Written by: Dorothy
Edited by: Shabira
The night of 14th October 2015 might just be an ordinary night for most people but on this day, 470 KEVIIans swarmed the well-lit, air conditioned dining hall of KE with their commemorative KEVII 100th year red shirts. It has been an entire century since King Edward VII Hall has been in existence, and this particular night was chosen to honour this existence with a lovely catered supper.
The first thing that greeted one’s eyes when he/she walks through the door to the dining hall would be the comprehensive timeline of KEVII’s history exhibited at the side of the hall, detailing the struggles and activities of the hall since 1916. Photos from the last century had been dug up and used to augment the timeline, a task that was probably very difficult and tedious (props to the Special Events Committee!). KEVIIans were milling around the exhibit, eagerly reading about the history of the hall they loved so dearly.
A scrumptious supper, consisting of seafood noodles, chicken wings, chicken nuggets and cream puffs, was served. Laughter and chatter filled the air as KEVIIans sat around in various groups, enjoying the food and looking at yet more historical pictures pasted on the tables. All the Resident Fellows also turned up for the supper, and were seen to be enjoying themselves with their plates of noodles.
Throughout the semester, numerous gifts have been presented to the residents to celebrate 100 years of KEVII, including a mug, lunchbox, drawstring bag, and a polo tee. At the supper, residents were provided with yet another token – a beautiful reversible jacket in black and red, the hall colours, bearing the KEVII crest.
Block GH’s resident Wanlin was gushing over the jacket to her friend, saying that it was well designed and its reversibility enables it to match more outfits. When asked, she said that she was grateful that she ended up in KEVII, and it felt like her second home. She enjoys playing badminton and having dinners with her hall mates. Her wishes for the future of the hall would be that KEVII would continue to prosper and grow in numbers and diversity. Her friend, Huiyee, another GH resident, nodded in agreement and added that she hoped the fun activities they did in the past would make a comeback, despite it being deemed “inappropriate” nowadays (look below for more information on the “fun activities”).
The mellow night ended with the photobooth, where residents took photos with their fellow hall mates and friends, thus capturing fond memories in the process (who knows, it might be displayed at the 200th Year Supper?).
A Brief Timeline
1916: Federated-Malay State (FMS) Hostel, as KEVII was called back then, was set up mainly for the male Medicine students and had a capacity of 72 residents. Hostel fees were $22 and for an additional $3 laundry would be done for the residents throughout the semester.
1938: A bungalow was allocated to allow ladies to stay in the compound as well. This hostel was called the Holne Chase, and housed 40 ladies. The name Holne Chase was apparently coined when the ladies of the hostel drew the attention of their male counterparts and were being “chased”.
1942: When World War II broke out, the hostel unfortunately lost some of its students – they died in the Japanese bombings whilst trying to do good deeds like helping others and honouring their fallen friends.
1956: The FMS hostel was demolished to make way for a newer building.
1957: FMS was renamed to King Edward VII Hall, to honour the old KEVII College of Medicine and to keep the name of the colonial king to appease the British Administrators at the time. KEVII had a larger capacity of 250 students.
1960: Girls moved into KEVII, reducing the need for a second accommodation space.
1961: Hall spirit was exemplified in the sporting events between KEVII and a college in Kuala Lumpur – the Fifth College of the University of Malaya.
1969: Students of Sepoy Lines Campus were made members of KEVII Hall. The introduction of non-resident membership of the Hall was to increase participant numbers. These non-resident members could attend hall meals and events, and could vote for the JCRC (then known as Student Union) elections.
1977: A freshman reported cases of ragging during orientation to the authorities, which resulted in the JCRC being fined a total of $1100. The incoming JCRC members had to sort out this mess and they tried to raise the funds, but there was insufficient support. This ended in the resignation of many committee members. The members responsible for incurring the fines were then made to pay out of their own pockets. The next year, individuals had to be begged to join the JCRC, as it was held in such low esteem after the scandal.
1984: A fire broke out on 16th February. No one was hurt and the fire brigade put out the fire, but it took 6 months for investigations and renovations to be completed before the residents could return to hall.
1985: KEVII had to fight with what is now known as Kent Ridge Hall to keep the name KEVII.
1987: KEVII moved from the Sepoy Lines Campus to where we are today! Now the Hall can house 470 residents and boasts a great number of facilities such as our Multi-Purpose Courts, Communal Hall and lounges.
1990: The incessant number of steps in our Hall has given us a reputation!
2013: The Hall Mascot MyKE was born.
Past CCAs and Fun Activities
Some past CCAs include:
Library Club – there was a library on campus back then, run by this club.
Food Subcommittee – liaised with Domestic Manager and residents to provide wholesome food.
Lounge Subcommittee – managed music system in hall.
Finance Subcommittee – managed money of other subcommittees.
Hall Beautification Subcommittee – decorated the hall for different events.
KE Sub-Aqua Club – diving!
Some of the highlights of living in hall back then were the crazy and fun events that took place. For example, the Handicap Games was an event where participants assumed a handicapped role (blindfolded, hands tied etc.) and were pitted against each other in a series of hilarious activities, to the mirth and laughter of the spectators. Also, there were Block Pageants, where participants would have to cross-dress. Another interesting activity would have been the beer drinking contest. (Whose idea was it to ban alcohol in hall?) One particular activity which would be making a comeback in March of 2016 would be the food-and-fun fair!
Orientation back then was also a lot more intense, where punishments were given out freely and practical jokes were played on the freshmen. In one of the games, participants had to bite down on a frog by its hind legs while completing a race!
KEVII has a very interesting and enriching history, which made it the special hall it is today. Cheers to the past 100 years and here’s to 100 more years in the future!
Credits to KE Vision for the photos.