largely self funded projects , is something, policy makers in our country and even abroad, will find interesting and useful. Hopefully if our website can highlight the what? How? And why? Of such an endeavour, we will provide ideas and resources for both our alma mater and other schools in the counntry to progress cost effectively. Our website if well managed will be able to project such a message to the world at large provided we harness the talent and resources of our alumni . If we can unite 50,000 minds to speak as one, others will follow our lead to catalyse positive change in areas such as education, which gives all a better quality of life. Notwithstanding this, our more immediate goal of this Website is to first execute effectively the seemingly simple task of bringing all alumni closer together, working for the benefit of the school and the alumni community. Do join us in this worthy endeavour.
The Web Site Committee
18 March 2012