Background to the ACS House System
The ACS House System was officially introduced on 16 April 1929, one of the innovations of Mr T W Hinch who became Principal in the same year. Named after distinguished people who had contributed greatly to the cause of ACS, it aims to promote and develop clean and keen competition both individually and among the Houses.
The first five Houses were named after Bishop William F Oldham Bishop James Thoburn, Rev Goh Hood Keng (GHK), Mr Tan Kah Kee (TKK) and Mr Cheong Koon Seng (CKS). In 2004, three more Houses were introduced and named after Dr Lee Seng Gee (LSG), Dr Shaw Vee Meng (SVM), and Tan Sri (Dr) Tan Chin Tuan (TCT). House representatives can be easily identifiable in the field donning their bright respective colours: OLD (Red), THO (Green), GHK (Yellow), TKK (Dark Blue), CKS (Light Blue), LSG (Grey), SVM (Purple), and TCT (Orange).
From athletics and sports pursuits, House activities have been expanded to include community and social services, public debates, academic competitions and the Arts.
Today, the House System aims to inculcate and encourage team spirit as well as to imbue a sense of belonging and loyalty among House members. While encouraging friendly competition among the Houses, the House System instils pride and a resolve to continue the rich tradition that has been rooted by our pioneers.
Cheong Koon Seng House (CKS)
Mr Cheong Koon Seng was for many years the President of ACSOBA. One of the earliest ACSians he joined ACS in 1891. In the 1934 ACS Magazine, Mr Cheong was memorialized as “a genial friend, a sound businessman and a loyal old boy of the school to which he had rendered valuable and ungrudging help.” Working very closely with the Methodist Mission, he helped to acquire the land at Barker Road where the ACS (Barker Road) complex now stands.
Goh Hood Keng House (GHK)
Rev Goh Hood Keng was one of the most remarkable ACSians. He taught for about 20 years in ACS and distinguished himself as one of the most esteemed teachers of the school. He was the first Singaporean ordained Methodist Minister. As a minister of the Methodist Church, he pastured the Straits Chinese Methodist Church (Kampong Kapor Methodist Church) for nearly 40 years until he retired in 1952. As a preacher, Bishop Doraisamy considered him a “legend before his time”. Combining his gift of teaching with that of preaching was perhaps why the School named one of the Houses after him.
Lee Seng Gee House (LSG)
Dr Lee Seng Gee has been the Chairman of the Lee Foundation since 1967. Dr Lee is the eldest son of Tan Sri Dr Lee Kong Chian and is an ACSian. He is also the Chairman of Lee Rubber Pte Ltd and the Lee Group of Companies. The Lee Foundation was set up by Dr Lee’s father. Popularly known as the “Rubber King”, philanthropist, businessman and civic leader Lee Kong Chian benefited from attending schools made possible by the generosity of first generation community leaders. He made it his legacy to continue this tradition of contributing to the society from which one benefited.
During his lifetime, Tan Sri Lee’s benevolence to ACS was marked by two major donations – the Lee Kuo Chuan Auditorium of ACS (Barker Road) in memory of his father in 1950 and later on, the building at the Lee Kong Chian block of ACS (Barker Road) which housed the Post School certificate classes as well as modern science laboratories.
The establishment of the Lee Foundation in 1952, served as a platform for further philanthropic work, where he assisted a wide spectrum of the community, in particular, toward the advancement of education, medical assistance and social welfare. The Lee Foundation continues to donate generously to the ACS family of schools.
Oldham House (Old)
Oldham House was named after Bishop William F Oldham who founded ACS in 1886. His first tour of duty in Singapore lasted about five years and the Methodist Mission was well and truly established when he left Singapore. Poor health forced him to return to America. In 1926, he and his wife visited Singapore and participated in the 40th anniversary of the School, and again in 1935 at the Golden Jubilee of the Methodist Mission.
Shaw Vee Meng House (SVM)
Dr Shaw Vee Meng is the Chairman of the Shaw Foundation. He is the elder son of Sir Run Run Shaw and is an ACSian. He is also the Chairman of The Shaw Organisation Pte Ltd. The Shaw Foundation was set up by Tan Sri Dr Runme Shaw and Sir Run Run Shaw in 1957.
One of Asia’s most respected philanthropists, the Shaw brothers were prominent businessmen, who made their fortune from film production and distribution. Their overriding principle was wealth gained through society should be returned and in generous measures. The Shaw Foundation is one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the world, distributing generously to various fields of education, welfare, medicine and heritage.
In 1970, Shaw Foundation financed a new Olympic-sized pool, Shaw Pool, at the ACS at Barker Road, making it the first school in Singapore to own such a sporting facility. In later years, the Shaw Foundation also funded the building of one block of classrooms, named Shaw Block in the old Barker Road Campus and the Shaw Library at ACS (Independent). The Shaw Foundation has made generous donations to the ACS family of Schools, in support of educational pursuits and the arts.
Tan Chin Tuan House (TCT)
Tan Sri Tan Chin Tuan set up the Tan Foundation in 1976. Between the mid-1950sand mid-1970s Tan Sri Tan was appointed Chairman of OCBC Bank and eightother blue chip Singapore companies. Tan Sri Tan is an ACSian.
A magnanimous philanthropist, an astute businessman and a distinguished civicleader with an impeccable record of public service to Singapore, Tan Sri Tan livedby the highest standards of personal conduct. Well-known for his integrity andcompassion, he has been the benefactor, in many cases anonymously, of a hostof charitable and educational institutions.
In 1950, he played a significant role in the Building Committee and gave generously to the construction ofthe original Barker Road Campus. Today, his generosity to his alma mater, Anglo-Chinese School, iscommemorated in the gift of the Tan Chin Tuan Hall, the Tan Cheng Siong Theatre in memory of hisfather at ACS (Barker Road), the Tan Chin Tuan Auditoriums at ACS (Independent) and at Anglo-ChineseJunior College, and the numerous scholarships awarded to outstanding students at both ACS(Independent) and Anglo-Chinese Junior College and named after ACS pioneers.
Through his deeds, Tan Sri Tan Chin Tuan represents the values of kindness, diligence and dedicationand has become a powerful symbol of the spirit of Singapore’s early pioneers.
Tan Kah Kee House (TKK)
Mr Tan Kah Kee was a folk hero, not only in Singapore but also in the Aseanregion and in China. A visionary, he was a pioneer industrialist, philanthropist,social reformer and, above all, a patriarch. Mr Tan was keenly interested ineducation and had given large donations to the Anglo-Chinese School and the then proposed Anglo-Chinese College.
Thoburn House (THO)
Thoburn House was named after Bishop Dr James Thoburn. He was responsiblefor initiating and accompanying the pioneer mission to Singapore. He (and BishopOldham) were responsible in the setting up of the Methodist Church as a Missionin Singapore in 1885. Bishop Dr Thoburn’s vision (and Bishop Oldham) madepossible the birth of ACS. Had it not been for him, there might not have been anACS. It was his personal initiative as an important leader in the MethodistConference in India that resulted in the planting of the first Methodist Church inSingapore in 1885.