Sunday, September 05, 2004

Malay College Kuala Kangsar - A Brief Intro

Malay College Kuala Kangsar (fondly known as the Malay College, MCKK, MC or Koleq and sometimes Eton of the East) is the premier residential school in Malaysia. It is an all-boy and all-Malay school located in the royal town of Kuala Kangsar, Perak. In the Malay language, it is called Kolej Melayu Kuala Kangsar or formerly Maktab Melayu Kuala Kangsar.

It was established in 1905 by the British after a suggestion by colonial education officer R.J. Wilkinson. The idea was enthusiastically supported by the then Sultan of Perak, Sultan Idris Murshidul Azam Shah I (reigned 1886—1916).

As it was founded to educate the Malay elite, comprising of royal children and the sons of Malay nobility, few of its early students were from amongst commoner families. This changed dramatically after 1947, as a result of rising Malay nationalism. Currently, selected Malay boys aged from 12 to 17 from all around Malaysia are being educated there.

The first headmaster of the Malay College was William Hargreaves, an Irishman and a graduate of Oxford University. Since 1963, the Malay College has been led by Malay headmasters.

The most recognizable feature of the school is the Overfloor (built in 1916), a building with pseudo Greco-Roman architecture in front of a rugby field. The Prep School, built around the same time, is smaller but with equally prominent features. In 1947, the West and East Wing, as well as the Administration Block and Clocktower were added. The West and the East Wing, together with the Overfloor make up what is now called the Big School. Two more hostel blocks, the Pavillion and New Hostel were built in 1963 and 1972 respectively. Another prominent feature of the school is the Big Tree, a raintree in front of the East Wing that is said to be as old as the school itself.

The school itself has three fields. One is located in front of the Big School, traditionally reserved for rugby, soccer and cricket. The second field is located south eastern of the Big School and it usually hosts field hockey game. The third open space is in the Administration Block and it is used for various purposes.

The College ground is also the only place in Malaysia where one could find an Eton Fives court. The students neither use the court nor do they play the game, however.

The school also excels in sports and debate. With respect to rugby, it has consistently held a traditional match series against the Vajiravudh College of Thailand since 1960. In odd-numbered years, the match is held in Kuala Kangsar, Malaysia. In even-numbered years, it is held in Bangkok, Thailand.

The alumni association of MCKK is known as the Malay College Old Boys' Association (MCOBA) and it was established in 1929.

A few school traditions, of relatively recent invention, survives. One is the wearing of one of two forms of the school tie every Wednesday by the old boys. Second is the an annual gathering lasting around three days at the school itself - referred to as Old Boys Weekend. Another one is the school cheering where almost every student is required to sing in unison various fight songs during official sport matches while wearing a specially designed polo-shirt.

Amongst the more notable alumni of the Malay College are: Dato' Onn Jaafar, the father of Malay nationalism and former Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, the former Deputy Prime Minister Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the Sultans of Pahang and Perak, and the Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan.

* am quite flattered that Wikiverse mentioned the part on debating and cheering polo-shirt - something to cherish from our years in koleq.

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