Spot on. That’s the building, the signage where your eyes are immediately affixed. Lift them higher and you’ll be able to read a familiar name on the next signage. Yes, No. 3, Jalan Yang Kalsom, Ipoh is owned by the Ipoh ACS Alumni Association. The business located thereat and the displayed soft wear, however, are not!
The first floor currently houses our secretariat and is venue for Committee meetings. The ground floor generates rental income.
No improvement in recent years is of more importance than the acquisition of that piece of property by a bold and astute group of alumni in 2002. The funding of the RM 270,000 investment (another RM 50,000 was spent on renovation works and refurbishment) was made up of a term loan of RM 170,000 and a Government grant of RM 30,000. The balance was in part covered by the generosity of alumni members and from proceeds of on-going alumni activities.
This achievement is owed entirely to their initiative and hard work. So our very grateful thanks are due to the many people who have made this acquisition possible. Especially, to our then President, Dato Thong Fah Chong, and his team, for making this far sighted decision; and to then Vice-President, Mr. Looi Teik Aun, for leading the charge to purchase, secure (and even personally guarantee) loan, and then to renovate. Our gratitude is likewise expressed to the major individual donors, viz., Mr Looi Teik Aun, Datuk Patrick Lim Soo Kiat and the late Dato Wan Siew Loon.
Credit too is due to the judicious financial stewardship of subsequent members of the Committee – Mr. Looi Teik Aun (Immediate Past President, currently Trustee), Mr. Lee Seong Yan (President 2007-2011), and Mr. Chooi Choong Yin (Treasurer). Through accelerated loan repayments, the amount currently owed of approximately RM 16,000 would be fully repaid by 2012 five years ahead of schedule. The property, in the meantime, has doubled in value.
This is the only property owned by our Association to date. There is no known plan to acquire more.
The Association, however, welcomes the endowment of properties as gifts. If alumni members are considering making a bequest, you may wish to keep your Association in mind. Like other assets it owns, the bequeathed properties would be carefully safeguarded to preserve value and dedicated either for Association use or generate rental income to fund alumni activities.
What Next: Club House? Where?
Our present Jalan Yang Kalsom premise is not fit for this purpose. A club house, however modestly scaled, needs to be spacious and accessible. And it has to provide sufficient facilities to attract a regular following of both young and the senior. As a business, with a business plan, it is aimed at financial self-sufficiency. Sustained patronage is dependent on a large and active group of alumni users. Economics would thus favour the location of the first in an urban centre with the largest concentration of alumni.
Where located, it would be the social centre for alumni and for the conduct of alumni related events. All of a positive kind rather unlike the club house of old in Ipoh, somewhere along Seenivasagam Street, on an upper floor of a townhouse, where, still a student, I remembered being greeted by a group of tired looking alumni infamously engaged at mah-jong in a hall thick with smoke and intemperate language. We have moved upwards since.
What eventually comes about has all to do with our collective sense of need for such a facility at the disposal of alumni. It has necessarily to start small in one single location, which could possibly turn out like this.
Imagine that place where you can connect with old school mates or make new friends, do lunch, conduct a small meeting, entertain guests at dinner, career network or network with business people and professionals, or have a drink, listen to poetry or to a distinguished speaker, all of these within the confines of a small yet comfortable building sited in a convenient location.
Welcome to the prospective Ipoh ACS Club House in Kuala Lumpur??
Chew Beng Hian
(Cohort: 1965 Form 6 Upper Arts A)