The mighty V.I. cricket team bundled out for ten runs?
Using sulphuric acid to clean brass hinges?
200-pounder George Abraham doing the cross-country run?
The fart that robbed the V.I. boys of a holiday?
Drama Society costume discovered stolen on opening night?
Squeezing 1,000 D.C. lines on an A4 sheet of paper?
Lim Eng Thye’s morning snack hijacked by his pupils?
A suspected Communist plot to take over the school?
The Prefects’ secret plan to resign en masse?
The Special Branch vetting a Speech Day concert item?
Prefect nabbing a teacher for not wearing his badge?
Yes, they happened! These and hundreds more accounts by alumni, teachers and headmasters of the Victoria Institution, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia are in this riveting collection of “tales” by V.I. Old Boy and archivist Chung Chee Min. Mined from many sources and classified under forty-two categories, these personal writings capture the spirit and pace of life in the premier school in Malaya/Malaysia during the period from its founding in 1893 to the mid-1970s. The forty-third category is a collection of truly, truly, tall tales - first published in the 1950s and 1960s - of the adventures of a fictional fat V.I. boy.
This companion volume is an entirely different work from The V.I. Anthology, embodying the personal thoughts and memories of the pupils, teachers and even Headmasters from the V.I.’s Golden Years, a period dating roughly from its founding in 1893 to the mid-nineteen seventies. They come from many sources – interviews, the internet (including the V.I. Web Page of which I am one of three page-keepers), the print and online media, V.I. publications – principally its newspaper, The Seladang, its annual magazine, The Victorian and the journal of the Science and Mathematics Society, The Scientific Victorian.
When one spends five, six or seven years of the most formative period of one’s life in the same school with over a thousand like-minded motivated students, there inevitably will be many unforgettable experiences. Indeed, combing through my own collection of V.I. publications, I find poignant and heart-warming stories of sacrifice, of friendship, of adventure, and of interactions with heroes, with bullies, and with strict Headmasters and eccentric and gifted teachers.
There are accounts of caning, wild capers in the classroom and without, and of derring-do on the playing field, of scintillating victories, humbling losses on the sports field, of dropped batons, missed catches and even sudden death on the running track. Scouting adventures, cadet mock battles, paranoia over a Communist plot, mind games with a snooty Prefect, ceiling walking and debating triumphs, a mysterious prewar film – they have all been collected.
There are stories of falling in love (or was that just a crush?) with the pretty lass in the other class and of close brushes with gangsters and things that go tap–tap in the night. These and more are grouped under various different categories and listed alphabetically.