ABOUT ACSOBAOur History
The Anglo-Chinese School Old Boys’ Association (ACSOBA) is the oldest formally incorporated alumni association in Singapore and traditionally a self-funding voluntary organisation run by faithful ACSians who rally together to work for the betterment of their alma mater. The ACSOBA regularly provides a platform for personal contact and organises numerous activities for its members.
The ACS spirit and the unshakable bonds that ACSians have with the School and each other are the fruit of years of camaraderie. As a result, alumni have a unique sense of loyalty and gratitude to their alma mater. Both individually and under the umbrella of the ACSOBA, they have made their presence felt throughout all ACS units via traditional events such as the annual Founder’s Day dinner on March 1; fundraising (e.g., the Fun-o-Rama), the Retired Teachers’ Tribute Dinner and “Past vs Present” Games and in the last decade, ONE ACS hallmark events such as the ONE ACS Career Forum. More recently, on-line initiatives such as the ONE ACS Business Directory and the ACS Store have been launched to strengthen mutual support within the ACS Family.
The ACSOBA was officially formed on 10 July 1914, 28 years after the start of ACS at Amoy Street. Early accounts by the Rev C. B. Paul and Mr Chan Siew Jiang in the 1959 ACS Magazine seem to indicate that the birth of the ACSOBA came about by providence rather than conscious design.
Bishop William F. Oldham, the Founder of ACS, had a grand vision for the School as early as 1914. He wanted to build an ACS College. The arduous task of building this college fell upon the shoulders of the Rev J. S. Nagle, the Principal of ACS (1913-1922) who felt that the endeavour could not be accomplished without the combined efforts of the Old Boys, some of whom were distinguished citizens holding prominent positions in society.
Using a list of Old Boys published in the 1912 Prospectus as the basis of his operation, the Rev Nagle mounted the historic contact campaign. His sole initial purpose was to garner the support of the Old Boys to realise Bishop Oldham’s dream to build an ACS College. Although this dream did not materialise at the time, Rev Nagle’s efforts bore significant fruit in raising awareness of ACS’ need for alumni support and an important role for the alumni in the preservation of the School’s traditions and culture.
Responding to the Rev Nagle’s call, a band of stalwart Old Boys gathered in the ACS Drill Hall, better known as the ACS (Coleman Street) Chapel Hall on Friday 10 July 1914. It was here that the ACS Old Boys’ Association was officially formed. A small committee with Mr Ong Soon Tee as President was appointed to draw up a constitution. The first ACSOBA dinner was held at Hotel de l’Europe at St Andrew’s Road the very next day. The public occasion drew great response and was graced by the presence of Principals from sister schools as well as consular representatives.
For a detailed history of the OBA and to trace the various stages of its development, click here to find out more.