CLUB 21:   For Merit

oon after Dr. G. E. D. Lewis' assumption of duties as headmaster at the V.I. in 1956, he discovered that some of the V.I. boys were members of secret societies and were extorting money from fellow schoolboys. Some teachers had been aware of it but were too frightened of the consequences to bring the matter to his attention. Six boys were initially identified and caned by Dr. Lewis, but by 1958 there was a fresh outbreak of gangsterism at the V.I.

Checking with the police, Dr. Lewis found that there were two main secret societies in Selangor at that time: the Wah Kei and the Ang Bin Hoey. The latter had several criminal gangs associated with it, namely, the 08 or 108 Gang, the 21 Brothers (or Gang 21) and the 360 Gang.

Isolating several suspects in separate rooms, Dr Lewis used the time-honoured method of getting them to confess by suggesting that one was informing on the other. (He also ensured that there would be no retraction by making sure that the confessions were all in writing!) The V.I. headmaster soon found out that members of Gang 21 were eager to finger members of the 08 gang and vice versa! All in all, twelve gang members were identified, belonging either to Gang 21 and the 08 Gang. They had paid monthly subscriptions to their respective gang leader and, in turn, had extorted pocket money and personal belongings from their fellow Victorians.

In addition to receiving six of the best, each gangster was further punished by having to stand in the quadrangle for an extended period, with knees half bent and holding in each hand extended at shoulder level, a saucer with a cup in it. Woe betide anyone who dropped either cup or saucer! Dr. Lewis then warned the entire school that in future any boy found to be a member of the 08 Gang would be caned 8 times, while a Gang 21 member would be caned 21 times! Except for one other gangster caught later (he was caned 8 times), there were no more cases of gangsterism in the school after that. Dr Lewis had also secretly recruited some burly members of the school rugger team to keep an eye out for any intruders, ordering them to pursue and tackle the outsiders rugger-style, if necessary, and to bring them to him. In the event no gangsters dared encroach upon V.I. property again. Other schools were not so lucky.

From the ashes of gangsterism in V.I., Dr. Lewis forged his own "gang" - Club 21, the name, number and intentions deliberately chosen to be a tweak in the nose of Gang 21. Like its notorious counterpart, Club 21, too, had stringent membership rules, except that aspiring members were chosen for meritorious service to the school and thus consisted of its best sportsmen and leaders in extra-mural activities. Membership of Club 21 would be second in prestige and honour to membership of the V.I. Prefects Board, whose numbers were limited to about 20 each year.

A special badge with a yellow scroll inscribed with the words "Club 21 For Merit" at the top of the school crest was struck and the first 15 members of Club 21 were presented with their distinctive badges during a school assembly in early 1958. While eleven of these founding members were outstanding sportsmen in a variety of sports, the other four were recognised for non-sports contributions - Chua Lai Hock for his talents in biological research, M. Shanmughalingam for representing the school in debating, A. Krishenjit, for his outstanding contributions to drama and a fourth member, Leong Ming Tuck, for his exemplary work as the V.I. Cadet Corps' C.S.M.

Over the years over 100 pupils, including four girls, have proudly worn the yellow-topped Club 21 badge, proud members of a unique Gang, a gang for good, excellence and merit. Club 21 membership and membership of the V.I. Prefects' Board were not necessarily mutually exclusive, as many Club 21 members went on to become V.I. Prefects in the Upper Forms.

The following is a list of these Victorians and their year of induction:

1958Kok Lit Yoong
Chan Yew Khee
N. Sivaneetham
Cheong Yong Kuay
Goh Chin Leng
Bobby Lee
A. Krishenjit
Billy Tan Gim Hoe
M. Shanmughalingam
Chua Lai Hock
Shariful bin Azman
Hector D.
Leong Ming Tuck
Fan Yew Seng
S. Thiruchelvam
1959C. Thavaneswaren
Lim Chooi Tee
Sha Kam Choy
Chew Meng Ian
Hoh Wing
Cheong Yong Young
Raja Zaini Ismail
Gan Kong Eng
Kenny Siebel
Zamri Yahya
Bakhtiar Tamin
1960Indran Devadason
Felix Gabriel
Lam Ah Lek
Tengku Halim
Foo Yeow Khean
1961Ghazali Yusof
Yaacob bin Abu Kassim
Eddy Lee
Lee Meng Hean
1962Koh Tong Chui
Kamal Din
V. Manikavasagam
Ghazali Mahyuddin
Lee Yat Loong
1963Ms Chew Swee Yoke
Thong Nyok Chee
Wong Kong Chin
Tso Chih Ping
Leong Wee Chuen
1964Ms Kok Lee Ying
Badri Masri
Nah Seang Hoo
Foo Yeow Leong
1965G. Sivabalan
Mazlan Datuk Harun
Tan Eng Leong
Tan Kim Chuan
S. Ramasamy
Chia Shiow Wen
Kok See Leong
P. Chandran
1966Yeoh Oon Hock
Zainon Mat
Nadzri Salim
Leong Weng Chiew
Low Loh Lee
Cyril Gaudart
Tajuddin Yusof
Tan Heng Hong
Ng Chong Kin
Ishtiaq Ahmad
Jasbir Singh
Harpal Singh
P. Paramjothy
Tan Lee Meng
Lian Kwen Thong
Ramola Sodhy
David Robert
Leslie Robert
1967Chai Sin Chong
Amir Sharifuddin
Tan Lip Tiong
Loong Foo Juay
Zakaria Sharif
G. Sivalingam
1968Au Yong Mun Bong
Chong Teh Cheong
Ng Hon Yuen
1969Lee Kok Pheng
Lim Shook Kong
Liew Fah Kong
Yong Lum Sung
1971Yap Keng Sin
Pritam Singh
Loh Choong Kee
Yap Teow Khoon
Wong Chee Wai
1972Hiew Koo Poo
Yap Ching Seong
Ms Ho Lai Wan
Ms Teh Siew Heng
Cheah Hong Chong
Ho Chin Ching
1973Abdul Rahman Khalid
Chin Yew Neng
Ng Wai Khoon
Lim Poh Ann
N. Danaraj
Soon Teck Wong
1974Liew Fah Onn
Lim Poh Ann
Chow Chong Yen
Abdul Ghani b. Hashim
1976Dennis Kwok
Ong Teong Boon
Ngun Kok Wah
Peter Ng Soon Huat

Club 21 Members of 1958 and 1959.
A 1959 group photo shows the Headmaster with some members from 1958 and some of the newly appointed members of 1959. From left (sitting): Leong Ming Tuck, Billy Tan Gim Hoe, Cheong Yong Kuay, Dr. Lewis, Kok Lit Yoong, Bobby Lee, S. Thiruchelvam; (standing) Chew Meng Ian, C. Thavaneswaren, Gan Kong Eng, Lim Chooi Tee, Sha Kam Choy, Cheong Yong Young, Thiruchandran, Raja Zaini Ismail, Hoh Wing.
Club 21 Members of 1960.
Standing: Arumugam, Indran Devadason, Cheong Yong Yong, Felix Gabriel, Lam Ah Lek, Tengku Halim,
Sha Kam Choy, Gan Kong Eng, Rodzlan Salleh, T. Thiruchandran, Foo Yeow Khean, N. Thanabalan
Sitting: Kenny Siebel, Thavaneswaran, Chan Yew Khee, Dr. G E D Lewis, Cheong Yong Kuay, Lim Chooi Tee, Zambri bin Yahya

VI The V.I. Web Page

Created: 12 November 1998.
Last updated: 18 August 2006.

Contributed by: Chung Chee Min

PageKeeper: Ooi Boon Kheng