During the good ol’ days back when I was in still studying at St. Gabriel’s Secondary, I was always intrigued or amused by the uniforms of other schools as I found some to be quite funny for various reasons.
A little backstory – I had the chance to take Music as an ‘O’ level subject at CHIJ St. Nicholas’ as my school did not offer it. It was such a memorable experience because I had the chance of meeting new friends from different schools. Now now, I know what you are thinking now. It definitely wasn’t memorable because I was a guy who suddenly had the chance to meet girls. On the contrary, I was extremely shy and nervous because I studied in an all-boys environment since primary school. On my first day at St. Nicks, my legs somehow managed to forget how to walk down stairs when I saw a group of girls walking past me that I slipped and fell. The giggles that I elicited from them will forever ring in my ears.
Jokes aside, my best memories were some of the classmates I met from Maris Stella, Catholic High and Holy Innocents. I remembered how I enjoyed teasing the guy from Catholic High because of his hairy legs which were visible because they had no long pants even in upper secondary.
It was recently announced in the news that another 22 secondary schools would be merged into 11 over the next 2 years due to declining cohort sizes. Singaporeans just aren’t producing enough babies to maintain a healthy number of students in all our schools! 😦
I always find the announcement of such news extremely disheartening. Once the merger is completed, regardless whether the name of the newly merged school will be changed or not, it is rather certain that the uniforms of both merged schools will be lost in the process as there will be changes made to the existing uniform to reflect the new identify and direction of the newly formed schools.
For those who are extremely nostalgic and worry that a part of your memories might be lost when these schools merged, fret not because of the recent launch of ‘My School Uniform’, the first-ever photography project in Singapore that has managed to cover more than 140 secondary schools, which is about approximately 85% of all the secondary schools in Singapore. A project supported by the National Heritage Board and spearheaded by Yix Quek, a creative and arts educator, its objective is to document the past and present – the way we were through what we wore – for future generations. Secondary schools were chosen as experiences of adolescence last a lifetime. They are our important formative years where we grapple with our innocence and struggle to define ourselves.
For most schools, the book showcases 3 different kinds of uniforms that students might have a chance to wear during their time in school.
- Councillor attire with the school ties and blazers that students might wear for official school events
- The day to day formal attire that students should be wearing if they have no Physical Education (PE) / CCA classes on that day
- Of course, the PE kit they wear for any sporting activities in school
This book strikes a chord in my heart because how the loss of uniforms is directly related to the closure of schools in Singapore, which Fiona had compiled on this blog. Apart from being able to admire the diverse and interesting uniforms from the different schools, I really liked the interesting trivia and information provided at the back of the book about the history of school badges. In particular, I loved the section on ‘Crests of Change’ which shed some information of how some school badges have evolved and changed over time due to various reasons. For instance, I did not really know that the St. Gabriel’s badge I used to wear while schooling has made way for a brand new crest which reflects the common historical heritage of Assumption English School, Montfort Secondary and St. Gabriel’s Secondary.
I strongly recommend everyone to get a copy of your book while it is still available on the shelves at Kinokuniya, Popular bookstore and Basheer Graphic Books as this is a book that surely can be passed down onto future generations. Besides, the fascinating nuggets of the schools’ history and strengths that accompany the well-taken shots (photographed by Nicky Loh, Louis Kwok, Soh Qiuling and Benny Loh) enable this book to be a comprehensive guide for primary school leavers who are still deciding on what secondary school to go to after the PSLE.
Here are some more previews of the Secondary schools you can find in the book:
If ever the day comes when students in Singapore no longer have to wear uniforms but are able to choose what they wear to schools such as the kids in the U.S., this book will really be a treasure trove of memories for you to think back about your time when you were in school. Hopefully future editions of this book will be able to include the other schools which were not covered in this book so no schools will be left out.
Thanks for reading!
Sale price: S$28.50 (free delivery with purchase of 5 copies or more)
To order, please leave your name, contact number and e-mail address on this form
Basheer Graphic Books
Bras Basah Complex, 231 Bain St, Singapore 180231
Tel: 6336 1917
Operating hours: 10:00AM – 8:00PM
Enjoy 20% discount when you quote “fionaseah.com” at Basheer Graphic Books
Hitting shelves at all major bookstores including Kinokuniya and Popular soon