Labour of love pays off in time for school’s 200th anniversary

  • Nation
  • Friday, 23 Sep 2016

Unforgettable memories: Ooi (centre) along with the association’s book committee members launching the book in Singapore.

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Old Frees’ Association has launched a commemorative book titled Live Free, In the Spirit of Serving to mark the 200th anniversary of the founding of Penang Free School.

The 168-page book celebrates the school, founded in 1816, and also marks the contributions of its alumni to the Singaporean society, said association president Dr Alex Ooi.

He said the book took nine years to complete with the help of many of the school’s old boys and girls, who chipped in either financially or through their efforts.

He said the book was mooted in 2007 with limited resources and fading memories of the aged and departed, but the book committee managed to pull through and produce it ahead of the school’s bi-centennial anniversary on Oct 21.

“The coffee table book encompasses the enthusiasm, camaraderie and bond between the schoolmates and the school,” Ooi said during the launch on Wednesday.

Among the highlights of the book, he added, was a story about a trip taken by some alumni from George Town, Penang, to Dittisham, England, the hometown of the school’s founding father Robert Sparke Hutchings.

Ooi said the book, priced at S$20 (RM60), would also be distributed to relevant people and libraries worldwide to reach more readers.

Retired optometrist Lim Eam Khoon, 83, who settled down in Singapore in 1971, said he looked forward to going back to his hometown for the anniversary dinner with his wife.

“I have attended the anniversary dinner annually for the past 40 years. Another thing I look forward to is going back for the authentic Penang food,” he said.

Investment adviser Alfred Foo, 35, who graduated from the school in 1998, said it would be his first time attending the anniversary do with a group of his ex-schoolmates from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Jakarta.

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