The Founder of Equator College
Dato’ Chuah Kooi Yong, the founder is an example of somebody who can teach people to see the beauty in ordinary things and use it to create something extraordinary with their hands and mind.
Born into a family of 10 in a fishing village at Balik Pulau in Penang, Dato Chuah is a caring husband and a loving father. These virtuous attributes are also apparent in his art and retrospect, it is these attributes that has helped him to establish and maintain the success of Equator.
Graduated from Hornsey College of Art (current Middlesex University U.K) with a diploma in Graphic Design, (equivalent to a Degree) in the 1960s, Dato Chuah was the first few Malaysians to receive such a qualification. During his recent alumni reunion dinner in Kuala Lumpur, he was even commended by the Vice Chancellor of Middlesex University, Professor Michael Driscoll for his proven service towards the Malaysian Private education sector/ who would have thought that the scrawny ‘kampung’ boy would grow up to be the success he is today.
Dato Chuah had a vision of 34 years ago to set up a pre-university college to cater to the more aesthetically minded students. By his establishment of Equator College he has made it possible for all the interested students to study the subjects of their choice His main objectives to cultivate the creative minds of futures – to train young school leavers to spearhead the nation’s need for a better class of quality driven artistic designers. With the vast experience in the art and design discipline, Dato Chuah always been far-sighted and having the students’ best interest at heart. Foreseeing the need to keep abreast of the times, he has invested millions of ringgit to make Equator a better educational institute for the students by equipping it with state-of-the-art facilities.
As an educationalist…
For his more than 30 years of unrelenting dedication to provide continuing education and services to the art community as he was acknowledged by the Royal Society of Arts U.K. with their fellowship carrying their FRSA title. However, nothing is more gratifying than knowing the hard work paid off, and it has for Dato’ Chuah. Equator graduates are fully employed with some securing jobs even before they graduate. Most graduates even performed exceptionally well overseas, by receiving high distinction degrees, first class honours degrees, Masters and Doctorates. All these are proof and recognition given to Equator’s quality of education, and are in line with Dato’ Chuah’s bigger objective of cultivating more knowledgeable, skillful, creative manpower for the country.
Success has never made Dato’ Chuah forget his roots and background. Constantly donating his own salary to charitable organisations, he is always almost the first to volunteer when it comes to helping others, from raising funds to building a new school wing, to donating substantial amounts of money to help the Tsunami victims. Dato Chuah, representing Equator, constantly supports charity organisations.
An artist of heart, Dato’ Chuah is a Fine Art practitioner through and through. Since the autumn of 2005, Dato’ Chuah has finally put aside some quality time from his busy schedule to indulge in his love for painting. He has completed a series of portraiture of famous and influential people in the Malaysian community, especially in Penang. Some of the well known faces he has painted include Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Koh Tsu Koon, the Chief Minister of Penang, Tun Dr Lim Chong Ewee, the former Chief Minister of Penang and Dato’ Sri Dr Lim Keng Yaik, the president of the people’s Movement Party (Gerakan). Dato’ Chuah recently donated his painting of Dato’ Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik, former President of the Gerakan Party, as a farewell gift.