Went visiting the Penang Free School's archive rooms yesterday with my co-editor, Molly Ooi, and the president of the Old Frees' Association, MS Rajendran. I had expected the room to be dusty and musty, and had turned up with some facial masks. Was very surprised to find the rooms to be clean, airy and well-maintained. So sheepishly, I put the masks back into my bag.
Was both surprised and disappointment with the material discovered here. The school even has a copy of "Twentieth Century Impressions of British Malaya," a quite voluminous book that was turned to the page of, what else, but the Penang Free School. There's also a good collection of the medical researches and speeches of Dr Wu Lien-Teh.
However, the collection of past year's school magazines was disappointing. i would have thought that the school would have maintained pristine copies of past issues. Not all the issues but at least school magazines that go as far back as 1950 or thereabout. What I discovered were lots of missing years and it was not until the mid-1980s that the archive room had the past issues. Even the magazines of the 1970s were simply photocopied from somewhere. That was the pathetic side of my visit.