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College History

College Motto & School Crest


The school's motto "The best is yet to be" is adapted from Robert Browning's poem 'Rabbi ben Ezra'.

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His Hand
Who saith, "A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half, trust God:
See all, nor be afraid!"

The quotation "The best is yet to be" is attributed to Henry Martyn Hoisington in 1929. The ACS motto is a reminder that whatever success achieved cannot be final, but that ACSians should always strive for even better performance and fight against being proud and superior. It has remained as the rallying call to ACSians and was incorporated into the ACS shield in 1959.

The ACS shield was devised by Mr Yap Pheng Geck when he was teaching in ACS.

Placed in chief azure above the three letters of the school name is a golden creature with a lion head, eagle wings and a dragon body with claws, representing the fact that the School was founded when Singapore was a British colony, by the American Methodist Mission and during the Manchu Dynasty in China. Technically, this creature is an heraldic wyvern.

The lower part of the shield consists of two panels, blue and gold, which represent heaven and earth. The colours also symbolize both spiritual and material accomplishment. The letters "ACS" in red symbolize life forming a bridge between both; they also symbolize the blood of Christ uniting heaven and earth. In addition to the school name, the letters ACS are also variously said to spell out Academic achievements, Christian Character, and Sportsmanship or Service beyond self.

Finally, the overall shield shape represents the knightly virtues of chivalry, honour, loyalty, valour and manliness.

ACS Anthem

The school's anthem was written by teacher Henry Martyn Hoisington in 1926 in anticipation of the visit by Bishop Oldham. It was sung in the presence of the Founder himself when he visited ACS in 1927. Sung to the tune of the Canadian "Maple Leaf Forever" it remains a powerful musical icon which helps define ACS.

These are the lyrics of the school anthem:

In days of yore from Western Shores
Oldham dauntless hero came
And planted a beacon of Truth and Light
In this Island of the Main
Here may it stand from year to year
Emblem of grand endeavour
The regions round echo the sound
Of ACS forever!

Sing ACS forever more,
Our ACS forever.
God save our land and heaven bless
Our ACS forever.

Our students hail from China's Plains
And the Land of Rising Sun
We have many sons from India's Strand
And the Islands of the Main
Our hearts our hopes our aims are one
No discord e'er will sever.
We'll stand together for the cause
Of ACS forever!

(Repeat chorus)

ACS Houses

The ACS Houses were named after distinguished people who had contributed significantly to ACS. All the ACS Schools have the same House system.

Thoburn House (Thoburn)
Thoburn House was named after Bishop Dr James Thoburn. He was responsible for initiating and accompanying the pioneer mission to Singapore. He (and Bishop Oldham) were responsible in the setting up of the Methodist Church as a Mission in Singapore in 1885. Bishop Dr Thoburn’s vision (and Bishop Oldham) made possible the birth of ACS. Had it not been for him, there might not have been an ACS. It was his personal initiative as an important leader in the Methodist Conference in India that resulted in the planting of the first Methodist Church in Singapore in 1885.

Oldham House (Oldham)
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 40 th anniversary of the School, and again in 1935 at the Golden Jubilee of the Methodist Mission.

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.

Tan Kah Kee House (TKK)
Mr Tan Kah Kee was a folk hero, not only in Singapore but also in the Asean region and in China. A visionary, he was a pioneer industrialist, philanthropist, social reformer and, above all, as a patriarch. Mr Tan was keenly interested in education and had given large donations to the Anglo-Chinese School and the then proposed Anglo-Chinese College.

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 is 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 Barker Road in memory of his father in 1950 and later on, the building at the Lee Kong Chian block of 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.

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’s financed the 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).

To this day, the Shaw Foundation continues to make generous donations to the ACS family of Schools, in support of educational pursuits, the arts and the building of a brand-new Olympic-sized pool at the new ACS Barker Road Campus.

Tan Chin Tuan House (TCT)
Tan Sri (Dr) Tan Chin Tuan set up the Tan Foundation in 1976. Between the mid-1950s and mid-1970s he was appointed Chairman of OCBC Bank and eight other blue chip Singapore companies. Tan Sri (Dr) Tan Chin Tuan is an ACSian.

A magnanimous philanthropist, an astute businessman and a distinguished civic leader with an impeccable record of public service to Singapore, Tan Chin Tuan lived by the highest standards of personal conduct. Well-known for his integrity and compassion, he has been the benefactor, in many cases anonymously, of a host of charitable and educational institutions.

In 1950, he played a significant role in the Building Committee and gave generously to the construction of the original Barker Road Campus. Today, his generosity to his alma mater, Anglo-Chinese School, is commemorated in the gift of the Tan Chin Tuan Hall, the Tan Cheng Siong Theatre in memory of his father at Barker Road, the Tan Chin Tuan Auditoriums at ACS (Independent) and at Anglo-Chinese Junior 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 Chin Tuan represents the values of kindness, diligence and dedication and has become a powerful symbol of the spirit of Singapore’s early pioneers.

» House Allocation and House System at ACJC (2010)