Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Fidelis, the OFA commemorative book, part 25

D-11 days till launch. I attended a press conference at The Old Frees' Association this afternoon. The occasion was to announce the start of the Bicentenary celebrations of the Penang Free School by the chairman of the PFS Bicentenary Committee, Dato' Haji Abdul Rafique bin Abdul Karim, who incidentally is also the chairman of the school's Board of Governors. From now until 2016, Rafique will be taking charge of all matters regarding the Bicentenary celebrations.

But why are we starting the preparations from today? After all, October 2016 is still more than four years away. According to Rafique, the Penang Free School is steeped with so much history and  tradition that one year is not enough for all the celebrations. Moreover, by kickstarting the celebrations from today, the PFS Bicentenary Committee hopes to create enough public awareness, especially among the Old Frees who are not aware of the significance of 2016.

The press conference then shifted its focus onto Fidelis, the coffee table book on which my co-editor, Molly Ooi, and I have been working on since November. The mock-up copy was flashed to the reporters and the news team from RTM.

Photo by William Tan

Rafique announced that the book will be launched by the Raja of Perlis at a Gala Dinner which shall be held at the E&O Hotel on 31 Mar 2012. Apart from him, other dignitaries who are attending will be the Penang Governor (he is the honorary patron of The Old Frees' Association) and the Penang Chief Minister (he being a Trustee of the Penang Free School Trust Fund). Hopefully, we'll also have the Human Resource Minister present too.

The book is now with the printers. I've been hearing some rumours that the book may not be ready until well after the launch but the OFA president, Rajendren, said he has received an assurance from The Phoenix Press just this morning that delivery of the books will be made on schedule on 29 March. Well, the printer had better deliver or else the consequence will be totally unthinkable.

One final thought for the day. It's time to stop calling this project a "coffee table book." This is no longer a coffee table book. It is a commemorative book and it now bears an official name: "Fidelis, the Commemorative Book of The Old Frees' Association." So Fidelis it will be known from now on in this blog.

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