Men Who Ran PFS and Inspired Generations


Throughout its 200-year history, Penang Free School has seen many illustrious headmasters come and go – but among the best known (and loved) were three visionaries.

Penang Free School (PFS) celebrates its bicentennial on October 21. This venerable institution has churned out generations of leading Malaysians: “Old Frees” include Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first Prime Minister of Malaysia; Dr Wu Lien-Teh, founder of the Anti-Opium Association in Penang and fighter against the bubonic plague; and Datuk Eddy Choong, four-time winner of the All-England Open Badminton Championships.

The history of the oldest English-language medium school in South-East Asia has been well-researched and documented – perhaps most comprehensively in volume two of Marcus Langdon’s encyclopaedic Penang, The Fourth Presidency of India, 1805-1830. Less has been said thus far about the dedicated men who made the school so successful.

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