THE Old Frees Association (OFA) will be organising a dinner on March 31 to launch the Bicentenary Celebrations for the Penang Free School (PFS), which will be turning 200 in the year 2016.
Bicentenary committee chairman Datuk Abdul Rafique Abdul Karim said the celebrations would begin this month as it was too momentous and historical an event to be celebrated in just one year.
“As the bicentenary is an important milestone in the history of Penang Free School, many programmes have been arranged from March 31 till Oct 21, 2016,” said Abdul Rafique.
About 400 Old Frees (alumni) and guests are expected to attend the dinner at the Eastern & Oriental Hotel, where a commemorative book Fidelis will be launched.
OFA president M.S. Rajendren said the title of the book was extracted from the school’s motto Fortis Atque Fidelis (Latin for ‘Strong and Faithful’).
“This is an important heritage project for the PFS and the OFA where it contains records of the school’s glorious history, academic excellence, great sportsmen and rich traditions, as well as those of OFA which was founded in 1923,” said Rajendren.
The 208-page commemorative book will be priced at RM100 and is expected to hit bookstores nationwide soon after its launching on March 31.
The dinner also serves to raise funds for the Bicentenary Celebrations, among which are to establish a Bicentenary Scholarship, to be launched on Oct 21, 2016.
Abdul Rafique said the dignitaries who would attend the dinner include the Raja of Perlis Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Putra Jamalullail, Raja Perempuan of Perlis Tuanku Fauziah Tengku Abdul Rashid, Raja Muda of Perlis Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra Jamalullail, Raja Puan Muda of Perlis Tuanku Lailatul Shahreen Akashah Khalil, Penang Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas, Toh Puan Majimor Shariff and Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.
The prices for tables are from RM1,000 to RM5,000 while VIP tickets are priced at RM1,000 per person.
Tickets are sold at the OFA in Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah which is open from 10am to 6pm on weekdays and 10am to 1pm on Saturdays. For details, call the OFA at 04-2269290.
Penang Free School is the oldest English school in Southeast Asia, founded on Oct 21 in 1816 at a rented premises in Love Lane by Rev Robert Sparke Hutchings, an Anglican chaplain.
The school then moved to its first building in Farquhar Street which now houses the Penang State Museum prior to its present location in Jalan Mesjid Negri in 1928.
The now 196-year-old school has produced notable luminaries such as the country’s first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, legendary plague fighter and the first Malaysian Chinese Noble Prize winner Dr Wu Lien Teh, former Penang Chief Minister Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu, actor and singer Tan Sri P. Ramlee and four-time All England badminton champion Eddy Choong.
Old Frees from all over the world are encouraged to provide suggestions to the Bicentenary Committee on ways to hold the four-year celebrations after they kick-start on March 31.
For details, email to email@example.com.