Great V.I. Teachers

Chan Hung Chin,
the Jack of all Trades

From the 1946 Victorian

In the July issue of the Victorian, 1941, there appeared in the School Bell the following lines:

We are sorry to have to record the retirement of Mr. Chan Hung Chin who has been with us for no less than 27 years. He had to retire owing to ill-health, and the least we can do to show our appreciation for his services is to wish him a speedy recovery.

Nothing more was said about Mr. Chan. He disappeared from the ken of the School, though not from its memory.

In the past there have always been photographs and write-ups of the old masters who have spent their school days under Mr. B. E. Shaw and who, at his request, had continued teaching with him. But for Mr. Chan there was neither photograph nor write-up. There was only this paragraph in the School Bell:

A part of the history of a school is the history of its masters, especially those who have dedicated their lives to the Old School. Fate has taken a hand, and now, after six years of obscurity Mr. Chan has come into the limelight, for to him alone goes the credit of every scrap of History in this Golden Jubilee Commemoration Number of the Victorian.

­­Mr. H. C. Chan has had a finger in almost every pie in the School. He was a brilliant student and was the Treacher Scholar of 1913. He was top boy every month in every form he was in. The prizes he carried away were numerous. He was one of the two Gold Medallists who had the proud distinction of having been never absent from school for eight years in succession. It was only his devotion for "Old Shaw" that made him forsake a professional career and, at his request, join the School as a teacher in 1914.

From 1914-1940 he was a leading figure in the activities of the School he loved so much. He was a Scout Master from 1914 to 1920. He founded the first, second and third packs of Wolf Cubs in the State and rose to be the first District Cubmaster. At the School Concerts he was always the "feminine" lead, and even wrote a play or two himself, including one performed in 1923 by the Peninsular Malay Opera Company in aid of the VIOBA Scholarship Fund. He was one of the leading members of the famous VIMADS and designed all their finest costumes, including those of Twelfth Night and Henry IV Part I.

He organized the first V.I. Orchestra in 1915, which rendered selections at the Annual School Concert of that year. The members of the first orchestra were:

Piano: Miss M. de Mornay
Violins: Messrs. Chan Hung Chin, Tay Lian Teck and John Hugh
Flute: Messrs Wee Kok Thye and Tay Lian Hee
Banjo: Miss E. Davidson
Drums: Khoo Soon Leong

His musical knowledge enabled him to take charge of the Fife and Drum Band and, later, the Bugle Band of the V.I.C.C. As House Master he will be remembered by hundreds of Treacher and Loke Yew boys. He was the first School Librarian, and it was his initial efforts that added to the Library's solid foundation.

He will also be remembered for the great services he rendered as the Director of the Infant Department from 1922 to 1928, and as Art Master at the new V.I. He was the first to initiate the morning session into the Infant School. This was adopted ultimately by the whole School and by many of the other schools. His Annual Concerts, his Scout and Dancing Displays in the State, and his Handwork and Art Exhibitions were some of the highlights of his career.

He always bore in mind the fact that "those who bring sunshine into the lives of others, cannot keep it to themselves."

Even out of School he was a prominent Victorian. He was the Honorary Secretary of the V.I.O.B.A. for 17 years, and he founded the Selangor Badminton Association, of which he was the first President. It is worthy of note that most of its members were V.I. Old Boys.

His retirement in 1940 was due to illness. And though he is confined to his home, yet his thoughts are ever straying along the corridors of the School. It is only when his thoughts are wandering there, that this "Victorian to the core" is really happy. Thousands and thousands of his pupils will remember him, and to all Victorians past and present he sends this message —

To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.


* * * * * * * *

...From the School Bell of 1948: May 21 - Mr Chan Hung Chin, an old master of the school, spoke on the history of the V.I. to the assembled school.

and the School Bell of 1949: Feb 25 – Mr H. C. Chan, an Old Boy and former master of the School, presented his almost complete collection of school magazines which are of great historical value. The V.I. is grateful indeed. It will be remembered that the school’s collection of such magazines was lost during the war.

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Created on 31 August 2008.
Last update on 3 September 2008.

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