ACS OBA Message, ACS Founder's Day 2017
A blessed Founder’s Day from all of us in the ACS OBA Management Committee.
This morning, my committee and I will be delivering the OBA message at the Founder’s Day Services at our 6 schools here in Singapore. The same message will also be read to our brothers and sisters in ACS (Jakarta).
It’s my pleasure to share the OBA message with you.
To God Be The Glory, The Best Is Yet To Be
President, ACS Old Boys’ Association
Once again, we ACSians gather at one of the most significant days in our calendar. Founder’s Day. Last year, the ACS family celebrated 130 years of our rich history of providing our students with an all-rounded education steeped in Christian values. We have since entered a new era of ACS history which is ours to create together.
But as we look forward to the next 130 years, we must continue to hold dear what makes ACS unique- Our ACS traditions. We are all familiar with the story of the 13 pigtailed schoolboys in a rented space in 70 Amoy Street. But less is remembered about our ACS Crest, Motto and Anthem.
The OBA message today is not a history lesson but rather a timely reminder of our roots and God’s blessings upon ACS throughout our journey.
The 1920s and 30s are well remembered in ACS history as the era when lasting ACS traditions were established. Since then, the Anthem and the Crest have become treasured ACS icons that identify us as ACSians. During this period, Mr T W Hinch, who was the School Principal from 1929 to 1947, played a pivotal role in laying the foundation of the inimitable ACS Spirit. Hailed as the School’s ‘tradition builder”, he revived the publication of the ACS Magazine, introduced the ACS House System in 1929, and initiated the ACS Motto which was later incorporated into the Crest. Decades later, all these traditions still endure.
The ACS Crest & Shield
The ACS Crest and Shield was conceptualised and designed by Mr Yap Pheng Geck in 1930 when he was teaching in ACS. Inspired by the virtues of chivalry, honour, loyalty, valour and manliness upheld by the medieval knights of old, he created a magnificent crest design that is truly unique and timeless. We wear the crest over our hearts and see it emblazoned around our ACS schools but what does it really mean?
Drawing from the many elements that influenced the founding of the School, Mr Yap placed above the three letters of the school name a golden heraldic wyvern with a lion’s head, eagle’s wings and a dragon’s body with claws. These features represent the fact that the school was founded when Singapore was a British (lion) colony by an American (eagle) Methodist mission during the Qing Dynasty in China (dragon).
The lower part of the Crest comprises two panels in blue and gold; these which represent heaven and earth, and also symbolise spiritual and material accomplishment. The letters “ACS” in red symbolise life bridging heaven and earth, as well as the blood of Christ uniting heaven and earth.
In addition to the school name, the letters ACS are also variously said to be acronyms for Academic Achievements, Christian Character and Sportsmanship or Service beyond self.
The School’s Motto
Taken from the opening lines of Robert Browning’s poem, Rabbi ben Ezra, the School’s motto “The Best Is Yet To Be” is the rallying call to ACSians to always strive for the best and a reminder not to rest on our laurels.
The ACS Crest combined with the school motto is the glorious emblem that gives ACSians an unshakable sense of belonging to an institution that has shaped, transformed and enriched our lives.
The ACS Anthem
The most treasured ACS tradition is perhaps the rousing and inspiring ACS Anthem. Written by Mr HM Hoisington in 1926, it soon became a tradition to sing the anthem at all school ceremonies and today, it is the norm to begin or end each ACS function with the strains of “In Days of Yore ....” and ending with a robust affirmation of “Our ACS Forever”. We will sing it together at the end of this service and thousands of ACSians will sing it again tonight at the Shangri-la in Singapore and in all corners of the world.
Our ACS story is one of unwavering faith and enduring traditions. All made possible by God’s inspiration, grace and guidance, the prayers and support from the Methodist Church, our tireless school leaders and staff, loyal Old Boys and Girls who keep the ACS Spirit alive and a dedicated group of parents. So as we reflect on our past, cherish the present, and look ahead, remember that all your experiences will strengthen the ties you form with ACSians past and present because for those who hope, work and play, the best is yet to be.
Happy Founder’s Day everybody!
Celebrating the ACS Spirit: A Season of Reflection and Renewal
I am humbled to have been elected President of the OBA.
My journey as an ACSian started in 1970 at Anglo-Chinese Primary School (Coleman Street). After four years at Anglo-Chinese Secondary School (Barker Road), I completed my ACS education at Anglo-Chinese Junior College in 1981. Like many ACSians, completing my ACS education is a precursor to a lifetime commitment to ACS. Those of us who were privileged to have received an ACS education owe it to future generations of ACSians, to continue supporting, contributing and giving to our alma mater and ensuring that the ACS spirit remains forevermore.
The OBA is the embodiment of the ACS spirit, in all of its 102 years of existence. It is timely for the OBA to take stock, recalibrate and chart new destinations with bold aspirations. My committee members and I will enter into a season of reflection, to search and ascertain how OBA can become more vibrant, useful and relevant to our members, alumni and stakeholders. We will reach out to as many ACSians and members of the ACS community as possible: to speak, discuss and gather your thoughts, feedback and input.
If you are an ACSian, please join us to shape OBA’s future direction. Opportunities to volunteer, serve and participate will be published on OBA’s website, and my committee members and I look forward to working with everyone who is committed to bringing fresh energy, time and resources to making our OBA one that is worthy of our school’s motto.
Our campaign to revitalize the OBA will be fraught with challenges. Then again, it has been said that “nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty”. So, as the OBA “closes one chapter, the pen is gradually inking up, preparing itself to write the next”.
Would you join us in writing the next chapter of the OBA?
ACSOBA 2016 / 17
1. Theodore Roosevelt
2. Mie Hansson
3. OBA invites expressions of interest from all ACSians who wish to volunteer for the work of OBA. Please email Tat at email@example.com, with your name, cohort and email / mobile contact.