Saturday, February 14, 2009

Victoria Institution gets back its Name

KUALA LUMPUR: Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Victoria, which now has national heritage status, reverts to its old name of Victoria Institution (VI) from Saturday as it is world renowned.

"The world already knows its name as Victoria Institution so it is my pleasure to announce that its name, beginning today, will remain as Victoria Institution," said Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

Heritage site: Shafie (second from left) and Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique
holding up the national heritage declaration plaque at the Victoria Institution, Kuala Lumpur, yesterday

Speaking at a cermony Saturday to declare the school's national heritage status, Shafie said the school was chosen as it met the criteria of the National Heritage Act 2005.

Shafie, who is an alumnus of the school, said the VI played a role in the country's history when it was used as the administrative headquarters by the invading Japanese army during the Second World War.

The school, he said, was also the first English secondary school in the country, was prestigious and had produced important personalities from Sultans, leaders, ministers, corporate figures, politicians to sports luminaries and professionals.

He said the school was the first in Southeast Asia to have cadet corps and a school band.

Shafie called for the school's heritage to be conserved as each characteristic "be it a wall, a window, balcony, roof, tower or its field has its own story."

Founded by Sultan Abdul Samad, William Hood Treacher, Loke Yew, Thamboosamy Pillai and Yap Kwan Seng on Aug 14, 1893, Victoria Institution has steadfastly maintained a record of academic excellence and produced many leaders and luminaries.

Those who passed through its hallowed halls include Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei, Cabinet ministers then and now like Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique, Datuk Seri Dr. Ng Yen Yen and former judge Datuk Mahadev Shankar.

Other former students include corporate giants like Tan Sri Shamsuddin Abdul Kadir, T. Ananda Krishnan and Tan Sri Francis Yeoh while in the field of sports the school has produced luminaries such as Datuk Dr. M. Jegathesan, the late Mokthar Dahari, Datuk Misbun Sidek, Foo Kok Keong, Datuk P. S. Nathan and Ishtiaq Mubarak.

Shafie said till today there were 172 items listed on the National Heritage List.

Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal
(left) with Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique
looking at the national heritage declaration scroll at the Victoria
Institution, Kuala Lumpur.

He said there were four sites in the country accorded 'World Heritage Site' status and several manuscripts were in the 'Memory Of The World' register.

"Such recognition surely adds value to our heritage and Malaysians should be proud that our heritage is shared with the world," Shafie said.

Meanwhile, VI Parent Teachers Association (PTA) chairman, Raja Amir Shah Raja Abdul Aziz, said now that the school had been bestowed national heritage status, with its illustrious name restored, a strategic plan needed to be formulated to chart the school's future direction.

"After the heritage do and getting back the VI name, all of us the PTA, old boys, the teachers and community should make the VI the best in everything.

"We can have the Raffles Institution in Singapore as a benchmark," he said. - Bernama

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Nasi lemak is now national heritage, VI gets back its name

By Shuhada Elis

The next time you eat nasi lemak, yong tau foo or tosai, bear in mind that they are not just food but also a national heritage. They are among 100 local foods, including Penang char kuey teow and pisang goreng, which have been included in the list as they enjoyed favoured status and should not be forgotten.

The food list is part of the 172 items which have been given the national heritage status and announced by Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal at a ceremony at Victoria Institution (VI) here today.

The others include heritage sites, paintings, cultural dances and living heritage treasures.

The 116-year-old VI was also declared as one of the 12 heritage buildings in the list besides Stadium Merdeka and Masjid Jamek here.

In his speech, Shafie, a former VI student, announced that the school’s name would revert to VI instead of SMK Victoria.

“This school has played an important role in the nation’s history and it is also the first English high school in Malaya. The world has known it as Victoria Institution and it should remain that way,” he said to a loud cheers and applause by current and former VI students who were present in the packed hall.

Among them was Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique, who was also Shafie’s senior.

Shafie said the tangible and intangible heritage items would be protected under the National Heritage Act 2005 and efforts would be made to preserve them.

“The buildings on this list cannot be demolished, altered or developed without the consent of the National Heritage Department.

“It is in this way that the society will realise how important it is to appreciate and keep our heritage for future generations,” he added.

Six living heritage treasures, who have contributed to the development of the nation’s art and culture, also received RM20,000 each.

They were prolific storyteller Ali Badron Sabor; traditional drum performance expert the late Tan Hooi Song (whose wife Yai Yin Ching received the cheque); Indian classical dance expert Vatsala Sivadas; boria entertainer Abu Bakar Jaafar; Kadazan Dusun Losimin Majanil, a shaman from Sabah; and bangsawan entertainer Mohd Bahroodin Ahmad.

The 172 items are the second batch under the National Heritage List. Former Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim announced the first 50 heritage items two years ago.

Chinese drums welcome VIPS

Present day scouts with Old Boy Khaja Maricar

VI The V.I. Web Page