RM800,000 raised for
VICTORIA Institution Old Boys’ Association Foundation (VIOBAF) pulled out all the stops at its golden anniversary celebrations in Kuala Lumpur.
But the event was not all fun and revelry as the old boys gathered for a more serious purpose — to raise funds for the foundation.
VIOBAF is a non-profit organisation that is non-racial, non-religious and non-political in its objectives and activities. The foundation is the oldest alumni association in Malaysia that generates funds to provide financial assistance and support to deserving students and the school.
Funds generated from the anniversary do will be chanelled towards VIOBAF’s Master Plan, which aims to transform and boost Victoria Institution’s (VI) profile on the world stage.
The two-year multi-pronged plan was introduced in 2015 by VIOBAF chairman Datuk Seri Andrew Abishegam. It was officially launched by Sultanah of Pahang Sultanah Kalsom and Tengku Arif Temenggong Pahang Tengku Fahd Mu’adzam Sultan Ahmad Shah at the 50th Golden Anniversary Charity Gala Dinner at the KL Convention Centre.
Spirit of brotherhood
The night-long celebration was spectacular and featured performances, gourmet cuisine, lucky draws, and a charity auction.
Old boys came together in full force to support their alma mater.
Former Victorian Chacko Vadaketh, now an actor, writer, TV personality and host, kicked off the the evening with a fun question-and-answer session that gave true blue Victorians a chance to win some goodies.
Questions such as: “What is the most famous VI toilet known as?” “What is the colour of Roger House?” and “What is the length of VI’s swimming pool?” were answered with laughter, cheers and memories of school days.
The mic was then passed to another Victorian, Datuk Mahadzir Lokman, who was the host for the event.
Current VI students also played their part, with Form Two student Zachary Lim entertaining guests on the violin. He was followed by VI’s Cadet Corps band, said to be the oldest in the country. The band, which placed third at the World Association of Marching Show Bands world championships in Denmark in 2015, showcased members’ skills on the drums, bagpipes, trumpets, cymbals and other instruments.
Others who took to the floor include the Aseana Percussion unit, which played upbeat numbers and Datuk Zainal Abidin, who sang some of his hits, including Hijau.
During the charity auction, a specially commissioned painting of VI by renowned artist and former Victorian Anurendra Jegadeva was sold for RM25,000. A ‘VIOBA’ number plate bearing the letter V, followed by four numerals – 1084 – was auctioned for RM15,000.
There were also three match-play footballs autographed by Malaysian football icons Datuk Soh Chin Aun, Datuk Shukor Salleh and Datuk Santokh Singh. The trio were also present to lend support to the event.
Among the oldest Victorians at the dinner were 91-year-old Datuk Tan Chin Nam, founder of Tan and Tan Developments Bhd and IGB Corp Bhd, and Datuk Dr Ronald S. McCoy, past president of the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA).
“VI was the foundation of my life. Without VI, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” said Dr McCoy.
He added that education is the most important thing in a person’s life.
“I am lucky to (have been) a part of this school, and have a huge debt of gratitude to my teachers and headmaster,” said Dr McCoy, a former school captain and prefect, who continues to follow a VI value — working hard.The ladies were not left out of the festivities. “Old Girl” Asfarani Arshad, who did her Form Six at VI (the boys’ school has co-ed classes for that level) said she missed the sense of togetherness she enjoyed at VI, and often supports functions such as this. “I was there for only two years but the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood is very strong,” she said.
The former prefect reminisced about her schooling days, sharing stories of studying, sports, and forming the school choir and then playing the piano for it.
Current VI students Ilham Jauhari and Mohammed Asyraf Mohd Norezan, who were helping out as ushers during the night, said they were grateful to former Victorians who have come together to help their school.
The 17-year-old boys shared their love for their school but said the building and classrooms needed reburbishment.
Another thing they were thankful for was the series of motivational talks organised by the foundation.
Speakers such as celebrity chef Datuk Redzuawan Ismail, better known as Chef Wan, Westports Holdings Bhd CEO Ruben Gnanalingam, Veritas Design Group president and director David Mizan Hashim, and Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin have visited the school to speak and mingle with the students.
“I really liked the talks,” said Ilham, to which Mohammed Asyraf added, “Our favourite was Chef Wan’s talk, which was fun and entertaining.”
Ilham said after the talk, he was inspired by the chef’s advice to follow his dreams.
The Master Plan
By the end of the evening, the foundation managed to collect RM800,000 for VIOBAF’s Master Plan.
The ultimate aim of the charity dinner is to increase VIOBAF’s funds by RM2mil by the end of this year to RM5mil.
The plan covers the physical transformation of the school at Jalan Hang Jebat, which, at 124-years-old, is in dire need of renovations and refurbishment.
Under the plan, aid will also be given out to students for education materials and uniforms, and scholarships to further their studies.
Over the years, the foundation has disbursed over RM1mil to many worthy causes.
At the anniversary celebrations, VIOBAF also launched a joint initiative with SEGi University to award one Form Five and one Form Six student with a full scholarship worth a total of RM150,000 to study Business, Education, Engineering, IT, Hospitality, Mass Communication, or Art and Design.
This scholarship is the first of its kind to be given by SEGi to a government school in Malaysia, and champions education for deserving students who excel academically and in co-curricular activities, said Abishegam.
The foundation has also introduced named scholarships from donors who give a minimum sum of RM25,000.
Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib was one such donor. The Cahya Mata Sarawak deputy group chairman, who is an old boy, donated an undisclosed sum of money towards the scholarship fund as he believes that education is very important.
“It is really important for good students to get the best education opportunities. It would be sad and a waste of potential if they don’t have the funds to go to the best universities,” he said.
Mahmud added that education shouldn’t just be confined to the classroom and cited his schooling days as an example.
He was active in the cadet corps, and took part in swimming, rugby, athletics and drama classes.
The VI teachers will not be left out under the Master Plan. Among the other activities lined up for them are training programmes which aim to equip teachers with better digital and technological knowledge.
“We will also bring in international trainers to coach the teachers and give them incentives and targets to achieve,” said Abishegam.
He added that the foundation also hopes to introduce the trust school programme, which will elevate VI’s quality of education.
“This move will lift the school’s educational standards to world-class status."
"We hope VI will be a model school that will be emulated by other government schools,” said Abishegam.
P U B L I C I T Y P O S T E R S
Last update: May 29, 2017.