My Fellow Old Salts,
This has been an assuring Quarter going by the events and developments that have come to past. I am pleased to share with you a brief summary. Let me also give you an idea of what lies ahead of us.
[A] STRENGTHENING OUR FOUNDATION
Our Alumni Association is debt free. Membership subscriptions have come in strongly adequate for the first time ever to cover our normal operating costs and yet yield some surplus. Nevertheless, we will continue to make every effort to minimize our expenses. We have a tenant for our ground floor space commencing 1st March 2013. These in tandem should enable us to build up some cash reserve in the months ahead.
At our AGM held on 16th March 2013, we voted to abolish the Ordinary Membership category and replace this with Life Membership. All existing Ordinary Members are automatically elevated to Life Member status. New Life Members will only pay a one-off subscription of RM100 per person. Associate Members will similarly pay a one-off subscription of RM50. These changes obviate the need for the costly, cumbersome and ineffectual attempts at collecting small sum annual subscriptions.
The other significant amendment involves rationalizing and creation of an effective value-add set of roles for our elected Trustees. Existing provisions which are outdated, impractical and ineffectual are deleted / amended. The Trustees are now well placed to play a useful role in keeping with the growth of the assets and the scale of activities of our Association.
(3) Communication, Camaraderie & Chapters:
Our Website and our social interaction programme are beginning to produce a good effect. Compared to 7655 unique visitors and 28025 hits as at 28th December last year, there has been a remarkable growth – 8908 visitors and 35150 hits as at 27th March 2013 even before this Quarter ends. These statistics indicate that we are reaching out to more and more Old Salts within Malaysia and overseas. Many visit our Website regularly.
The spin-offs are seen in strong participation at our Alumni gatherings and the emergence of overseas Chapters. It is very impressive to see two Alumni Dinners held simultaneously on Friday, 8th March 2013 in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Both events are well featured on our Website. They are clearly a success signifying an upsurge in Alumni interest.
Our calls for membership take-up including at the recent KL Dinner are well responded to. Thank you. We need all of your support. Please encourage your friends to sign up for life membership.
We will continue to refresh and expand our Website contents. The recent 2011 and 2012 editions of The Voyager have been scanned in.
(4) Scholarships & Funds Inflow:
More Old Salts have come forward to provide scholarships for deserving students from financially poor families. A very welcome addition to the large increase in scholarships achieved in 2012.
The following fresh funds were received this Quarter:-
Choong Chee Pew Scholarships* RM12400
Top-up of funds for Leong Soo Nyean Award RM2000
Rebecca Lee Scholarship RM1600
Prof. Gunaseelan Selvaduray Scholarship* RM750
Victor Chew Scholarship RM500
Tom Leffler Awards for Industrial Arts* USD400 (RM1200)
Fresh membership subscriptions RM5000
Anonymous for Trust Funds for scholarships, etc SGD15000 (RM36000)
KL Dinner surplus & collections – 8.3.2013 RM10864
Lai Moo Chan Scholarships* RM5000
Their generosity is overwhelming. Class 1962 / 1964 held a reunion gathering recently. They collected RM10000+ and plan to use the money to provide 2 scholarships to students of Ipoh ACS. On top of the 10 scholarships awarded by Charity L3, our Association has developed sponsorships for 35 scholarships this year (2012: 19 and 2011: 2).
Total funds collected for our Alumni Website stand at RM28696.95 – 14.78% above our earlier target of RM25000.
We extend our deepest condolences to the family of the late Mr. Thavaratnam s/o S. Kumarasamy. Thava as he was affectionately called donated generously to cover the cost of digitalizing and scanning our entire collection of The Voyager for our Website; and the binding of the hard copies. He also made a big donation towards replacing the air conditioning amenity for our school library.
[B] WHAT LIES AHEAD FOR US THIS YEAR
(1) Membership Growth – TARGET 500 FOR 2013:
Last year we signed on 74 new members (2011: 14) to bring our membership size to 359 (as at 31.12.2011: 285). This represents a 26% increase. Up to 14th March this year we signed on 52 new members within 2.5 months – 70% of what we achieved the whole of last year. Membership now stands at 411 members.
Our EXCO at its recent meeting on 16th March 2013 decided to elevate the original target of 100 new members for 2013 to a total Association membership of 500 by the end of 2013. The revised target is 141. We have therefore to sign up at least another 89 members. To reflect our status as a premier Mission school and to continue maintaining this status, it is only befitting that we achieve such growth rates.
Each EXCO member is asked to sign on another 3 members at least. This call was repeated to all the participants at our AGM held later that day on 16th March 2013.
Two Old Salts (one resident in Johor Baru and the other in Auckland) approached us recently to sign up on-line. We hope to see more of these. Please sign up now if you are not already a member.
(2) More New Chapters:
Interest is stirring on the Canadian front. We hope to see before long a Vancouver Chapter and in the not too distant future a Toronto Chapter as well. The eagles are coming back to roost. Plans are in the offing to form a Kuala Lumpur & Klang Valley Chapter.
(3) Foundation / Trustee Structure:
Following from our Dinner last year, communication has taken place between me and an Old Salt and very recently this has formalized into a donation pledge. A very generous Old Salt of the 1971-1977 vintage on the condition of strict anonymity will donate SGD15000 every 6 months over 3 years (i.e. a total of SGD90000 or approximately RM216000). I have received the first cheque for SGD15000 and this has been sent for collection.
These funds will be used for designated purposes such as scholarships, prizes named after principals/teachers, and other initiatives for the benefit of our Alma Mater. These funds do not belong to our Association per se. We are optimistic of securing more donations.
We will put in place soon an enhanced governance structure with a set of Trustees distinct from our Association’s EXCO.
(4) Membership Database Update
We have slightly deferred this thrust giving way temporarily to other priorities. The catching up will commence soon. Meanwhile the new members recruited in large numbers have added to our fast growing database of email and mobile contacts.
(5) Alumni Dinner in Ipoh – 3rd August 2013
Invitation cards for the Dinner (each at RM100) are available now. We will set up an online order facility to supplement the normal distribution practice. We have set aside 6 tables for retired principals and teachers who will be attending at no charge. Please book early. We will maximize time for you to bond and catch up with your classmates many of whom you may not have met for years.
All Ipoh MGS girls including those who did not attend Sixth Form in Ipoh ACS are warmly welcome to join us. There has always been in existence a fraternal bond between our 2 schools.
MAY OUR ALUMNI GROW FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH!
Together we can do it.
Lean Meng Seong
President, Alumni Association
28th March 2013