IPOH ACS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE
How do I begin without sounding clichéd or melodramatic? After all, my short time and experiences in ACS have been a tidal force in my life thus far.
I’m currently pursuing a degree in law (a choice I don’t regret), a far cry from my initial plan to be an architect. ACS allowed me to venture into debating and the able Miss Foo Suit Mooi was pivotal in my training and she helped shed my shyness in public speaking. I surprised myself, and my parents, at being named best debater for two consecutive rounds. That was hardly something that I had envisaged.
I was blessed with great teachers. The unforgettable Mdm. Lee Kim Yoon was a figure that invoked fear, but only initially. She would berate us daily. Her saying “Don’t trouble the trouble if you don’t want the trouble to trouble you” was often heard quoted by Form 6 students. I was a terrible Math student. I flunked all my tests. But Mdm. Lee was so dedicated and encouraging. I managed a B, finally. Not fantastic but she wept for me, and I was so thankful to her for all her remarkable efforts. We still visit her every Chinese New Year.
ACS is known as an all-rounder school and that left me spoilt for choice of activities. I settled for the Voyager Board, and I had the privilege of spear-heading the production of the 78th edition of The Voyager. It was a distinct honour to lead in the production of this one volume of a long-standing school magazine. It was a monumental task but the team was spectacular. Computer graphic art was introduced for the first time. The artistic Yee San was a perfectionist, his efforts led to a good result. We’d spend hours in the tiny Voyager Room sorting hundreds of photographs, writing and editing. It was our private hide-out where food and coffee (even an electric kettle!) were stored.
Our class 6AB was a Physics class and, naturally, we were branded as nerds. There was an air of seriousness though when it came to the academic side of things. But when it was time to play, we’d go all out to play. Kean Choong smashed the long jump record during sports day. We’d celebrate birthdays every month in class. During one such celebration our Physics teacher, Mr KC Leong, attempted to teach two of the birthday boys how to ballroom dance. Mr Leong was an exceptional teacher. Besides having Physics concepts ingrained in his head, he imparted a lot of Chinese “words of wisdom” and even tried teaching us qigong. During one Physics lesson, he brought two copper plates connected to a voltmeter and a power source. It was his ‘massage machine’! He let us place our hands onto the plates and we’d feel jolts of electricity. He claimed that it would remove unhealthy negative charges from our bodies. We laughed but didn’t really buy his claim.
Our favourite hang-out was Min Jiet, the coffee shop opposite ACS. We frequented it so often that the aunty knew us well and even bought us treats when she was on holiday in Taiwan. I would stay back daily with my classmates, Weng Hong, Wei Kang and Ben, to work on Math. Wei Kang had an old battery-powered transmitter radio which we would listen to. It was difficult to concentrate on Fridays because we were always in a heightened mood to play and we de-stressed by playing several rounds of basketball at the Methodist Youth Centre (MYC).
MYC was our favourite haunt because we were involved in the Boys’ Brigade. We’d stay there during camps. Through BB we forged close ties. We had the opportunity to join the National Pesta which saw a participation of almost 2000 people. That was a memorable event. Even after STPM, we returned to help organize camps. Currently, I’m still actively serving in BB as an officer.
I believe that if you were to ask old boys or girls, they’d say that ACS provided avenues for them to explore new frontiers and improve themselves. Many of my classmates came from Poi Lam and Buntong. They couldn’t really speak proper English. I’m what they called a “banana”. Knowing that, they tried their very best to speak to me in English and in turn they taught me Chinese.
The highlight of my time at the ACS was to be able to promote its name at national level. I aimed to obtain a Band 6 for MUET, just as my sister did. I suppose I am kiasu. My MUET teacher Ms Chang Siew Fong used to throw us into the deep end of the pool and let us struggle our way out. Other teachers like Pn Lim Sau Chang, who never taught me, were far more encouraging and together with Ms Chang they brought my aim to fruition. I was the only student in Perak who managed to obtain the Band 6. To my surprise, I was named the top 2010 MUET candidate for the whole of Malaysia. Praise God! When attending the award ceremony together with my parents and the then principal, Mr Cheng Sai Lak, I was proud to have the ACS badge emblazoned on my blazer.
Being in ACS was one of the best things that had ever happened to me. Initially, I moped at the thought of having to struggle through Form 6, but I’m glad that I did and at the Ipoh ACS.
LIM YI WEN (COHORT: 2010 FORM 6AB)