Chung Ling High School

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Chung Ling High School
S.M.J.K. Chung Ling Pulau Pinang
Clhs Logo HD.svg
Jalan Kampung Bharu
Air Itam, Penang, George Town
Type Public school
Motto 爱吾锺灵 (Love Our Chung Ling)
Established 9 February 1917
Principal Ooi Poh Beng
Teh Min Hwa (Acting)
Enrollment approx. 3500
Number of students 3000+
Affiliations Chung Ling Butterworth High School
Chung Ling (Private) High School
Founders Mr. Tan Sin Cheng
Mr. Khoo Beng Cheang
Mr. Chee Yong Aik
Mr. Lim Joo Teik
Mr. Khaw Seng Lee

Chung Ling High School (simplified Chinese: 锺灵中学; traditional Chinese: 鍾靈中學; pinyin: Zhōng líng zhōng xué, Sekolah Menengah Jenis Kebangsaan Chung Ling in Malay) is a boys' secondary school in Malaysia, located in George Town, Penang.

The school[edit]

The students in this school are selected carefully by the administration of the school. Only students with straight A's or close to straight A's from the UPSR examination would be selected into this school. Thus, the quality of the students and hence the standard of the school are among the highest in Malaysia.

Chung Ling High School is one of the handful of schools that conform to the government's policy of 60-40. The 60-40 Policy encourages students to take up Science Streams as compared to Art Streams to the ratio of 60:40.[1] In fact, Chung Ling High School has far surpassed this number and has over 90% of students studying in the Science Stream.[2]

The school enrols approximately 3,000 students as of 2010. The students are served by 190 over academic and non-academic staff.


The early years[edit]

In 1915, members of the Union Tan Sin Cheng, Khoo Beng Cheang, Chee Yong Aik, Lim Joo Teik and Khaw Seng Lee and others expressed a resolution to establish a school. It was named “Chung Ling School” at the suggestion of Chee.

The school was inaugurated on 9 February 1917, occupying the upper storey of the Penang Philomathic Union, with an enrolment of 81 and a staff of three. The first principal was Mr Goh Ah Long.

The enrolment had increased to 130 by 1918, and 65 Macalister Road was purchased with the funds raised by the Union members, to be used as classrooms and hostels. Chung Ling High School was formally established on 20 January 1923. The formation of the high school allowed primary school students to continue their lower-secondary studies in the school. Soon the enrolment was again outgrown the classroom capacity, and a shop to the left of the premise was rented. The Lim Trustee later donated funds to build two classrooms at the site. In a 1931 joint-effort, the Chung Ling Old Boys’ Association raised funds for the extension of the classrooms, while the Board of Directors sponsored the modification of the aft corridor into rooms. The government extended assistance in 1932, renovating the lower storey of the left wing into science laboratories, while the lower storey of the right wing was made a library. In addition, shop No. 63 was rented to create additional classrooms.

The Board of Directors and Principal David Chen decided to find a site for the construction of a permanent campus. Under the efforts of the Construction Committee and the Board of Directors, aided by the Chinese community, the 11-acre (45,000 m2) site at Kampung Baru was purchased and construction started on 10 October 1934.

In 1935, the school experimented with a higher secondary course to determine its feasibility. In that September, the construction of the hall and classrooms were completed. A plaque was displayed above the hall entrance to commemorate the generous act of Li Teik Seah, having donated ten thousand dollars for the project. The twenty classrooms were named after benefactors and organisations who donated in excess of one thousand dollars. Also newly constructed were the office, the hostels, washrooms, basketball and badminton courts. The school moved in on 2 October.

Second World War[edit]

In 1940 the Second World War grew more intense. The school temporarily moved into 41 Northam Road (which is currently occupied by the Old Frees’ Association) for four months. 102 Burma Road was used as hostels. The school moved again in 1941 as the campus was taken over by the British Army to be used as a military hospital.

Penang fell into Japanese hands on December 1941, and the school had to cease operation for three years and eight months. The school’s assets at Kampung Baru and Northam Road were frozen, while the collections built-up over 30 years were ransacked. The Japanese conducted Sook Ching operation over 4–5 April 1942. Ten teachers of the school were arrested. Under torture only two of them survived. The students’ casualties exceeded forty.

Post-war period[edit]

The British recovered Malaya on 3 September 1945. Principal David Chen made his return from Cameron Highlands on 15 September, and recalled Wang Shi-I and Wang Yoong Nien and others to prepare for the school re-opening. The ceremony was held on 11 November, with an official inauguration ceremony on 8 December.

In 1948, Principal Chen and the Board of Directors organised the expansion of the hall and the addition of 16 two-storied classrooms. The project was completed on May 1950. The new hall, which could sit 2,000, was named Huai Ze Tang to commemorate the generosity of Li Teik Seah as well as the communities.

The turbulent years[edit]

The school was hit hard when Principal David Chen was assassinated by means of a pistol during his way to the Chinese Teacher’s Association of Penang meeting. The main theory is that he was killed by the communists who were displeased with his anti-communist stand in education.[3] Another theory forwarded was that he was assassinated by the British for conforming to extremist Chinese Education views. Both theories are unable to be verified as the assassin committed suicide in police custody. The other assassin was never arrested.

In 1953, a hostel with a capacity of 250 (currently occupied by Chung Ling [Private] High School) and a dining hall (canteen) with a capacity of 800 was completed. The dining hall was named “Huai En Ting” in memoriam of late Principal Chen.

Between 1954 to 1956, the school renovated the middle section of the classroom clusters, as well as adding a clock tower and 16 semi-detached houses for teachers’ and staffs’ family.

The school terminated its primary school courses in 1955, and at the behest of the Malayan Government, the school, under the leadership of Principal Wang Yoong Nien, converted the school into a National Type School in 1956, with the government supplying teachers and the school supplying everything else. After retirement, Principal Wang moved to the United States and died there in the early 1990s.[4]

Change and expansion[edit]

Expansion of facilities[edit]

The modern laboratories, auditorium, music room and canteen which in aggregate cost over 300,000 ringgit, were opened on 11 March 1962, by the Education Minister. A modern living skills workshop complex, completed at a cost of 200,000 ringgit, was opened by Mr Loh Boon Siew on 22 June 1968. The Sixth Form Block was completed on 14 August 1971, and was opened by Mr Cheah Phee Cheok. An indoor multi-purpose volleyball, badminton and basketball court was added to Huai Ze Hall on April 1977.

A room dedicated to the learning of technology, a collaboration between the school and Intel Malaysia, was opened on 19 August 1987. Such a facility and the collaboration in setting it up was the first in the country. Under the sponsorship of Kwong Wah Yit Poh, the school upgraded its electronic administration system into a local-area network on 1991 to increase the administrative efficiency of the school. The library received an upgrade on July 1993 and was air-conditioned. In addition, an alumni database and electronic network was set up to facilitate communications between alumni worldwide. The school set up its website on March 1996, and the library acquired Internet connections. On February 1997, the offices of teachers and staff, the staff lounge and the exercise room were renovated and air-conditioned.

The school launched a major expansion from 1997. The single-storey classrooms near David Chen Garden were demolished in June 1996. Replacing it were a four-storey building containing 24 classrooms, completed in October 1998. Similar arrangements were employed for the old classrooms on the other side of the school, of which the demolition works started on December 1998 and the new building was completed on late 1999.

Formation of the Private and Butterworth sisters[edit]

In 1961, Chung Ling (Private) High School was formed to take in those students who wished to receive their education totally in their mother tongue.[citation needed]

In 1986, Chung Ling High School Butterworth Branch was opened. It was later renamed Chung Ling Butterworth High School to reflect its independent identity. Together with the Private School, the three Chung Lings became known as Tri-Chung Ling High Schools which share a Board of Governors but are essentially three independent schools.

Changes in curriculum[edit]

The Education Minister, his deputy and alumnus Michael Chen inspected the school on 8 April 1966, when the Minister announced that the school would commence pre-university course the next year. The course commenced 16 January 1967, enrolling 36 students, of which five were women. It was the first time that the school had enrolled women students.

The school included extracurricular activities as one of the weighted subjects on 1 January 1989.


The school celebrated its 50th anniversary on 25 August 1967, and held the third Annual Alumni Revisiting Day on the occasion. A diamond-jubilee celebration of the establishment of the school was held from 19–20 June 1992. The event concurred with the 10th Annual Alumni Revisiting Day. The school held two major events three years later. The first was the first Tri-Chung Ling High Schools Joint Sports Carnival, held on 15 August. On the same day, a memorial service was held in memoriam of the teachers and students died during the Second World War.

Wang Yoong Nien retired as principal on December 1970. His position was occupied by Yeap Eng Hoe, who taught pre-university mathematics. Yeap Eng Hoe retired as principal on 14 September 1998. He had served Chung Ling for 29 years, and had been a principal for 27 years. He was succeeded by Teh Kwan Like.

The new millennium[edit]

Apart from the two new buildings mentioned above, two new basketball fields, adjacent to each other, was built in 1999. A new clock tower, sponsored by Datuk Lim Siak Yu, was added in 2000. Other works include the completion of an amphitheatre, a guard house, covered walkways, landscaping projects, upgrade of old classrooms and air-conditioning systems of the library. The clock tower complex was renovated, with the teachers’ offices modified into administrative offices, the gerko center renovated into guests’ rooms, re-partition of office on the first floor and addition of a meeting room. A dental treatment room was added in 2001.

A memorial service was held for Principal David Chen on 4 February 2002, fifty years after his assassination, to show appreciation of his efforts to improve Chinese education and the school. Among those attending were Board of Directors of the Tri-Chung Ling High Schools, representatives of the Parent-Teachers Association, alumni worldwide, the Chen family, teachers and students of the Tri-Chung Lings and volunteers of Chinese education. The group was led by Datuk Oo Jooi Tee, the Chairman of the Memorial Service Committee, to pay respects to Principal Chen at his resting place at Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah (Northam Road), Penang.

Naming of the school[edit]

The name of the school, Chung Ling, has been defined by late Principal David Chen, as follows:

The school has adopted the name Chung Ling, but what is the rationale behind it? It appears that most students are unaware of the reason. On one occasion I came across an article, in the Hu Zhou, Zhe-jiang Newspaper, of which its description on the region seems to be appropriate for the purpose of defining the name of our school. It reads:

“The scenery of the surroundings of Huzhou, Zhejiang, is picturesque, and it demonstrates a very desirable aura, which explains the phenomenon where the area is the origin to a great number of talents. According to an unofficial census, fourteen Central Councillors came from that area, a truly astounding figure. This amply demonstrates the aura and the availability of talent in that area.”

We could thus infer that a concentration of desirable aura (Chung has another meaning of ‘concentration’, and the saying ‘a concentration of aura encourages the emergence of talents’ is referring to the consequences of the concentration of aura.) may lead to the availability of a pool of talents, and the concerned area will naturally attract a lot of attention across the country.

Penang has enthusiastically been given the sobriquet “Pearl of the Orient,” and, as we embraced this piece of land, we have obtained the privileged combination of a desirable ambiance, a strategic location and the unity of the people. If the students studying under such an auspicious condition could not make full use of their advantage and study hard, how could possibly they benefit from the desirable aura? Is not that such idleness hampers the process of developing talents and bring pride to the country? In view of this, the adoption of the name “Chung Ling” suggested an extremely strong hope on the future [of the students]. Of course, our school is not a nursery of Central Councillors, but it is not our objective to limit ourselves to producing a limited group of privileged class. Our mission is to educate each and every one of our students to become useful citizens, so as to form a backbone of the driving force that enables us to compete alongside the great powers.

There is a depth of meaning behind the adoption of a bell as our crest. It is hoped that, analogous to the propagation of the ring of a bell, one could enlighten himself as well as the world; if an enlightenment of such a scale is impossible for one, he should at least enlighten his community. Everyone should adopt the noble vision of “Nation and Community above all”, and step forward in unity. If everyone could embrace the vision, how possibly could an enemy be successful in weakening us?

I really hope that by interpreting the name and crest of our school, our students could build themselves a solid foundation, and not to deviate from the above-mentioned principles![5]

The identity[edit]

The school shares its name, logo, flag, anthem, and the Ten Commandments with Chung Ling Butterworth High School and Chung Ling Private High School.


The flag of the school

School anthem (校歌)[edit]

On the island of Penang, the Chinese community abounds, how do we improve civility,
In this 21st Century, in this competitive study environment, we dare not lag behind others,
Interaction of cultures, conversing in Chinese and English, we become new citizens,
We work hard in creating, a glorious and shining future, we love our Chung Ling.-->

Standing firm and sturdy, we can hear the sounds of reading from afar,
From the commandments, and the school rules, we shall move forward in reality,
Interaction of cultures, conversing in Chinese and English, we become new citizens,
We work hard in creating a glorious and shining future, we love our Chung Ling.

The School Anthem was written by a teacher, Mr. Wang Qiyu. It is set to Annie Lisle, which is the melody of the anthems of schools such as Cornell University, Soochow University and Hwa Chong Institution among many.

Ten Commandments of Chung Ling[edit]

The Commandments of Chung Ling (锺灵中学学生的十大信条).[6][7]

Students are well-disciplined.
Students respect their elders.
Students are sincere.
Students are hardworking.
Students are courteous.
Students are courageous.
Students are clean.
Students are friendly.
Students are optimistic.
Students are self-improving.

Administrators of the school[edit]

  • Principal: Ooi Poh Beng (Retired 27 June 2014)
  • Principal: Teh Min Hwa (Acting)
  • Vice Principal (Administration): Soo Seng Poh
  • Vice Principal (Students Affairs): Teh Min Hwa
  • Vice Principal (Cocurriculum): Cheah Kok Kheng
  • Vice Principal (Form 6) : Chua Chong Joo
  • Vice Principal (Afternoon session): Na Lean Hong
  • Afternoon Session Asst. Vice Principal: Adrian Joseph
  • Supervisor (Science and Mathematics): Khor Chin Soon
  • Supervisor (Languages): Tan Lon Eng
  • Supervisor (Humanities): Kong Mei Yuet
  • Supervisor (Vocational): Ong Lean Hong

The campus[edit]

The school has 86 classrooms, 14 Science Laboratories (of which four are dedicated to Biology, five to Physics and five to Chemistry), five Workshops for Living Skills, one Field, three Basketball Courts, four Indoor Badminton Courts and five Computer Laboratories.[8]

Huai Ze Hall (怀泽堂)[edit]

The hall was named in memory of the Chung Ling students and teachers who died for the school in the Second World War. To the front of the hall lies the clock tower which also houses the staff and administration of the school. The hall was designed in the early 1940s to have 14 entrances, which were spaced out evenly across the side of the hall. Many of these 14 were never used, and in the subsequent renovation in the Year 2004, six were sealed off, and there only remain eight. Glass windows were fixed, along with curtains to replace the grills and bamboo blinds.

Blocks A and B[edit]

There have been two sets of Blocks A and B. The first pair were single-storey buildings flanking the clock tower, and at the end of each, there were two two-storey science labs. In the 1960s, they were demolished, and new buildings were built in their place. The latter set of Blocks A and B were these, two three-storey buildings, each with 5 classes to a level. The old science labs were renovated to fit into both blocks. Today, Blocks A and B consist of 25 classrooms, two discipline rooms, a knowledge centre, the gerko room and the Vice Principals' Room.

Blocks D and E[edit]

These two blocks flank both sides of the hall and are two-storey buildings with four classrooms per level. The classrooms found here are the oldest ones in the school still in use and are in bad condition.

Blocks C and F[edit]

Blocks C and F are the newest buildings of the school, with Block F being finished in 1998 and Block C in 1999. They are the highest buildings in the school at four storeys and six classrooms to a level. The predecessors to these new buildings were two-storey ones. The topmost level of Block C holds the Computer Labs 1 to 3, with 4 and 5 being kept at the former science labs at Block A.

Block G[edit]

This is the oldest building in the school, and its ageing condition is evident. This block's classrooms were used till 2004, where the last occupants were two Lower Six classes. Its classrooms have been converted into bookshop, gymnasium, counselling section, school cooperative, prefects' room, prayer room, dental clinic and bookloans room. A pathway which splits Block G into two leads down to the air-conditioned music room, Amateur Wireless Society room and numerous sports stores.

Sixth Form Block[edit]

The Sixth Form Block houses most of the sixth form students and eight of the school's 14 labs. The Sixth Form Block holds a library for the students and has seven lecture halls which have been partitioned to form nine classrooms.

Dragon Boat Tragedy[edit]

On 17 January 2010, the school's dragon boat team capsized, having collided with a tugboat amid strong currents. The tragedy claimed six lives in total. Among the dead were school teacher Chin Aik Siang and students Jason Ch'ng, Brendon Yeoh, Goh Yi Zhang, Wang Yong Xiang and Chiah Zi Jun.

Excellent Cluster School Award[edit]

5 April 2013 marks an important date in the history of Chung Ling High School where both Penang and Butterworth Chung Ling High Schools were awarded the Excellent Cluster School Awards. The awards were presented by the Chief Director of Ministry of Education, Tan Sri Abdul Ghafar Bin Mahmud in Putrajaya. The schools were represented by the principals of both schools, Mr Ooi Poh Beng and Mr Loh Kooi Cheng. This award has further recognised the school as one of the top schools in Malaysia.

Notable alumni[edit]

  • A/Prof Chumpon Chantharakulpongsa, head neurosurgeon involved in longest ever surgical procedure to separate craniopagus twins, Ganga & Jamuna in 2001.
  • Datuk Lee Kah Choon, Current director of Penang Development Corporation and InvestPenang Chairman, former Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Malaysia.
  • Khaw Boon Wan(许文远), Minister for National Development, Singapore. [9]
  • Lee Khoon Choy(李炯才), former Senior Minister of State, Singapore.[10]
  • Tan Sri Dato' Michael Chen Wing Sum(丹斯里曾永森), former minister, Speaker of the Malaysian Senate.
  • Tan Ching Gan, author and social activist.[11]
  • Professor Wu Teh Yao, acting Vice-Chancellor of the former Nanyang University and the former head of Political Science department, University of Singapore (1971–1975).[12]
  • Ming Tatt Cheah, renowned immunologist at Stanford University.
  • Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, former Chief Minister of Penang and President of Gerakan, Malaysia.
  • Chew Kok Wei, first Gold Medalist in International Physics Olympiad in Malaysia's history. In the same year(42nd International Physics Olympiad), he also won European Physics Society Prize (for The Most Balanced Score).[13]
  • Low Taek Jho, successful investor and financier, group adviser to several international corporations involved in global private equity, M&A and buyouts. Graduated from The Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania.
  • Cheung Ho Leung, former Senior Vice-President & General Manager of Apple Inc.. Graduated from University of Birmingham in 1979. Worked in Apple Inc.. for 16 years. He is currently the Corp Vice-President and General Manager of the “Integrated Digital Products Business Group” in Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd.(Foxconn), the world's largest maker of electronic components including Apple Inc.'s iPod, iPhone, iPad. He also assisted Foxconn in the selection as contract manufacturer of Apple Inc. products.
  • Dato Woon Wen Kin (温文京), music activist in Malaysia. Founded the Penang Symphony Orchestra, Penang Junior Orchestra and Penang Wind Orchestra.

Further development[edit]

Chung Ling College (锺灵学院)[edit]

On 26 October 2007, the Board of Governors of the Tri-Chung Ling High Schools announced that they had passed a motion to form a tertiary institution as a complement to the Tri-Chung Ling High Schools. The Chairman of the Board, Dato' Oo Jooi Tee, noted that while the board had already approved the establishment, the plan would be on hold until sponsorship could be found. However, he noted that this should not be difficult as there is great support for the establishment.

Chung Ling College will first be established on the grounds of Chung Ling High School, Penang in Air Itam. However, it may later be moved to larger, more suitable grounds.[14]

This plan is currently cancelled.


  1. ^ Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation: Malaysia's S&T Policy for the 21st Century.
  2. ^ School-released statistics, Chung Ling School Magazine 2005.
  3. ^ Yong and McKenna: The Kuomintang Movement in British Malaya 1912-1949. Singapore: Singapore University Press: p 218. ISBN 9971-69-137-X
  4. ^ Tan, Liok Ee: The Politics of Chinese Education in Malaya, 1945-61; pp. 209-242. Kuala Lumpur; New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. ISBN 983-56-0013-9
  5. ^ A translated version of "本校校名、校徽释义" by Principal David Chen, which is available online at
  6. ^ The Ten Commandments of Chung Ling are referred to in the school's website as The Article of Faith.
  7. ^ Student Guide of Chung Ling High School.
  8. ^ Chung Ling School Magazine, Editions 2002-05; CLHS School Website.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Wong Hong Teng: Profile of the Class of 1957, Chung Ling High School, Penang. ISBN 981-04-7710-4
  11. ^ Wong Hong Teng: ibid.
  12. ^ 锺灵中学(新加坡)校友会成立十周年纪念特刊.
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ Kwong Wah Yit Poh: 董事会通过决定 锺灵拟办学院 26 October 2007.

Coordinates: 5°24′13.35″N 100°17′42.67″E / 5.4037083°N 100.2951861°E / 5.4037083; 100.2951861

External links[edit]