14th August 2013. The day has come and gone. It was a very special day. It was the 120th birthday of Victoria Institution (VI). It was VI’s Founder’s Day.

There was no fanfare, no celebration, no Tattoo, no dinner on this special occasion. But in the world of technology today, old and new Victorians took to social media to show their appreciation for their beloved school.

For many who have walked the corridors of glory, this school was not only a place for education. It was a place where boys were moulded into men. A place which builds character. It was a school with a unique tradition, culture, values, and identity.

Most importantly, the school is about its students, Victorians, as they are the ones who live and continue to pass on these values. Over the years, Victorians have excelled not just academically, but also in sports, music, literature and other fields, with many great successes.

For so long, VI has always been associated with academic excellence as well as its colorful co-curricular bodies. And it is these bodies especially that were the core in building students’ character; run by the students on their own with little or no help from the school authorities, and yet excelling in their respective fields.

VI has produced individuals who are able to think, articulate, as well as act maturely. Victorians have no issues in dealing with paperwork, public speeches or presentations and of course, leading society in many ways. Some even discuss and play active roles in national politics and socio-economic reforms.

But times have changed, and so have priorities and expectations. The old Victorians have done their part in living up to the traditions and values which have built up the school to where it is today. The question is what will be the path for VI going forward.

So, what is VI now? Is it a place where “education” now is all about passing exams? Do the current Victorians have their own aspirations of what they want the school to be? The old Victorians have for the longest time lived through the Education Ministry’s system, worked with it, and most of the time worked through the system to find achievement and success.

Victorians used to be provided liberty and freedom to manage and explore within the permitted boundaries. Do the current Victorians still have that liberty and freedom? Or are their hands now tied, where their main priorities are purely academic? Are parents now more protective of their children that “failure” is not acceptable? Is the saying “A Victorian is a scholar, a sportsman and a gentleman” being forgotten? Are the current Victorians now being “shaped” to have a certain mindset? And more importantly, do the current Victorians want to continue to live those unique traditions and values?

These are some of the thoughts that current Victorians and also future Victorians should consider moving forward. The school is nothing without its students, and the Victorians are the soul of VI. The current Victorians should think about how and what they want to achieve by working with and through the system, and at the same time not becoming blind followers. Remember “that instructions be not all, nor this school just roof and wall”.

I, for one, an old Victorian, can only live with the glory that was achieved with the school during our time. The only thing that I can do is to share my experiences and provide guidance where needed. But the responsibility is now with the current and future generation Victorians to think and decide what they want and how they want to shape the school.

It is the current and future Victorians that will need to pick up this baton, and ensure that the Victorian spirit lives on with changing times. I probably will not live to see it, but I sincerely hope that the beautiful VI lives to see another 120 years and beyond.

#BeYetWiser #VI120

Adrian is a confused accountant who has a heart of a Care Bear, lived in the Smurf Village, while defending the Universe like a Thunder Cat. He has deep interest and passion in civil society and has...

20 replies on “1893 – 2013: Happy Founder’s Day, Victoria Institution”

  1. Deep deep indeed satisfied in the games guys so happy sad bye..wakkaka single mother for ever till death believe it

  2. It has touched me fairly when I heard both sides of 2 very contrasting views and unconciously I too wanted my voice to be heard.

    I strongly believe there are many Victorians out there who may not have made their names as national personalities but are now a respectable someone in big organizations. I have recently met numerous Victorians last Saturday in a wedding dinner of one of our fellow Victorian. Most are 'someone' now and contributing to our economy one way or another.

    It will be hard for me to deny the fact that the knowledge we gained from our school days, our Victorian culture that were instilled in us, the clubs with many passionate members we have took part in does somehow build that characters in us, Victorian. I certainly am very sure being a Victorian made a difference in me, a wiser person.

    Be Yet Wiser

    WH Chew

  3. The debate goes on . As a young man entering the school in the early eighties with a host of uncles who have walked through the school, I began my journey with a sense of pride and determination. Not to match the illustrious seniors but to appreciate the school's rich history and traditions. This was the "platform" that allowed many of us to reach for the sky in our pursuit for excellence. As for the prefects, its was a unique system that allowed discipline to be instilled by the students themselves. The younger ones obeying the instructions unconditionally and the older boys seeking means to rebel. This it self trained the mind to handle situations and conditions that one would face in the future.
    As now I have my two sons in the school, I can see the difference in the school of old. But this is not to be lamented but to be appreciated as part of the journey in the development of the young person. The school will be celebrating its founders day on 29-8-2013. Be Yet Wiser

    Dr. Thiruventhiran
    School Captain-1986

  4. I am from Victoria Institution myself, class of 2002.

    Frankly, the school did nothing for me. In no way did the school mould me to become any better than I could've been. Arguably, it may have had I been a student in the 50's, 60's or 70's.

    The point oft-repeated by most Victorians is that the school has given rise to many a thinkers and leaders. I think this is predicated on a bias. The students who were allowed entrance to VI were subjected to a selection process after their UPSR. The brightest were selected. There is therefore a greater probability why Victorians go on to become thinkers and leaders. They already had a good foundation in education, and arguably the brains to boot.

    I think the allegiance that Victorians display for their institution borders on the irrational and it strips the value and genius of the individuals that have walked through its corridors. These individuals were great because of who they were and their life experiences, not because of a building or even whatever values the institution purportedly represents. For instance, the excessive antics of the school prefects, said to reflect the upkeep of discipline, is really just an arbitrary imposition of authoritarianism; it serves to instil blind obedience to authority within pupils. This should not be condoned. The ‘Lines’ that were conducted every morning is a reminder of the “subject status” occupied by pupils. It is the very anti-thesis of “liberty and freedom” that Victorians ignorantly bray about having received in VI.

    I think it is of far greater wisdom for Victorians to look within themselves to define themselves, rather than holding their identity and achievements as an affirmation of being from VI. While there may have been a handful of individuals who leave the institution and become national personalities, let’s not forget that the majority of those who leave VI still remain nobodies and unknowns. So what does it matter if you came from the 120-year-old Victoria Institution?

      1. Wow time to do it how about it why don't face it then fuck it in here haha let's functions bro..

    1. Thanks Aston for your honest reply, a different perspective all together and appreciate it. What I would say is just like you have mentioned that the school did nothing for you (I am sure there are others like you as well), there are also others who feel the school did make them a different person, hence the affiliation back to the school.

      Walking the corridor of the school is by no means discrediting the genius individuals themselves, but perhaps more of provided the genius an additional platform to flourish (but ultimately it also depends on the individual what he/she wants to consume).

      Yes undeniably, the best were selected, there is no argument on that. Perhaps I did not mention this clear enough in the article, these have perhaps changed with times as well. I am not sure if the best is still being selected into VI, or they prefer not too. This is evident with different schools now producing brilliant achievers, not only the "premier" schools. Hence, my point on what the current and future students what the school to be.

      On the example of prefects i.e. authoritarianism, I wouldn't venture as far to that as blind obedience, but perhaps more of self-managing i.e. seniors "looking" after juniors from a discipline perspective. At least for me, I have stood up against fellow seniors for what I stand and questioned them back. As for the Lines i.e. subject status, at least for me I don't see myself as a subject, but rather part of the make up instead. Example, when I become a senior, it is my responsibility to look after my juniors, and definitely not looking at them as my subject.

      You are right, each should look within themselves to define individually. I would perhaps add on to that that more importantly, each should take that opportunity to seek anything better and their takeaway from the VI platform i.e try and get the best out of what is offered, if any. There is nothing to lose really for a great individual to flourish.

      Again as for holding identity and affirmation to VI, some perhaps felt they have learnt a lot from the school, or perhaps the best part of their lives (not necessary studies or achievements though). As for national personalities, perhaps majority are still unknown, but each has flourished in their own ventures/fields, so that doesn't mean they are not successful. You are one great example :))

  5. Adrian Ng,

    Without wishing to disclose my alma mater, I need to let you know that anybody from Victoria Institute is, supposedly, my sworn enemy.

    Why? I dunno – I was told so :)

    120 years, eh? Damn!! That's a fine innings :)

    Congratulations to VI and all who have walked those dark and dingy corridoors :) Come on, gimme a break, ok? I mustn't be too lavish with my praise, ok? :)

  6. It seems we are the only VICTORIAN left. The school now belongs to non-victorian that killing the tradition piece by peace leading towards graveyard. Happy 120th Anniversary to all fellow Victorian and my late father (Victorian 1948-1952). – Zahari-Bandmajor 1986

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