HISTORY: Closed and Merged Schools in Singapore (PART 4)

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Hello everyone!

After a two-year hiatus from the series of posts on decommisioned schools, I am thrilled to announce my return with part IV featuring schools that were not mentioned in the first three instalments, as well as those impending closure (yes, it’s still happening). Thank you everyone for the overwhelming support once again, especially those who have contributed to this list.

Be sure to check out PART 1, PART 2 and PART 3 if you haven’t!

This post features more schools in Eastern Singapore, most of which are Chinese schools formed by villagers or Chinese clan associations which did not survive past 1981 due to population shift and growing preference towards English-stream schools. Some schools, though already closed, were “revived” when newly-erected schools adopt their Chinese names. Those that are still in existent pulled through because they were pragmatic enough to shift to a satellite town.

* * *

West Hill School (Sembawang)

Closed in early 1985

The primary school was founded in 1957 at the now-defunct Bah Tan Road. As it was built in the 1950s, it did not have modern facilities of the newer schools, thus making it more susceptible to damage. On 4 January 1985, a freak storm which had initially caused tiles and classroom lamps to fall subsequently tore off the school roof during school hours, forcing their students to share classrooms with nearby Canberra School. Thankfully no one was hurt because of the quick thinking of the school’s senior assistant who evacuated everyone occupying the third-floor classrooms to the ground floor before it happened. When the building was rendered unsafe and beyond repair, the then-Education Ministry decided to close the school and transfer their students to neighbouring schools such as Canberra School and Jiemin School in Yishun.

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circa 1962

1962

circa 1981

1981

circa 1985

P5, 1985

After the school’s closure, Naval Base Secondary School occupied the land until the construction of Sembawang MRT Station came into the picture.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Nee Soon School (Sembawang)

Closed in 1986

Established in 1954 along Nee Soon Lane in 1954 next to an army training camp (which I suppose would be in a high security and remote zone) and about 6 km away from Nee Soon Police Station, it wasn’t at the most convenient of locations.

It was completed the year before with 16 classrooms to accommodate 600 pupils.

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In 1958, the school changed the design of the female school uniform from a two-piece white blouse and grey skirt to a one-piece dark grey dress. This decision caused a bit of an uproar among parents who felt that the thick material used in the new uniform was impractical for the tropical climate in Singapore. However, I noticed the girls in a class photograph taken in the 1960s by George Pereira were dressed in both the old and new uniforms, so perhaps in a bid to appease the unhappy parents the principal eventually allowed both to be worn to school.

circa 1985

Uniform – before (right) and after (1985)

Collecting information about this school is no mean feat as it was known as several names including Nee Soon Primary School and Nee Soon English Primary School. On top of that, it was as if the school had magically vanished because virtually nothing about it can be found on the internet. What presently occupies the land where Nee Soon School once stood is just a flattened field with no development at all. The school never had any chance of revival.

[Update on 15 Oct 2020] A reader has come forward to provide more information on Nee Soon School. According to Mr A. Reeves (who was among the final batch of students in 1986) the school catered mainly to those staying in the Nee Soon kampong or in the Springleaf residence area. There were only a few students in each cohort (presumably during its last few years in existence). With only one or two classes for each level (i.e. 1A, 2A, etc.), no matter how well or poorly students did for their exams, they would always know which class they were going to eventually!

The whole lot of students were then moved to Peixin Primary School (which was, in turn, merged with Yishun Primary School) in the first semester of 1987 after the school closed in end 1986, perhaps, due to the fact that many students from the kampong were relocated to HDBs within Yishun.  The school was left vacant for a period of time before it was used as a camp for those who took NCC as an ECA.

circa 1986

1986

There used to be a Facebook page for Nee Soon Primary School but it has since been taken down (probably archived) due to inactivity. The remaining alumni group has only two members with the last updated posted more than three years ago.  It would be great if ex-students could gather and revive the page again!

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Meng Teck School (Punggol)

Closed in 1985

Established in 1932, Meng Teck School is a Chinese Catholic school at No. 5 Jalan Seranggong Kechil, 9 miles, off Punggol Road. It was situated right beside St. Anne’s Church where students would go over to play after school.

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Every year, Meng Teck School would participate in a joint sports meet with three other Catholic schools in the Hougang district, namely Hai Sing Girls’ High School, Holy Innocents’ High School and a CHIJ school.

After Meng Teck School was closed, the remaining students were transferred to Holy Innocents’ Primary School and the building was converted to a church centre. The former site is now occupied by CHIJ St. Joseph’s Convent.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]


Ming Sin School (Hougang)

Closed in 1984

Ming Sin School (sometimes misspelled as Min Sin School) was a primary school under the management of Bethal Presbyterian Church after it was acquired in 1950. It was a kampong Chinese school made of attap originally constructed at Bukit Arang Road before the World War II (exact year unknown) where it also served as a shelter during the Japanese occupation.

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1967

After the war, the school moved to 53 Wolskel Road, off Upper Serangoon Road, upon recommendation of the school’s board of directors formed by the locals. Completed in 1959, the 4-storey building had 24 classrooms and a tuck shop. The school was also home to worship services from 1953 as well as Li Sun High School (now known as Presbyterian High School) from 1953 and 1965 respectively. A fairly popular school at first, enrolment began to fall as it failed to keep up with education policy changes.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Kim Keat Primary School (Balestier/Toa Payoh)

Closed in 1984

Founded in the early 1960s at Kim Keat Road, Kim Keat Primary School started as Kim Keat Integrated School and was converted into an Adult Education Board Centre which conducted day and night classes in the 1970s.

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Former students fondly remember popping by nearby Kim Keat Vocational Institute for free haircuts by trainees in their hairdressing course. There was also a big bamboo tree in the school compound and students would try to catch spiders crawling around the fence next to it.

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P3C (1980)

After it closed because of falling enrolment, most of the students were transferred to Moulmein Primary School which subsequently merged with Swiss Cottage Primary School in 2002. The school building stood idle for some time until it became the first SCDF Division Headquarters. Today, it houses Curtin University.

Source: [1] [2]


McNair Road School (Boon Keng)

Merged into Rangoon Road Primary School in 1968

Opened in 1925 as McNair Road English School, it was an all-boys primary school located at a temporary structure of Rangoon Road Government English School (before it was torn down) until it moved to requisitioned buildings.

circa 1950

1950

In 1948, McNair School reopened and a large number of primary school students moved over from the old Rangoon Road School. However, it was reported that McNair School was later converted into a Centralised Workshop and staff and students joined the newly merged Rangoon Road Primary School (closed in the early 1980s) at Starlight Road.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


Siglap Indah Primary School (Siglap)

Closed in 1983

Located at Kee Sun Avenue, the former Siglap Malay School started off as a kampong school built on wooden foundations in 1903. In 1966, the school was upgraded to a concrete building and eleven years later, converted to an English medium school and renamed to Siglap Indah, or Beautiful Siglap, because of its earlier kampong surroundings and nearby sea.

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P1A (circa 1983)

P1A (1983)

Non-graduating students of Siglap Indah were posted to the five schools in the area namely Damai, Jaya (closed 1998), East Coast, Ngee Ann and Min Xin (closed 2003) primary schools. The school had to shut after Mendaki Foundation was given permission by the government to use the premises as its headquarters because of its proximity to Marine Parade, Bedok and Geylang, which had large concentrations of Malays. The handover was finalised after renovations works were completed in mid 1985.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


Siglap Primary School (Siglap)

Closed in 1990

About 2 km away from Siglap Indah Primary was Siglap Primary, founded 1956 at 10 La Salle Street. The school operated in double sessions (i.e. sessions I and II) and had uniformed groups that students could join as ECAs such as Scouts and Brownies. It is not known why the school was closed but after it was vacated, the building was used by the Associations for Persons with Special Needs (Katong Special School) until it was launched for public tender in 2009. Most of the students were transferred to Opera Estate Primary School.

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Now

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Ex-Mediacorp actress Ivy Lee is an alumna of the school.

P6A (circa 1985): Ivy lee is fourth girl from left in the front row

P6A (1985): Ivy lee is fourth girl from left in the front row

Source: [1] [2]


Opera Estate Boys’ School
Opera Estate Girls’ School (Siglap)

Merged in 1985 to form Opera Estate Primary School

The exact year of inception of Opera Estate Girls is not known but since single-sex schools that were catered to residents within an estate were typically built around the same time during that era, it is safe to assume that it was in 1959 when Opera Estate Boys was founded. Both schools were located side-by-side along Fidelio Street – now home to Opera Estate Primary School and surrounded by private housing.

opera-estate-boys-school-Raqi-Rashid

Opera Estate Boys’ School

opera-estate-boys-school-Maksom-Som

Opera Estate Boys’ School

opera-estate-boys-school-Beruang-Sarkis

Opera Estate Boys’ School

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The only image of Opera Estate Girls’ students I can find…

I can’t find much about these schools except for the interesting fact that the school song of Opera Estate Boys was written by their first principal, Mr BR Sethi. In 1977, Opera Estate Girls found themselves in the spotlight when four of their primary six pupils beat Raffles Girls’ Primary School in the Primary Science Quiz organised by the then-Science Teachers Association. Both also held fun fares separately to raise funds for their own projects in 1969 and 1979. This could also suggest some form of financial struggle faced by the schools and thus leading to their merger. After the amalgamation, the girls were required to swap their green pinafore with white stripes for an entirely blue one. A new school logo created with colours representing the former schools was also adopted as a result.

opera-estate-primary-school-Sanjay-Sadhnani

Opera Estate Primary School

I think it’s amazing how the Opera Estate Primary has been retaining its original name after all these years when the word “estate” (also undoubtedly not the most modern-sounding one) had been dropped from the names of other schools that used to have the word incorporated in them (e.g. Sennett Estate School and later Sennett Primary School). What do you think?

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]


Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (Opera Estate) (Siglap)

Merged with Katong Convent in 1990 to form Katong Convent Primary School / CHIJ (Katong) Primary

CHIJ (Opera Estate), or more commonly known as Opera Estate Convent, was set up as a government-aided primary school at Jalan Khairuddin in 1959 to cope with the growing demand for places in Katong Convent which had housed both primary and secondary students before the latter relocated to Marine Parade Road. It was subsequently closed at the end of 1989 because, according to a former student, the hill it was built on was eroding. Thereafter, it was absorbed into the newly-furnished CHIJ (Katong) at Martia Road.

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chij-opera-estate-toilet-on-the-left-Gillian-Woodruff-and-MischaP

Toilet on the left

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P6A, class of 1978

The premises of Opera Estate Convent, pretty much still in its original state surprisingly, are known as the Red Cross Training Campsite today.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]


Whampoa Secondary School (Bendemeer)

Closed in 1994

The Chinese secondary school was established in 1961 at St. Wilfred Road but was later converted to an integrated school due to falling enrolment (and declining popularity of Chinese schools) to accommodate students from the English Language stream.

 

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whampoa-secondary-school-whampoasecondaryschool.sg

In 1971, it became the first government school to complete a building extension without government financial aid. Most of the funds came from public donations and proceeds from the school’s funfair held in 1969. The new wing boasted a library, history and geography rooms, a sound-proof music room, extra-curriculum activities hall, art display room, bookshop and physical exercise instructors’ room. Hardly anyone would find these amenities impressive today but these were definitely a big deal then, as well as a major pull factor.

whampoa-secondary-school-Whampoa-Community-FB

After it became integrated

whampoa-secondary-school-circa-1961-SPH-via-NAS

But then came 1980 when the school principal drew public ire for snipping several girls’ hair publicly in front of the whole school to enforce a rule against long hair. It was also reported that some girls had to have their hair cut two to three times before the principle was satisfied. What angered students and parents further was that the act of embarrassment was done a day before the examinations. Upset by the unwarranted treatment (as many had thought that the principal’s prior warnings were meant for the boys), some girls had even contemplated suicide.

As years went by, the school began to suffer from a dip in enrolment once again. It stopped accepting new applicants altogether for the academic year 1994 when the total student population in the school plunged to 280 (including those in graduating classes) – a far cry from the 1500 pupils in its heyday during the seventies. This reason, coupled by poor academic performance, eventually led to the closure of the school. Bendemeer Secondary, which I believe largely took in Whampoa Secondary students when they closed doors for good, has been occupying their former site since 1998.

The school also has a private Facebook group with over 1000 members.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]


Bartley Primary School (MacPherson)

Closed in 1986

Set up in 1951 at Jalan Bunga Rampai, Bartley Primary School was housed in a 2-storey building in a serene and conducive environment not too far away from Mount Vernon cemetery. The school’s distinctive feature was their vast number of Nepalese children (more specifically children of Gurkha policemen from the Singapore Police Force at Mount Vernon) who, by 1985, accounted for more than one-third of the school population. Former students also remember having an Indian principal (Mr Valipuram, or just Mr Vali) patrolling around the school compound with a cane in his hands. Oh, don’t we all miss those days when educators were given the rights to discipline their students? We were fearful but at least we grew up respectful of our elders.

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As the school field was always flooded especially during the monsoon season, annual sports meets were mostly held at the field belonging to neighbouring Bartley Secondary School. Those who were present would fondly remember being given a coupon to redeem a piece of cake from Season Bakery and a cup of Milo or Ovaltine.

bartley-primary-school-circa-1985-Ministry-of-Information-and-the-Arts-via-NAS

Most of the students were transferred to nearby Elling (closed 1996) and Cedar primary schools after the school was closed down. The school building has also since been demolished.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


Paya Lebar School (MacPherson)

Closed in 1984

The primary school was a one-storey building opened in 1952 at Lorong Bengkok, off Paya Lebar Road, with only seven classrooms. It is not to be confused with Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School which started with the same name. Established without a school field, tuck shop, electricity or modern sanitation, the school gradually expanded with better facilities when population steadily grew to 1200 by 1971.

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Former students were then dispersed to MacPherson and Bartley primary schools after their school closed. The site is now taken over by adjoining MacPherson Secondary School, which is slated to merge with Broadrick Secondary in 2017 (more details below).

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Upper Aljunied Technical School (MacPherson)

Closed in 1996 (verification needed)

Located along a quiet Upper Aljunied Road, Upper Aljunied Technical School faced the Mount Vernon Camp and shared a field with Sang Nila Utama Secondary School. As a result of the close proximity to the shooting range of the camp and the Singapore Gun Club, students could often hear explosive sound of firing guns in the afternoon while they were having their ECAs. Although the founding year of the school is not known, it can be assumed that it was in the mid to late 1960s when there was a surge of demand for technical education.

School badge on bottom left (circa 1971)

School badge on bottom left (1971)

The four-storey building had male toilets at the end of every odd-numbered level and female on even. The ground floor was occupied by two Technical Drawing rooms, two Electrical Workshops, one PE stall and a bookshop while the staff room and library took the second floor. Classrooms were mainly on the third and fourth floors.

Upper Aljunied Technical School was the first in the Aljunied district to offer computer classes all the way from Secondary 1 to 5 with the opening of a micro-computer laboratory. They were also among the 18 government schools in Singapore in 1988 to have a computer lab.

The school was closed presumably due to falling enrolment and was merged into Upper Serangoon Technical School which was then renamed to Upper Serangoon Secondary School (verification needed). The building is now used as a student hostel with the tuck shop converted to a seafood restaurant.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Kembangan Primary School (Kembangan)

Closed in 1987

Originally known as Kembangan Integrated Primary School, it was the 36th school opened by the PAP government built in the heart of the kampong in 1963. The four-storey building had 24 classrooms, three special rooms, a large teachers’ common room, bookshop and a big tuck shop-cum-assembly hall and could accommodate more than 2500 pupils in both morning and afternoon sessions.

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kembangan-primary-school-circa-1987-KPS_FB

1987

Students who went to Kembangan Primary were relatively poorer than those who attended nearby Siglap Primary and St. Stephen’s Primary schools. The school was also mentioned at the parliament meeting in 1981 to be one of the five schools with the best academic progress.

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1987

In 1986, about a year before Kembangan Primary rolled down their shutters for good at 2 Lengkok Satu, a school bus carrying 13 of their pupils had its emergency exit doors flung open when it collided with a lorry. A nine-year-old girl who was hurled out of the bus died on the spot while other eight children in the vehicle sustained slight cuts and bruises. This incident, as well as the court hearing between the drivers involved, was reported extensively on the news.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]


Beatty Primary School (Kallang)

Closed in 1995

Opened in 1962 as Beatty Integrated Primary School, the school was a new-type four-storeyed building with 36 classrooms meant for 3000 pupils in both morning and afternoon sessions.

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Opening ceremony (1963)

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Opening ceremony (1963)

Ex-students fondly remember the infamously fierce lady manning the tidbit stall at the tuck shop who would hurry students to make purchase and chase away those who spent too long deciding on what to buy. Even those who merely enquired about the prices were not spared from her curt attitude. Therefore, to avoid getting yelled at by her, fearful students would scan through the snacks from afar and be readied with all the prices in mind before approaching her stall. Every transaction would end with the lady snatching the money from the student’s hand. Well, let’s just say that she probably wouldn’t have gotten away so easily dealing with the Gen Z’ers and their overprotective parents if she does that today 😆

beatty-primary-school-circa-1977-Casey-Yong-Sue-Fai-BPS-FB

1977

Beatty Primary had a promising start with 2500 pupils but the number gradually slipped to 200 in the last few years before it closed as more families in the neighbourhood moved to newer housing estates. The remaining pupils started the new school year in Cambridge Primary School and not long after the property was vacanted, it was taken over by Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA). The building still stands in its entirety.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Nan Chiow Public School (Geylang)

Closed in 1981

Another public Chinese school that bit the dust in 1981 was Nan Chiow (南公学) at 59, Lorong 23, Geylang. Established in 1946, it is not to be confused with Nan Chiau (or Nan Chiaw as it was formerly spelled) Primary School at Woodlands Road. Nan Chiow was known for their accomplishments in ping pong as they were always emerged as champions in competitions especially those organised for the Chinese schools in the Geylang district.

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School song

School song

After the school was shut down, the managing committee received over S$600,000 from the sale of the school site but most of the money eventually went to charity with $50,000 of the proceeds donated to the Basketball Association of Singapore.

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1969

In commemoration of 35th anniversary of the school in 1981, a grand (and final) reunion filled with performances and other activities was held. The event saw the attendance of more than 250 retired principals, teachers and old boys and girls.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]


Hwa Nong Public School (Geylang/Paya Lebar)

Closed in 1979

Located at 87 (727-3) Jalan Alsagoff near Geylang Serai Village, Hwa Nong Chinese School (华农公学) was previously a private school once used as a warehouse by the Japanese troops during the war. Following the surrender of the Japanese, the school became public to provide children from neighbouring villages a means of education.

hwa-nong-public-school-公立华农学校 Singapore Hwa Nong Public School-FB

The school had a humble beginning with a little more than 10 students. As their popularity grew,  the number of classrooms increased from 3 to 8 to accommodate 700 student at their peak. An office, music room and storeroom were also added as a result. But due to space constraints, the school was unable to build their own field. Hence, P.E. lessons were all conducted at a borrowed space in front of a temple opposite the school. A simple basketball court was constructed there as well.

hwa-nong-public-school-circa-1979-Soo-Hwang-Lim-via-公立华农学校 Singapore Hwa Nong Public School

1979

Hwa Nong was one of the eight participating schools in Geylang for the annual joint sports meet, with the other schools being Maha Bodhi, Nanyang Tun Cheow, Thong Kheng, Lik Teck, Happy, Seng Chi and Nan Chiow schools (more information about these seven schools can be found below). The venue for the sports meet was at a vacant land at the junction of Paya Lebar and MacPherson roads (presently the back of Shell petrol station).

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Report books

The school had to close for a short period in 1964 due to the racial riot which had occurred in the same area. When it reopened, the Primary School Leaving Examination was just around the corner so to make up for lost time, hardworking teachers would conduct supplementary classes every night to get students back on track, even to the extent of dragging unmotivated students out of their homes to attend. Their efforts were not for naught – the school garnered a 78% passing rate that year.

As more villagers move out due to the redevelopment of Geylang Serai, the number of students at Hwa Nong School dwindled, leading to its permanent closure in 1979.

(Wholly translated from here, p94)

Source: [1] [2]


Nanyang Tun Cheow School (Geylang)

Closed between 1975 and 1979

Founded in 1922 by Leong Khay Huay Kuan (龙溪会馆), Nanyang Tun Cheow School (南洋丹詔学校/Nanyang Dan Zhao School) was one of the oldest schools in Geylang. With only 30 students when the Chinese primary school first began, the enrolment steadily grew to 600 by the late 1960s. The school then shifted to a new S$92,000 building at No. 43, Lorong 17 Geylang in 1968.

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The last known record of the school in print was in 1975, which could suggest that it was still in existence in mid-1970s. The school was, however, closed after facing a sharp decline in student numbers. In 1979, Metropolitan Young Men’s Christian Association (MYMCA) rented the school building which was later known as Sims Centre to serve as the base for the association’s community outreach projects to the youth, elderly and children from lower income families.

The building is presently known as the Nanyang Buddhist Culture Service or the Singapore Buddhist Lodge.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


Thong Kheng School (Geylang)

Closed in 1981

Established in 1946 at Kallang Road, Thong Kheng School (同敬学校) was a Chinese school set up for children who were too poor to afford elementary education and the older children who could not get into their standards. Two years after its inception, the school moved to Geylang Lorong 25-A for six years but due to the overwhelming response, Thong Kheng School had to move to the present address at Geylang Lorong 29 in 1954 in order to house 14 classes of a record number of more than 600 students in the morning and afternoon. The school would not be able to sustain the enormous cost of operating the school if not for the philanthropists who were members of the board, patrons and Thong Kheng Temple who donated generously.

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Thong Kheng School eventually came to a honourable closure due to depleting students count as a result of redevelopment of the Geylang area, as well as losing out to newer schools with better facilities in the vicinity.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Lik Teck School (Geylang)

Closed after 1972 (exact date unknown)

Lik Teck School (立德学校) was a single-storey Chinese school located at 230E Lorong 29 Geylang Road in the early 1930s. It was attended by Low Thia Khiang who is currently the Secretary General of the Workers’ Party.

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Little information about this school is available online. I understand from a Lianhe Wanbao news article in 1986 that a new primary school of the same name (立德小学) was erected in Woodlands Street 81. A quick search on Google, however, came up with Riverside Secondary School (立德中学, founded 1987 at Woodlands Street 81) and Riverside Primary School (立德小学, founded 2013 at Woodlands Crescent), therefore suggesting that the report is inaccurate and could be referring to the secondary school instead.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Happy School (Geylang)

Closed in 1979

Happy School (快乐学校) derived its name from Happy World (or Gay World) which was one of the three amusement parks built in Singapore before World War II. It was set up by the Happy Opera Company to provide free education to children in Geylang who missed out on school as a result of the war and poverty. Lessons officially began in 1946 at the second storey of 24 Lorong 14, Geylang. The free Chinese school started off with 10 over students but gradually swelled to 120 after a new principal came on board.

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The board of committee had to continuously pour in a lot of money (through holding more opera shows) and source for donors to ensure the school’s survival while making education free and readily available to needy students.  Due to the lack of classrooms, an afternoon session was added to cater to growing demand. The pioneer batches of Primary 6 students had to take their Primary School Leaving Examination at a community centre opposite the school due to space constraints. But as more students joined the school (no formal registration was required for new students until they had completed a semester), the board had no choice but to find another suitable location. In 1947, Happy School shifted to two old houses at 67 and 69 Lorong 14, Geylang.

The new sites were, however, in dilapidated condition. Hence, the board had to raise more money to refurbish the place. With more students enrolled in the school, Happy School could no longer cope with the rising overhead costs and so in 1949, they started to charge parents a minimal sum ranging between $2.50 and $3.50 – an amount which most families could afford. From then on, Happy Free School was renamed Happy School. Impoverished students also were given financial aid.

Students of Happy School performed well academically and non-academically such as in calligraphy, arts and sports and had brought glory to the school by bagging home multiple awards at inter-school competitions.

The school remained hugely popular until Geylang began to undergo redevelopment. The population shift from Geylang after 1965 greatly affected the enrolment rate of Happy School. Despite the fall in student population, the school managed to persevere until 1979.

(Wholly translated from here, p142-143)

Source: [1]


Seng Chi Public School (Geylang)

Closed after 1978 (exact date unknown)

Seng Chi Chinese School (成志学校 ) started in 1931 at 47, Lorong 27A, Geylang at an attap house with three classrooms and one small office. Two sessions were held every day with about 100 students divided into three classes. Each class had a mix of students of different standards (e.g. Primary 5 and 6 students attending the same class) because there weren’t enough students to form a class if the school had segregated them accordingly. Therefore, teachers then had to prepare double the amount of work and teach two groups of students separately.

seng-chi-school-map

All in all, there were 7 staff including the school principal. The school staff had to take turns to ring the school bell after each period whenever the janitor wasn’t around and the principal had to teach subjects that nobody wanted to teach (e.g. music). Due to shortage of specialised teachers, every class attended music, P.E. and art lessons together.

In 1957, the school was asked to move out by the landlord but the management refused unless they were given alternative accommodation. Although there aren’t any reports on what happened after that, I’m quite certain the school was granted to remain eventually.

The school closed in the late 70’s/early 80’s as a result of falling enrolment. The former site was then also earmarked for public housing development.

Source: [1] [2]


Pasir Panjang English School (Pasir Panjang)

Closed in 1986

Constructed in the 1930s as a primary school at Yew Siang Road, Pasir Panjang English School was, in fact, a co-education experiment proposed by the British government for both boys and girls to study in the same elementary school.

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In anticipation of the Japanese occupation in 1942, the principal of Outram Secondary School sent all of the school’s records to Pasir Panjang English School for safe keeping a year before under the orders of the Education Department. Subsequently, this school suffered a direct hit during the World War II and wiped out Outram’s records from 1906 to 1942. The school then underwent renovation works and reopened some time after 1948.

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1976

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1983

It had produced a couple of notable alumni such as our former Prime Minister Mr Goh Chok Tong, former Senior Minister of State for National Development Dr Tan Eng Liang, and the founding President of Nanyang Technological Institute Dr Cham Tao Soon.

Pasir Panjang English School is now occupied by Breakthrough Mission, a drug rehabilitation centre. This halfway house was featured in an SG50 music video by StarHub. Skip to 0:26, 1:23 and 1:52 for shots of the classroom corridor in the video below:

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


Hua Kiau School (Pasir Panjang)

Closed in 1981

Founded in 1931 on the first floor of a shophouse at 8km Pasir Panjang Road with only 17 pupils, the Chinese school later functioned in an attap building near the now-defunct Bakau Lane (still within Pasir Panjang) in 1940 and subsequently in a more solidly-built double-storey structure half a mile away. Completed in 1960 on two-and-a-half acres of land on Pasir Panjang Hill (5½ milestone Pasir Panjang Road) near Haw Par Villa, the final relocated address had a commanding view of the sea and the southern islands. It had 26 classrooms to accommodate 1400 pupils, an office, library, common room, stage and assembly hall to boot. It was also the first building in the area to introduce modern sanitation. All these were made possible by the generous contributions of the residents in the vicinity and through the sale of cinema show tickets.

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Despite the new state-of-the-art facilities coupled with the school’s rich history and robust activities, the enrolment rate failed to live up to expectations. From over 800 students when it first moved, the number dropped to less than 200 in seven classes in 1977 with  only a handful of students registered for Primary One that year. This was in spite of the fact that the school had already been allowed by the Education Ministry to enroll students in English-medium classes.

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1986

After the school’s closure, the building was renovated and occupied by the Colombo Plan Staff College (a training college for senior personnel in technician education from Colombo Plan countries) in 1983. However, the college was eventually asked to move out of Singapore within the next three years “in fairness to other countries“. Based on the today’s map, the former site is now occupied by private estates.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Sepoy Lines School I / Pearl Bank School
Sepoy Lines School II / Park Road School
(Chinatown)

Merged in 1985 to form Pearl Park Primary School (verification needed)
Merged into Pearl’s Hill School in 1995
Closed in 2001

Among the hundreds of expunged schools I had researched on to feed my curiosity about disappearing schools in Singapore, reading up about those in Chinatown area always left me utterly bewildered especially since many of them share rather similar names. I am one who is easily confused so in a way I’m glad the MOE has long ceased to name schools after the locality where they will be established.

 

From what I had gathered online (after sifting through tens and hundreds of web pages because everyone seems to be saying different things), there used to be two Sepoy Lines Malay schools. Sepoy Lines School I was renamed Pearl Bank School when it moved to Pearl’s Hill on 15 June 1954 while Sepoy Lines School II was later known as Park Road School.

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Pearl Bank Primary School

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Pearl Bank Primary School (P6A, class of 1981)

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Park Road School

As I was trying to unearth more information about the first merger, I stumbled upon even more ambiguous and confusing news articles about the Sepoy Lines school. It was reported in 1971 that the Sepoy Lines Malay School building was demolished as part of the urban renewal programme to build offices in the Park Road vicinity. Noticed that “Sepoy Lines Malay School” was used instead of Park Road School? *scratches head*

Can somebody enlighten me, please? Were there more than two Sepoy Lines schools in that area or what? O_O  Why do I see ex-students of Park Road School addressing Sepoy Line Malay School on Facebook like it’s another school? How mysterious.

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Pearl Park Primary School

Anyway, Sepoy Lines Malay School was then shifted to the first two floors of a multi-storey building at Chin Swee Road (the record-breaking 12-storey tall building, I suppose) that was shared with Pearl’s Hill Primary School. Somehow along the way, Sepoy Lines Malay School merged with Pearl Bank School and eventually with Pearl’s Hill? Apart from the nuggets of history on NLB, there were no other news reports to confirm any of these mergers. It’s so weird…

To read more about Pearl Hill’s School, click here for part I of the Closed and Merged Schools series.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


Kong Chow School (Chinatown)

Closed in 1968

Cantonese clan association Kong Chow Wui Koon founded Kong Chow Wui Koon Free School (冈州会馆义学) in 1929 on the third storey of their then-newly-built clan premises at New Bridge Road. The school provided free education to their initial 80 students across Primary 1 to 4 levels, occupying only two classroom. All lessons were conducted in Chinese.

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1952

During the Japanese Occupation (February 1942 to August 1945), the site was used as the Red Cross Association Headquarters to provide medical treatment, medicine, and even porridge. Classes at the school resumed after the Japanese surrendered but due to post-war recession, the school found themselves struggling to keep afloat without any steady revenue. Thus, they started charging fees between $1 and $5. From then on, the school was also known as Kong Chow School (冈州学校).

In order to cope with the influx of overaged students after Japanese Occupation, the clan association decided to expand the school grounds to the second storey of the premises to accommodate as many students as possible. Classes were divided to two sessions – morning and afternoon – as the number of students exceeded 200.

Primary 5 and 6 classes were subsequently added in 1949. By then, the school’s population was more than 400 students. Facilities such as a field were also added for students to play sports and exercise.

Between 1947 and 1959, there were 9 classes in the afternoon session with over 500 students. The school faced classroom shortage as the number of students continued to increase rapidly. Hence, the clan association had no choice but to turn the balcony on the second storey into a classroom to occupy the smallest class.

During the school’s heyday, the clan association also conducted night classes for young people in the workforce. Over 100 of them enrolled into the Chinese and English classes. At the same time, the clan association also attempted to raise funds to build a school, but it wasn’t reported if this plan was materialised.

In addition to regular classes, the school also inculcated strong values and character in their students through specially dedicated weeks that run throughout the semester such as Courtesy Week, Safety Week, Honesty Week and Labour Week. Activities that tied in with the theme of the week were also arranged. During the Courtesy Week, for instance, a most courteous representative would be elected from every class and the whole school would then vote for the most courteous student among them. Weeks which were designated for hands-on activities such as calligraphy and sports helped students develop their skills and ability to work as a team.

In the 1960s, the student population in Kong Chow School began to diminish with more parents opting to send their children to English school. After further decline, the Principal, who had also planned to retire, decided to close the school for good in 1968.

(Most parts translated from here)

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Jurong Special Secondary School (Bukit Timah)

Renamed to Toh Tuck Secondary School in 1965 (verification needed)
Closed in 1991 (verification needed)

Formerly Bukit Timah Government Chinese Middle School at 7¾ milestones Jurong Road, off Bukit Timah Road (now known as Toh Tuck Road), it was a school set up mainly for overaged students from Government, aided and private schools to continue their English secondary education. Classes officially began in 1960 with curriculum for Forms (Secondary) III, IV and V consisted of English language, English literature, History, Geography, Elementary Mathematics, Art, Needlework for girls, Biology or Health Science, language and National language. The school fees were same as other secondary school pupils (i.e. $3 a month for girls and $4 a month for boys). No much information about this school is available online. I can’t find any pictures depicting the school as well.

Several pupils of the school took offense over the use of the word “special” in describing the institution. The reason for that wasn’t stated but they probably felt singled out. I would understand the furore if the “special” word is incorporated in a regular school today as it could be mistaken for a special needs school.

It was mentioned by a former student on Toh Tuck Secondary’s Facebook Page that Jurong Special Secondary School was eventually renamed to Toh Tuck Secondary School (as opposed to Jurong Secondary School, as this name was already taken by another school in Jurong West) in 1965, coincidentally the year Jurong Special Secondary was last reported in the news (which is strange for a school that opened to so much fanfare). Although no records on this renaming exercise can be found, I have a hunch that it was true based on the similarity between the address of Toh Tuck Secondary (off 7th mile Bukit Timah Road) and Jurong Special Secondary.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Min Chu School (Farrer Road)

Closed in 1979

Established as a Chinese village school in 1946/1947 using kind donations from locals residing in Farrer and Holland villages, Min Chu Public School was one of the best in the area in the 1960s with 400 students. During its prime, the school was bustling with activities such as basketball, badminton and ping pong. It even had its own playing field. The toilets underwent a $4000 renovation but even so, the school still failed to attract new registrations.

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1963

As a result of falling enrolment due to competition from modern schools that were equipped with special rooms, sport equipment and the latest teaching aids, the school had to shut permanently after its remaining 19 students completed their primary education.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Wei Sin Public School (Jurong West/Lim Chu Kang)

Closed in 1979

Formerly known as Wu Neng School (武能学校), Wei Sin was a small village school established in 1926 at 14.1 km Jurong Road. It was forced to closed in 1942 but resumed operations in 1945 when the Japanese surrendered at the end of World War II. It was also at this point in time that it took on the name Wei Sin.

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School song

The school uniform was white top and khaki pants for the boys and khahi skirts for the girls. The school had their own tuck shop, makeshift badminton court, basketball court, ping pong tables and a wooden hut called The Library.

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At its peak, Wei Sin had over 600 students. But due to population shifts and the fact that Jurong was selected as the site for the development of an industrial estate, the strength of Wei Sin Public School dwindled tremendously. Upon time of closure, it had only 55 students remaining (27 in Primary 5 and 28 in Primary six). The Primary 5 students were then transferred to neighbouring modern schools the following year.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


Pei Tek Public School (Jurong West)

Closed in 1981

A Chinese-medium school established in 1946 Pei Tek School (also spelled “Pei Teck”) had moved from a smaller location to 10¾ mile, Jurong Road when student population grew between 1958 and 1969. It was so popular that it had to keep adding more classrooms to cater for demand.

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School song

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1963

But like other Chinese schools that could not keep up with the shifting demographics and growing preference for English-medium schools, signs of decline of Pei Tek started appearing in mid-1970s. Although there were 281 students  enrolled in 1976, there wasn’t enough incoming primary 1 students to form a class.

Source: [1]


Lee Choon Public School (Buona Vista)

Closed in 1979

Lee Choon Public School was a Chinese primary school established in the 1920s at North Buona Vista Road (off Holland Road). Like the other rural schools on this list, Lee Choon had to close due to falling enrolment triggered by a widespread preference for modern schools that were equipped with better facilities. There were only 27 students at Lee Choon at time of closure.

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Unfortunately, not much information about this school is available.

Source: [1] [2]


Chao Yang School (Dhoby Ghaut)

Closed in 1981

Located at 341 Clemenceau Avenue, Chao Yang was a four-storey Chinese Government-aided (primary) school established in 1953 and managed by a Teochew clan association Teo Yeonh Huay Kuan (潮阳会馆) which, at that time, was just beside it. It is not to be confused with the special needs school at Ang Mo Kio which adopted the same name in gratitude of the original Chao Yang School management committee for allowing them to use the school premises for a 5-year period before it moved to Ang Mo Kio to make way for the Central Expressway.

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In the last 1970s, Chao Yang School started admitting students of other nationalities to ensure their survival. This, however, proved to be futile as enrolment continued to dwindle due to urban renewal and modernisation. By the end of 1981, the school had just one class of 14 Primary Six pupils and 2 teachers.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]


Min Chong Public School (Changi)

Closed in 1981

Two schools (Bo Wen and Pei Nan schools) were originally constructed at Mata Ikan, a village at Changi, to offer education to the villagers’ children. But not long after that, the second world war broke out so both schools had no choice but to cease operations. After the war ended, the committee of Pei Nan School decided to reopen the school for the benefit of those children whose education was disrupted because of the war. The committee rented a three-storey bungalow that was able to accommodate 150 students, and also employed 10 teachers. At the same time, the school was also renamed Min Chong School (民众学校).

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1986

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Basketball court (1986)

In order to cater to the needs of Malay villagers who were not able to integrate into the Chinese education system at Min Chong School, the committee introduced English-medium classes, and therefore making them the first Chinese school in post-war Singapore to offer English classes. Subsequently, new English-medium schools such as Bedok Boys’ and Girls’ sprang up one after another around the area and Malay villagers began to send their children to these schools instead, resulting in the declining demand for English-medium classes at Min Chong. The school eventually stopped the programme completely and reverted to its original concept of being a fully Chinese school.

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1986

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Sports Day

In 1948, the owner of the bungalow which housed the school wanted the property back. As a result, Min Chong School committee relocated to 823 Somapah Road. By 1972, the number of students at Min Chong had also noticeably diminished. There were speculations as to the possible causes of the dip in enrolment. Firstly, as there were only 59 registrations for Primary One in the beginning of 1971, the school, being cost-effective, decided to open only one class for 44 students. The remaining 15 students were then dispersed to neighbouring Red Swastika School and this led to numerous complaints as well as the unhappiness of many parents towards the school, making them reluctant to register their children at Min Chong in the subsequent years.

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1966

Secondly, the construction of Changi Airport could have caused affected residents to relocate. Hence, with lesser people residing in the vicinity, the number of incoming also students decreased drastically. By 1977, there was absolutely no new student intake at all and there were only 17 students remaining in the school in this final year of operation. With a heavy heart, the school committee announced the closure of the school with effect from the following year and offered the building to the Singapore Red Cross. With the help of Min Chong School committee, the premises were converted to an emergency evening clinic serving people living in the rural area of Somapah.

(Almost wholly translated from here)

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Nong Min Public School (Simei)

Closed in 1977

Set up by predominantly Hokkien and Hainanese merchants and farmers in 1946 using their own money and resources, Nong Min Public School (农民公学) was in a poorly-maintained military police warehouse left behind by the Japanese troops at Jalan Tiga Ratus (Upper Changi Road), set amidst the rubber and coconut plantations in a tranquil and peaceful village environment. The aim of the Chinese school was to provide education to 300 poor village children who had no school to attend.

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Due to the lack of classrooms, it was not unusual to combine classes. Multi-age classrooms were a commonplace (especially during the first few years of establishment) to accommodate students whose studies were interrupted by the war as well as young children from the post-war baby boom. For example, a Primary One class could have a mixture of students between the age of 7 and 18. Some lessons had to be conducted in the rubber plantations as well to relieve overcrowding in the classrooms.

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The school was renovated in the 1960s and not long later in 1977, the land which the school sat on was acquired by the government for redevelopment. As a result, all the villages were resettled and Nong Min School was forced to close.

The school was located in the present East Point Mall in Simei.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Kwong Wai Shiu Peck Shan Ting School (Bishan/Upper Thomson)

Closed in 1981

Originally named Kwong Wai Shiu Peck Shan Ting Free School (, the Chinese school was formed by Cantonese clan association Kwong Wai Shiu Peck Shan Ting (or Kwong Wai Siew Peck San Theng) with public donations of about $300 in 1936 to provide free education to children who did not have access to school. The school’s first principal worked pro bono and only one teacher was employed to teach a class of 40 students. Lessons officially started in September in the same year. As the student population grew to 60, another classroom was later added to the school, which was housed on the foundation’s temple premises.

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Thereafter more monetary support started pouring in for the school and hence giving more students the opportunity to study. The school also received a thousand over copies of textbooks and more than 130 school uniforms from the educated members of the public. On top of that, a garden was also set up in the school compound for learning purposes.

Singapore fell to the Japanese in 1942, forcing the school to close abruptly. But it was quick to resume operations after the war ended in 1945. By then, the school was already in bad condition and was lacking the necessary teaching equipment. Even so, that did not stop parents from registering their children with the school, therefore boosting the student headcount to 170.

With student enrolment growing steadily in the next 9 years, the committee decided to build a bigger school to admit more students. A new school building was completed within a year in 1956 at Kampung San Teng (a Cantonese village that began as a small community of settlers engaged in the funeral trade) at Upper Thomson Road. Equipped with six classrooms, a principal office, staff room, school hall, canteen, book shop and storeroom, the school was considered the most modern and ideal school in the village at that point in time. It was also subsequently renamed Kwong Wai Shiu Peck Shan Ting School (广惠肇碧山亭学校).

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The school underwent a drastic makeover under the direction of the school committee. Besides having basketball, volleyball and badminton courts, new teaching aids were also bought. Financial support was sought from the education ministry to purchase new tables for the students while old tables were donated to needy students who could otherwise not be able to afford one for their home and thus had to do their homework on the floor.

Sadly, despite the favourable reception at the beginning, the school, as with most Chinese schools, were overshadowed by the growing popularity of English schools (such as the newly constructed Westlake Primary nearby, closed in 2002) and faced the prospect of closure due to flagging student enrolment. Even though the school had sought permission from the education ministry to hold English-stream classes, it failed to receive an approval.

Kwong Wai Shiu Peck Shan Ting School, once abuzz with 450 students filling the campus grounds every day in the morning and afternoon sessions, was down to 59 students – 19 Primary 4, 16 Primary 5 and 24 Primary 6 – in the morning session before it shut down. Following its closure, remaining students were transferred to newer schools in Ang Mo Kio.

The former site of Kwong Wai Shiu Peck Shan Ting School, originally earmarked for either an old folks’ home or columbarium cum funeral parlour, is present-day Bishan public housing estate.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]

 

 


Kota Raja Malay School (Bugis/Lavender)

Closed in 1982

Formerly occupied by Victoria Bridge School, Sekolah Melayu Kota Raja or Kota Raja Malay School took over the two-storey building in 1933. The school was sited opposite the present Malabar Mosque in Jalan Sultan (Lavender Street) and was an all-boys school while most Malay girls attended Kampong Gelam Malay Girls’ School located where Madrasah Aljunied is today. The school later applied to become integrated (coed) in 1979 because in the previous year, only one registered for Primary One where there were 42 vacancies.

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In the past, there was no Malay library as reading habit was not cultivated yet. The Malay library at Kota Raja Malay School was the first and on Saturdays, pupils from other Malay schools would go there to read and borrow books.

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School field

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With only 32 remaining pupils in Primary Three, Five and Six and 7 staff including the principal, the school was no longer viable and had to close in 1982. The school was originally leased to the Council for the Education of Muslim Children (Mendaki) as headquarters for organising educational activities, but was later found unsuitable because the site would be affected by government redevelopment plans within the next five years. The building has since been demolished.

Abbas Abu Amin (Member of Parliament from 1980 to 1991) is an alumnus of the school.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]


Boo Teck School (Farrer Park)

Closed in 1981

Established in 1955 by Nanyang Sim Clan Association (南洋沈氏公会), Boo Teck School (武德学校) was named after an ancestor. After receiving a sizeable amount of donations, it moved from the old, run-down building to one that was newer and bigger at 63, Beatty Road in 1959 as the former location was not able to accommodate the growing student population (10 classes in that year).

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Unfortunately, with more parents opting to send their children to English-stream schools during the early 70’s, Boo Teck gradually lost its shine and the number of students was reduced to a mere 16 in its last operating year.

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In 1988, the school building made way for Wu De Building (武德大厦), a residential complex.

Source: [1] [2]


Finally, continuing this list of school casualties are these 11 secondary schools (as opposed to the 22 reported on the news as I believe half of them will retain their names, so they will technically still be in existence) which will be a thing of the past due to falling cohort sizes. The names of the merged schools have not been decided upon yet but I will update this post once I’ve gotten hold of the news. Now, brace yourselves for the massive addition..

Balestier Hill Secondary School (Novena)

To merge into Beatty Secondary School in 2017

Established as the first technical school in 1964, the former Balestier Hill Integrated Secondary Technical School was a coed school for Chinese and English languages with 26 classrooms. It was named after Joseph Balestier, the first United States Consul of Singapore. In 1982, it became a standard English medium school when the last batch of Chinese medium students graduated. In 1991, the name of the school was changed to Balestier Hill Secondary.

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1964

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School logo – then and now

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Sec Tech 4 (class of 1968)

Balestier Hill Technical had an excellent track record in the area of sports, especially canoeing (as the school shared honours in the National Schools Canoeing Championships with National Junior College in 1983) and swimming.

Rangoon and Monk’s Hill Secondary schools merged into Balestier Hill Secondary in 2001 and 2007 respectively and the amalgamated school continued to operate from the current site of Balestier Hill Secondary at 11 Novena Rise.

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circa 2015

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2016

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2016

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Balestier Hill Secondary will merge with Beatty Secondary in 2017. The merged school will be operating from the site of Beatty Secondary.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]


Henderson Secondary School (Bukit Merah)

To merge into Bukit Merah Secondary School in 2017

When Henderson Secondary School opened in 1974 at the now-defunct Friendly Hill at Preston Road (Telok Blangah), there were only 600 Secondary One students and 24 teachers.

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Old building

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Old building

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Old building

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Old building

In 1976, it moved to its current address at 100 Henderson Road (the junction of Henderson Road and Jalan Bukit Merah) as the school population grew to 1600 with 60 teaching staff. The four-storey school is the 115th school built by the then-government at a cost of over two million dollars. It had 24 classrooms and four special rooms, a two-storey Science-cum-Home Economics block and a canteen with the school hall above it. There was also a three-storey technical workshop block that was built separately from the main building. The school subsequently underwent upgrading works between 1994 and 1997.

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Now

Henderson Secondary was one of the few schools to have air rifle shooting ranges installed by the Ministry of Education. This was done to encourage marksmanship among students (more specifically, the National Cadet Corps members).

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A part of the school

The girls originally wore loose white blouse adorned with a simple, connoted tie, held in place with a pin-on badge. It was paired with a navy blue, box-pleated skirt. The boys, on the other hand, wore white shirts and navy blue tie with an embroidered school crest. Eight years after adopting this attire, the girls’ blouses were modified to look similar to that worn by the boys, which remained unchanged across all levels until 1990 where the boys in the upper-secondary levels would wear navy blue long pants and a white shirt with ‘Henderson’ embroidered in white on top of the pocket. The school tie was also changed to the current design and only worn during assembly and other formal occasions. Further modifications were made to the uniform in 1998 as the embroidered ‘Henderson’ was changed to blue, hence the current school uniform.

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Former uniform

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Current uniform

The first school badge was diamond-shaped with the letters “EFL” in the middle which stood for the school motto ” Education for Life”. In 1981, the badge was redesigned into a shape of a shield by an art teacher of the school. Within the shield, there is a book signifying knowledge and a flame which Hendersonians strive to keep ablaze and an upright figure which represents ‘youth’ and ‘life’. The school song, penned by a music teacher in 1974, remains unchanged even until today.

henderson-secondary-school-logos

School logo – then and now

Henderson Secondary will merge with Bukit Merah Secondary School in 2017. The merged school will be operating from the site of Bukit Merah Secondary.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


MacPherson Secondary School (MacPherson)

To merge into Broadrick Secondary School in 2017

MacPherson Secondary School was started in 1967 as an integrated government school where three-quarters of the student population was studying in the Chinese stream and the rest in English stream. Named after Colonel MacPherson (1st Colonel of the Straits Settlement which Singapore was a part of from 1826 to 1946). The first intake was made up of Secondary One students from the MacPherson estate (one of the earliest housing estates) and Secondary Two  and Three students from Upper Serangoon Technical, Upper Aljunied Technical and Sang Nila Utama schools.

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1960s

macpherson-secondary-school-Adrian-Tan-Macpherson-Secondary-Alumni-Association-FB

In 1981, the Technical Department formerly functioning independently under the name of Paya Lebar School was integrated into the school. Three years later, the school became a full English Language medium school with the graduation of the last cohort of Secondary 4  candidates from the Chinese stream.

The idea of having a new uniform was conceived in 1999. In 2001, students donned the new uniform to usher in the new millennium. In the same year, work at the new school site at 121 Circuit Road (beside the old campus) also started. It was to be ready for occupancy by 2003.

macpherson-secondary-school-2014-google-maps

Current campus

macpherson-secondary-school-uniforms-MacPherson-Secondary-Alumni-Association-FB

MacPherson Secondary was joined by pupils from Woodsville Secondary School, which ceased operations in 2003, at their new school building. The newly merged school adopted the new vision “Dare to Dream, Innovate and Lead”. The different blocks of the school were named after philosophers (e.g. Aristotle), writers (e.g. Shakespeare), inventors (e.g. Newton) and pioneers of Singapore (e.g. Govindasamy) in the hope that MacPhersonians will be as successful as them in various fields.

macpherson-secondary-school-2013-website

2013

macpherson-secondary-2015-Macpherson-Secondary-Alumni-Association-FB

2015

Notabi alumni of the school include local actor Desmond Shen Jin Xing and actress Xiang Yun.

MacPherson Secondary will merge with Broadrick Secondary School in 2017. The merged school will be operating from the site of Broadrick Secondary.

Source: [1] [2]


North View Secondary School (Yishun)

To merge into Northland Secondary School in 2017

With all the news surrounding the death of Benjamin Lim recently, I believe the name North View Secondary School is already etched in everyone’s mind. Instead of basking in negativity, let’s all remember this soon-to-be-gone school for their achievements, shall we?

north-view-secondary-school-logo-FB

North View Secondary School was formed in 1988 at Yishun Avenue 11 (school address now considered as 530 Yishun Ring Road) with an enrolment of 483 pupils, 35 teaching staff and 12 non-teaching staff. The S$7.2 million school building, however, was not ready for occupancy until June that year. Hence, classes had to be held at two locations – the Secondary One pupils were housed in Yishun Secondary School while the Secondary Two to Five pupils were in the former Upper Thomson Secondary School building.

north-view-secondary-school-2015-google-maps

north-view-secondary-school-hardware-zone

north-view-secondary-school-CNA

Among the facilities in the school were special rooms for music, arts and crafts and audio-visual aids, an indoor rifle range and outdoor courts for basketball, sepak takraw and volleyball. From early 1998 to June 1999, two new extension blocks were constructed – an admin and a classroom block. The admin-block houses the office, staff room, library, conference room, computer laboratories and three media resource rooms.

north-view-secondary-school-Larry-Toh-North-View-Secondary-School-FB

north-view-secondary-school-uniform

North View Secondary will merge with Northland Secondary School in 2017 after operating for only 28 years. The merged school will be taking over the site of Northland Secondary.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Pioneer Secondary School (Jurong West)

To merge into Boon Lay Secondary School in 2017

Pioneer Secondary School was set up in January 1994 with 12 Secondary One classes. While waiting for the school building to be ready at 21 Jurong West Street 81, it was temporarily housed at Hong Kah Secondary School under the management of a single principal.

pioneer-secondary-school-logo-Pioneer-Secondary-School-Alumni-FB

pioneer-secondary-school-Shafiqa-Amira-Pioneer-Secondary-School-FB

pioneer-secondary-school-netball-Pioneer-Secondary-School-Alumni-FB

It had to open an extra Secondary Two class when it moved into its new building because of overwhelming response from residents nearby. This additional class brought to a total of 14 Secondary Two classes and 10 Secondary One classes in 1995. The school was spread over three hectares of land and surrounded by Housing Board flats. Its facilities included 36 classrooms, two computer laboratories and one theatrette. The S$17,000 195-cm-tall aluminium sculpture at the entrance of the school was donated by Kwan Yong Construction Pte Ltd (the builder of the school). Named Unity, it shows two profiles united as one, depicting the idea of co-operation between the school and the community.

pioneer-secondary-school-2016-SCAPE-FB

2016

The school was one of the five in Singapore in 2006 to adopt a cashless payment scheme that allowed students to buy canteen food with a Nets card. Designated Nets terminals around the school enabled students to transfer their weekly or monthly allowance from their parents’ bank accounts into what is being called “My Card” to reduce their frequency of cash transactions. To prevent misuse, a system that allowed to control the amount of money the students received was installed.

Pioneer Secondary will merge with Boon Lay Secondary School in 2017 after a mere 23 years in operation. The merged school will be located on the site of Boon Lay Secondary.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


Siglap Secondary School (Pasir Ris)

To merge into Coral Secondary School in 2017

Opened in 1955, Siglap Secondary School was located at a two-storey building with 20 classrooms at Cheviot Hill, Siglap, now occupied by the Global Indian International School. The school was also widely recognised for their achievements in sports (more specifically for their outstanding performance in athletics, swimming, football, cricket and badminton), so much so that it had always been the venue for sports activities in the past. In 1973, they managed to raise funds for the building of their own bitumen track through a mammoth walkathon.

siglap-secondary-school-logo-wikipedia

siglap-secondary-school-Ting-Chung-Hua-Siglap-Secondary-School-Alumni-FB-2

Former building

siglap-secondary-school-science-lab-Ting-Chung-Hua-Siglap-Secondary-School-Alumni-FB-3

Science lab at the former building

siglap-secondary-school-Danny-Koh-Siglap-Secondary-School-Alumni-FB

Former building

siglap-secondary-school-Anjang-Aki-Siglap-Secondary-School-Alumni-FB

Former uniform

In 1998, Siglap Secondary shifted to its current campus at 10 Pasir Ris Drive 10. The relocation saw the steady growth in the school enrolment in the new estate from a mere 870 when it was still at Cheviot Hill. The number at its peak was so big that there were insufficient space in the school and some smaller classes had to be conducted in the canteen.

siglap-secondary-school-the-new-paper

Current building

siglap-secondary-school-Ting-Chung-Hua-Siglap-Secondary-School-Alumni-FB

Current building

Upholding its reputation as an art powerhouse in the 1970s and 80s, the new Siglap Secondary was also the art centre for the east zone where students from almost 50 secondary schools including top schools like Dunman High and Anglican High could go to learn pottery, computer animation, sculpture and other art forms. It had also set up a multi-media lab, complete with 23 Macintosh computers that allowed students to experiment with three-dimensional designs.

Unfortunately, its enrolment in recent years shrank from a peak of 1,400 in 2003 to about 830 in 2013, leading to the closure of some of its uniformed groups such as Scouts and Red Cross (as they require a critical mass to carry on). Since 2013, the school has only been taking in about 200 Secondary One students each year, half the intake of more than a decade ago.

siglap-secondary-school-My-School-Uniform

Current uniform

Notable alumni of the school include Singapore Idol champion Hady Mirza and Chee Swee Lee, Singapore’s first Asian Games gold medallist in the 400m race in 1974.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]


Si Ling Secondary School (Marsiling)

To merge into Marsiling Secondary School in 2017

Established in 1980, Si Ling Secondary was the first secondary school in Woodlands to offer both English and Chinese as media of instruction. At one stage, it was renowned for its performance in Hockey. Beige blouse and brown bottom used to be the school attire. Now, students don light blue-and-teal uniform.

si-ling-secondary-school-logo

si-ling-secondary-school-Richard-Ong-Si-Ling-Secondary-School-FB

Former uniform

si-ling-secondary-school-sec2D-2000-Rossi-Spark-Si-Ling-Secondary-School-FB

Current uniform

Once notorious for students who carried flick-knives, it was reported in 2006 that Si Ling Secondary was the only school in Singapore without a Secondary 1 Express stream class since 1999. Clearly, the school’s notoriety for gangsterism had put off some of its potential students, causing it to be the least preferred secondary school in the country. Even most of its own students, in fact, had not listed Si Ling as one of their six choices but were posted there due to poor PSLE results. Based on reports I read, its dark reputation seemed to date back to the early 1990s when students rejected by other schools, including those with discipline problems, were all taken in by the then-principal who, being a compassionate educator he was, firmly believed in giving delinquents a second chance. On top of that, students with the lowest PSLE scores, as low as double digits were accepted into the school.

As much as I would like to applaud the nobility of the principal, a school is, after all, an institution heavily dependent on good image and a reasonable student population to function. With such a lousy reputation for being a school for hooligans (and not forgetting how most of us are so face-conscious), who would want to study there? I know I won’t..

Determined to turn the school around, the principal who took over the helm of the school between 2000 and 2009 offered $500 scholarships to the top 10 students who made the cut for the Express stream, sent teachers to neighbouring primary schools to promote the school, held cheerleading  performances and got students to give speeches to primary school students. These new initiatives, however, failed to evoke the desired response and the school remained largely comprised of Normal-stream students even today. There are Express classes for each level from Secondary Two onward mostly filled by students originally in the Normal (Academic) stream and had performed well.

 

In 2014, Si Ling Secondary was awarded the Lee Hsien Loong Award for Innovations in the Normal Course in recognition of the school’s effort in “providing a holistic education for their students in a caring and nurturing way”. Although the public does seem to have a better impression of the school now (even the website looks so atas), I guess it is still not enough to attract students to the school (I passed by the school just last year and man, it really needs a facelift).

si-ling-secondary-school-Bing-Cheng-Si-Ling-Secondary-School-FB

si-ling-secondary-school-Izah-Faezah-Si-Ling-Secondary-School-FB

 

Si Ling Secondary will merge with Marsiling Secondary School in 2017 and will operate out of the latter’s site. The merged school will be officially named Marsiling Secondary School while adopting Si Ling’s Chinese name. It will take in around 320 Si Ling students in Secondary Three, Four and Five.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Bedok North Secondary School (Aljunied)

To merge into Damai Secondary School in 2018

Started in 1981, Bedok North Secondary was housed in the premises of Temasek Secondary School as its own campus at Bedok North Avenue 3 would only be ready in the following year. The school, built at the cost of $6.2 million, had facilities including a library, an audio visual aid room, a two-storey workshop and technical workshops. It was also the only secondary school in the then-Eunos constituency.

bedok-north-secondary-school-logo

bedok-north-secondary-school-official-opening-1983-NAS

Officially opening in 1983

bedok-north-secondary-school-scouts-1981-1986-NAS

circa 1981-1986

Responding to the school’s obesity rate of 18% (4% more than national average) in 1994, about $5000 was spent on renovations and equipment such as cycling machines, treadmills and step-up machines to turn a room in the school into a mini-gymnasium in hope to attract more obese students to exercise.

bedok-north-secondary-school-students-in-library-1981-1986-NAS

circa 1981-1986

With only 29 classrooms and limited vacant rooms for extra activities at the old building, classes had to be conducted in two sessions and everyone still had to rush for space. As a result, the school moved to more spacious premises at its current site at Jalan Damai in 2000, also to meet growing demands for a secondary school in the Bedok Reservoir area. The new building allowed for the school to go single-session and hold more after-school activities. An underground rifle range that doubled as a bunker, a music and dance studio, and four high-tech computer labs were amongst the many facilities that students could enjoy at the new building.

bedok-north-secondary-school-2016-Trybe

In the mid-1980s, Bedok North Secondary emerged as zone champions and national runner-ups in foottball championships numerous times. It is also recognised for their outstanding performance in Sepak Takra for which they had also clinched the championship title in 2006 and 2015.

bedok-north-secondary-school-2014-URA-FB

Bedok North Secondary will merge with Damai Secondary School in 2018 and will operate out of the latter’s site as it offers a better teaching and learning environment. Once upgrading work is completed at Damai Secondary by 2018, it would also be equipped with new facilities such as an Indoor Sports Hall and synthetic field.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]


Bishan Park Secondary School (Bishan)

To merge into Peirce Secondary School in 2018

Built at a cost of $17.3 million, Bishan Park Secondary was founded in 1993 at 2 Sin Min Walk. It had a career resource centre equipped with 12 computers, two huge television sets and a library of CD-ROMs on polytechnic education, job-interviewing skills and assessment tests that match personalities to jobs. This centre was shared with 40 other secondary school nearby.

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Students from Peirce Secondary School attended lessons at Bishan Park Secondary School for a year (1994-1995) while waiting for their new school to be completed near Sin Min Walk.

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bishan-park-secondary-school-website

In a bid to help autistic children from Pathlight School integrate into society, the special education school partnered with Bishan Park and Chong Boon Secondary schools by letting their autistic secondary school students join their mainstream peers for selected subjects taught by mainstream teachers while a Pathlight teacher tags along to these classes to give extra help.

bishan-park-secondary-school-My-School-Uniform

Bishan Park Secondary will merge with Peirce Secondary School in 2018 and will operate out of the latter’s site.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Chong Boon Secondary School (Ang Mo Kio)

To merge into Yio Chu Kang Secondary School in 2018

Chong Boon Secondary School started functioning in 1994 at the former site of Anderson Secondary School at Ang Mo Kio Street 44. It was a morning session school with 13 classes of 483 Secondary One students and 23 staff members. The following year, its enrolment increased to 772 students and the staff strength increased to 35.

chong-boon-secondary-school-logo

The school became a double session school with 29 classes and 1022 students in 1996. To cope with the growing school population, new facilities such as computer laboratories were added to the premise. The old Chong Boon Secondary School was subsequently tore down in 2001 and the school moved to its new premise at 2 Ang Mo Kio Street 44 in 2002.

The school is home to a number of niche CCAs including A Capella Club and Cheerobics which clinched a gold medal in 2005. Chong Boon Secondary was the first school to be awarded the Niche Award in Environmental Education in 2009 for their exemplary green efforts. In 2010, the school also took in the Youth Olympic Games Torch Relay.

chong-boon-secondary-school-singaporemagazine.sif.org.sg

In June 2002, Chong Boon Secondary used fingerprint identification to monitor habitually late students. The 60 students who were identified as always coming in late, which in the case of the school, is after 7.15am, had to record their time of arrival when they came to school in the morning.

Chong Boon Secondary will merge with Yio Chu Kang Secondary School in 2018 and the merged school will be located at the latter’s site.

Source: [1] [2]


Greenview Secondary School (Pasir Ris)

To merge into Loyang Secondary School in 2018

Completed at the cost of about $14 million at 15 Pasir Ris Street 21, Greenview Secondary started in 1994 with 17 Secondary One classes and 681 students. It had 36 classrooms, more laboratories, and computer, commerce, language, CCA rooms than other schools and had a career guidance and a counselling room. The building also featured an amphitheater in the atrium to provide a place for student-staff interaction.

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greenview-secondary-school-h88.com.sg

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greenview-secondary-school-Kevin-Wee-Greenview-Secondary-School-Alumni-Association

In a bid to equip students with the knowledge of connecting computers to the web of networks across the globe during the internet boom, Greenview Secondary set up a “networking academy” using course material from the American-based network manufacturer Cisco Systems in 1999. It was the the second educational institution in Singapore to teach networking after Temasek Polytechnic. 26 Secondary Two students with a minimum grade of B3 in Mathematics as well as eight other students from four nearby schools – East View, St Hilda’s, Springfield and Dunman Secondary schools – were selected for this two-year course. The students spent two hours every Saturday afternoon in Greenview Secondary’s capacious Rainforest Computer Lab where 43 computers arranged in clusters were surrounded by murals of trees and animals of rainforests.

greenview-secondary-school-my-school-uniform

Greenview Secondary will merge with Loyang Secondary School in 2018 and the merged school will be located at the latter’s site.

Source: [1] [2] [3]

* * *

*phew* It’s really not easy compiling information on tens of schools in a small space like this, but I’m glad I’ve managed to do it! You might have noticed some beautifully-taken pictures from “My School Uniform“. If you don’t already know, My School Uniform is the first-ever photography project that documents all the secondary school uniforms in Singapore. If you’d like to find out more about the book (which is already out in major bookstores), you can read my review here.

Once again, thanks for the read and hope you enjoyed this instalment of my Closed and Merged Schools series!

Have a story to share about your decommissioned school? Let me know in the comments below so that I can include them in my next write-up! To report errors, please leave a comment below as well. If you have pictures that are not featured in this post (preferably of the school building, uniform, or anything that best represents the school), please share them with me via e-mail at askme@fionaseah.com.
Much appreciated!

Main source:
National Archives of Singapore
NewspaperSG (National Library Board)
Factiva (for news articles after 1990)
Chinese Schools Exhibition
My School Uniform
Facebook Pages of Schools

(In case some of these links become inaccessible, you may retrieve them through Archives.org)

Read also:
HISTORY: Closed and Merged Schools in Singapore (PART 1)
HISTORY: Closed and Merged Schools in Singapore (PART 2)
HISTORY: Closed and Merged Schools in Singapore (PART 3)

[BOOK REVIEW] My School Uniform, a Photo Book for the Ages

Hello everyone!

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.

Catholic High School

Catholic High School

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! 😦

msu-2016-4

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.

msu-2016-9

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.

My School Uniform photography book (designed by Yong Kam Ling)

My School Uniform photography book (designed by Yong Kam Ling)

My School Uniform

My School Uniform

For most schools, the book showcases 3 different kinds of uniforms that students might have a chance to wear during their time in school.

  1. Councillor attire with the school ties and blazers that students might wear for official school events
  2. The day to day formal attire that students should be wearing if they have no Physical Education (PE) / CCA classes on that day
  3. 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.

School badges, past and present

School badges, past and present

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:

Bedok North Secondary School

Bedok North Secondary School

Fuchun Secondary School

Fuchun Secondary School

Manjusri Secondary School

Manjusri Secondary School

Fairfield Methodist School (Secondary)

Fairfield Methodist School (Secondary)

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!

BOOK INFORMATION

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To order, please leave your name, contact number and e-mail address on this form

Availability: 

Basheer Graphic Books
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Enjoy 20% discount when you quote “fionaseah.com” at Basheer Graphic Books

Hitting shelves at all major bookstores including Kinokuniya and Popular soon

The author is a bookworm who has co-written food reviews and shared his expertise on matters concerning technology on fionaseah.com.
DISCLAIMER: PRODUCT FEATURED IS A PRESS SAMPLE BUT OPINIONS, AS ALWAYS, ARE AUTHOR’S OWN.

HISTORY: Closed and Merged Schools in Singapore (PART 2)

WARNING: This post requires high amount of bandwidth! Wi-Fi connection advised.

Hello again, everyone!

This post has come earlier than planned because of the recent news about the merger of 8 secondary schools. It’s pretty sad as some of these schools were once a merging party not long ago, and now they have to face it again. Since there are many more schools that I did not cover previously, I thought I should do a follow-up post to try and include as many defunct schools as possible including the 8 latest victims.

In my previous entry, I mentioned some causes that could have led to the closure of most schools (e.g. population shift, ageing facilities etc.) but I failed to mention one crucial point. Remember the post World-War II baby boom during the late 1940s to 1950s? The sudden increase in population called for more schools to be built then (which makes sense, considering that most of these closed schools were built in the late 1950s-60s when most of the children were ready to be schooled) and some even had insufficient vacancies. Then came the 1970s-1980 when the Stop at Two programme was introduced to control the population growth in Singapore. The programme pushed for small nuclear families and penalised couples for having more than three children (no priority given in school registration to third and subsequent kids of parents who had not been sterilised before the age of 40). As the existing children got older, the number of schooling kids in the estate reduced (since no one dared to procreate anymore). Thus, the enrolment in most neighbourhood (or “estate”) schools started declining which subsequently forced them to close.

Therefore it was very common for students to keep changing schools as a result of school closures in the past, so don’t be taken aback by people who have attended numerous schools back then. They simply had no choice!

Check out PART 1, PART 3 and PART 4 if you haven’t!

Anyway, back to my topic on defunct schools. Here is the continued list in no particular order again (I try my best to rearrange them according to districts):

* * *

Monk’s Hill Secondary School (Newton)

Merged into Balestier Hill Secondary School in 2007

The school’s history began in 1958 on a plot of land that was once the site of a Chinese monastery, hence the name ‘Monk’s Hill’. It became an integrated school in 1961, offering both English- and Malay-medium education to its intake of pupils but both mediums were merge in 1976. From then on, it has established itself as an English-medium school. It became a single-session school when it shifted to its new premises at 12 Winstedt Road in 1993.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Sec4-3 of 1991

Sec4-3 of 1991

In 1960, Monk’s Hill presented its first batch of candidates for the national School Certificate Examination. In 1964, the school song was composed and it held its first Speech and Prize-Presentation Day in 1967.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Newton Boys’ School (Newton)

Merged into Monk’s Hill Primary School in 1978

Newton Boys’ was established in 1956, right next to Monk’s Hill Primary School. It was one of the schools in Cairnhill-Newton area that was hit by declining enrolment. Due to its inability to sustain economically, it ceased operations 21 years after its opening. While students could still utilise Newton Boys’ premises, they were to be under the charge of Monk’s Hill Primary School.

1968

1968

2013

2013

1970

1970

1961

1961

1968

1968

No further information can be found. I did come across “Winstedt School” (also in the vicinity but closed in 1973) while trying to gather more information about Newton Boys’ but I am not certain if these two schools were in any way related.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Monk’s Hill Primary School (Newton)

Closed after 1986 (exact year unknown)

Like Newton Boys’, Monk’s Hill Primary started out as an all-boys school. Monk’s Hill Primary and Newton Boys’ were relatively near to each other and students from both schools would come together to play the “Police and Thief” game. Otherwise, they (the boys in particular) would be “fighting” over girls from neighbouring Anthony Road Girls’ School.

The school’s year of establishment is not known, but it could have been around since 1950.

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Monk’s Hill Primary merged with Newton Boys’ School in 1978 and operated out of the latter’s campus. One block of its building was converted into a language centre for secondary and junior college students taking French, German and Japanese under a special Education Ministry scheme. Prior to that, it was used by the Vocational and Industrial Training Board.

In 1957, Hua Yi Secondary School moved to Monk’s Hill Primary’s building (probably shared) and only stayed there for a year before shifting again to its very own building at Margaret Drive.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Cairnhill Primary School (Newton)

Closed in 1980

Started as an all-girls school in 1958 (verification needed) at the present site of Raffles Girls’ Secondary School today, it shifted to Cairnhill Road a year later and possibly at the same time became co-ed. (History quoted from Hamida Pagi)

Following a steady decline in its enrolment, the Ministry of Education then decided to phase out the school by the end of 1980. Its students were given alternative places in nearby schools such as Monk’s Hill Primary and Anthony Road Girls’ School which were also plagued by poor enrolment. Both said schools are no longer existent today.

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1960

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After Cairnhill was demolished, Anglo Chinese School (Junior) took over its site for about two decades before finally shifting to its present location at Windstedt Road. The site at Cairnhill Road is now occupied by Ministry of Education Language Centre (Newton). The facade of Cairnhill Primary can still be seen today.

Local actor Adrian Pang, comedian Kumar and singer Rahima Rahim attended Cairnhill Primary School. Wow, if Rangoon Road Primary (mentioned in PART 1) was a school that groomed a generation of politicians, then Cairnhill Primary definitely was one that groomed a troupe of performers!!

Source: [1] [2]


Elling North School
Elling South School (Bartley)

Merged in 1985 to form Elling Primary School (verification needed)
Closed in 1996

Elling North School started functioning as a boys’ school in 1958 until 1960. It was renamed to Elling North Primary School in 1979 when it became a fully English-medium school. The school buildings were later converted into JAMIYAH Children’s Home (Darul Ma’wa) in 1993.

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Elling North School

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Elling Primary School – Batch 1991-1996

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Elling South School – Class of 1981

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Elling South School – Class P5B of 1981

No further information can be found for Elling South and the amalgamated school except for the fact that Singapore’s first female commercial pilot Teo Ah Hong was from Elling South School.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Maju Secondary School (Dakota)

Merged into Broadrick Secondary School in 1996

The school was established in 1968. According to a Malay teacher there, female Maju students (or “Majuans”, as they called themselves) were allowed to wear uniform in either baju kurung or blouse. Some of the Chinese students followed suit and wore baju kurung. Not sure how true that is because all the class photos I found on Maju Sec’s Facebook page had no female students in baju kurung.

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Class Sec4-5 of 1985

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Courtyard

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1995

Correct me if I’m wrong (I can’t find any supporting references), but the school gives me an impression that it was a Malay-populated school. So could it be one of the few Malay-medium schools in the early days of Singapore’s independence?

Maju Secondary was also one of the few French centres set up in 1978 to allow students to take up French as their second or third language. The centre was closed in 1983.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]


Mount Vernon Secondary School (Potong Pasir/MacPherson)

Closed in 1990/1991 (verification needed)

The school was opened in 1969 but was never known to produce excellent academic results until one of its deaf pupils appeared on the news for topping the two Secondary 5 classes for GCE “O” level in 1986. Having received extra coaching from a resource teacher who could do signs and lip reading, Mount Vernon was one of the few normal schools then that accepted handicapped (or in this case, mute-deaf) students. They had as many as 50 students with such disabilities in 1986.

The school was also the first and only one then to represent Singapore in a United Nations’ peace project.

To join Mount Vernon Secondary’s Alumni Facebook page (closed group), click here.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Sang Nila Utama Secondary School (Aljunied)

Closed in 1988

The school was the first Malay-medium secondary school established in Singapore and the third secondary school built after Singapore achieved self-government in 1959. Named after Sang Nila Utama, the Prince of Palembang who was believed to be the founder of Singapura, it was officially opened in 1961. The opening of the secondary school was seen as the most significant milestone in the development of Malay education in Singapore since the establishment of the first Malay primary school at Telok Blangah in 1856.

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1969

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1978

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Following the Ministry of Education’s decision to phase out all non-English-medium pre-university centres by 1981, Sang Nila Utama Secondary School stopped accepting pre-university students at the beginning of 1979. The existing pre-university Malay stream classes were transferred to Bartley Secondary School. The school intake of Malay-stream secondary classes also suffered a decline over the years. By 1984, only two classes remained, with an enrolment of 37 students. The school building served as temporary accommodation for the nearby Cedar Girls’ Secondary School when the latter’s school building was undergoing renovation. The building currently houses the Gurkha Contingent.

(History lifted from NLB)

Source: [1]


Kallang Primary School (Mountbatten)

Closed/Merged into Guillemard West Primary School in 1987 (verification needed)

Founded in the 1960s, the school was formerly known as Kallang Integrated Primary School – a merged school between Kallang Government Chinese Primary School and Kallang English School.

Receipt for school fees payment

Receipt for school fees payment. All schools had it.

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It had a very remarkable principal (Mrs Molly Chan, transferred to Swiss Cottage Primary in 1983) who pioneered the Care, Save and Share programme “to save many innocent children from going astray”. You can read snippets of her interview here. Principals like her who tries to build rapport with staff and students are hard to come by these days..

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Beng Wan Primary School (Kallang)

Merged into Bendemeer Primary School in 2004

The school (秉文小学) started functioning in 1977 with pupils from Griffiths Primary, Beatty Primary, Balestier Boys’ School, Balestier Girls’ School, Balestier Primary and Kwong Avenue schools. At the same year, Bendemeer Secondary functioned at Beng Wan’s building for three months before it shifted to its new building. Beng Wan Primary was also where the first Hindi classes (organised by the Pro-Tem Hindi Committee to look into the study of Hindi in Singapore) were conducted.

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Aerial view in 1978

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The most-feared person in schools.. (except for me. I loved visiting the dentist. Always wished that my milk teeth would be shaky so that I could visit the school dentist LOL I’m hella weird)

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Morning assembly in the 1970s

The main Beng Wan Primary Facebook page is locked so I am unable to retrieve information from there. To join, click here.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Jaya Primary School (Bedok)

Closed in 1998

Opened in 1984 when a growing emphasis was placed upon the use of English, Jaya Primary was as an English-medium school which offered Chinese, Malay and Tamil languages just like any other schools today. However even before the school was officially opened, there were feedback about the inconvenience of the school for it was located near light industries and away from the major portion of the residential area. There were also no direct bus service to the school. Could all these be the reasons for its closure?

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Anyway, it’s quite common for primary schools in the past to have a mini “zoo” within the school compound. For Jaya, they had 2 geese named Ganda and Gandi which were, according to some ex-students, killed by some thieves who broke into the school.

Sadly, the school had a really short history. Its remaining students were received by East Coast Primary School when it closed.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]


Bedok North Primary School (Bedok)

Merged into East Coast Primary School in 2001

One of the many primary schools in Bedok (quite evident from this post and the last), this school was established in 1980 and was the first of the new generation schools to be built in Bedok North HDB estate. It however received poor enrolment even when registration first started, probably due to the excessive number of new schools (way too many if you ask me) built in the same area at the same time and stiff competition from other popular schools. Like Jaya Primary, it was pretty short-lived and was also absorbed by East Coast Primary upon its closure.

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Source: [1] [2] [3]


Bedok Town Primary School (Bedok)

Merged into Telok Kurau Primary School in 2001

The small school started in 1982. 19 years later, it got merged with Telok Kuraru Primary. The land that used to sit Bedok Town Primary is now an open field. Right beside that plot of land is Bedok Town Secondary, also closing by the end of 2015.

Source: [1] [2]


Bedok South Primary School
Bedok View Primary School (Bedok)

Merged in 2002 to form Bedok Green Primary School

Officially opened in 1981 (but started accepting students in 1980), Bedok South was the second (newer?) primary school built in Bedok. The school was recognised for its exemplary performance in sports – soccer in particular – as it won in an inter-school soccer match against schools from all over Singapore in the 1980s. One of their players was Nordin Khalil, who got selected to play in the national soccer team.

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Bedok South Primary School

Bedok View was opened in 1977 and was joined by students from Pin Ghee High School at Chai Chee, and Bedok Primary when both schools closed in 1976 and 1996 respectively. It shifted from the junction of New Upper Changi Road and Bedok South Avenue 3 (now Katong School run by Association for Persons with Special Needs since 2007) to Bedok South Avenue 2.

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Bedok View Primary School

Local actress Priscelia Chan attended Bedok View Primary.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

Fun fact: Including schools that were closed previously, there are more than 20 schools bearing the name “Bedok”. They include Bedok North Primary, Bedok North Secondary, Bedok Primary, Bedok South Primary, Bedok South Secondary, Bedok Town Primary, Bedok Town Secondary, Bedok View Primary, Bedok View Secondary, Bedok West Primary, Bedok Girls’ School and Bedok Boys’ School. All of these schools experienced receiving letters and calls addressed to other schools at least once. Well, you can’t really blame the postman. Being someone who rarely travels to the east, I am genuinely confused either. [Source]


Min Xin Primary School (Bedok)

Merged into Yu Neng Primary School in 2003

Located next to Yu Neng Primary (which made merging so convenient), Min Xin was started in early 1960’s by a group of Chinese businessmen to promote Chinese education in Singapore. It was originally at Jalan Bumbun Utara (also in Bedok) and called Bin Sin Chinese School. In 1982, the school was taken over by the Government and the medium language was converted to English. It was also renamed to Min Xin Primary and relocated to Bedok North Street 3.

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Then

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Now (it should be gone by now)

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The school exterior

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Min Xin Primary, I believe, is one of those schools that people can hardly remember today. This is not surprising considering that when you try Googling its name, “Xinmin Primary” shows up in the results instead. No, they are not affiliated to each other.

Today its premises are occupied by the Rumah Kebajikan Muhammadiyah (RKM) or Muhammadiyah Welfare Home for the youth and children.

(History quoted from ex-student Mohamed Ridhwan)

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Ping Yi Primary School (Bedok)

Merged into Fengshan Primary School in 2001

Did you know that prior to the construction of Ping Yi Primary (unable to find when), that land was dedicated to a cemetery? I know, everyone says something similar about their schools and there’s indeed no concrete evidence to this hearsay, but there are quite a number of spooky stories about Ping Yi Primary floating around on the net. So whether you believe it or not, it’s up to you. 😀

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Old map that shows the location of Ping Yi Primary

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The merged school is now functioning at the new school built at Bedok North Rd (former Ping Yi Primary Site). Part of the Ping Yi’s building has also been demolished and converted into Fengshan’s school field.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Telok Kurau Malay Girls’ School
Telok Kurau West School (Bedok)

Merged in 1983 to form Telok Kurau West Primary School
Merged with Telok Kurau East School in 1985 to form Telok Kurau Primary School
Merged with Bedok Town Primary School in 2001 to form Telok Kurau Primary School

As you can see, the Telok Kurau Primary we have today is actually an amalgamation of several schools – Telok Kurau Malay Girls (formed 1960), Telok Kurau West (formed 1692), Telok Kurau English School (formed 1926, later renamed to Telok Kurau East School in 1962) and lastly, Bedok Town Primary schools (read history above).  Our Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew was an ex-student of Telok Kurau English School – a fact that the school today boasts about. A lot.

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Telok Kurau East School

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Telok Kurau East School

Telok Kurau Malay Girls’, as the name suggests, is a Malay medium primary school. On the other hand, Telok Kurau West and English schools had their lessons conducted mainly in English and they only admitted boys until the former changed its name and both schools merged.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Woodsville Primary School (Geylang)

Merged into MacPherson Primary School in 2002

The school was officially opened in 1979 at the junction of Jalan Kolam Ayer and Aljunied Road (near to housing estates but it was very congested) and was the second school to be opened that year.

In 1987, the school adopted an unusual programme to instill a sense of responsibility among its students, and foster goodwill among the teachers. This programme included a free-wheeling book system where students could pick up books and keep them for as long as they wanted without having to step into the library and going through any formal lending procedures. On top of that, (now here’s the interesting part) teachers were encouraged to “adopt” students from broken families by giving them pocket money, buying them books or supplying them uniforms. According to the principal, the scheme worked but whoa, if it were to be devised today, I’m pretty sure it would backfire. Haha.

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During the same period, the school also had a discipline master (Mr Clifford Oliveiro) who was also an accomplished musician. Every week when teachers were having contact time, the students had to read their storybooks until the meeting ended. To save the entire school from boredom, Mr Oliveiro would go on stage with his guitar and strum to a variety of songs (e.g. El Condor Pasa, Those Were The Days) that got the whole school singing. The school’s winning of their first SYF Gold Award was probably attributed to the frequent singing “practices” the students had.

(While writing this portion of text, I had the sudden urge to listen to songs by Simon and Garfunkel (I’m an oldie junkie, remember?). If you’re feeling the same, you can listen to them on Spotify hehe)

What an incredibly cool school!!

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Woodsville Secondary School (Geylang)

Merged into MacPherson Secondary School in 2004

A quick search on the school’s name online would reveal that the school (formed in 1977) was pretty adroit at sports. It had a swimmer (Sandy Ang) who created Singapore track history when he became the first schoolboy to smash the 22-second barrier in the 200-metre relay in 1984.  Even famous local blogger Bong Qiuqiu, also an old girl from Woodsville, was part of the school’s netball team. There are also reports of the school participating in various sports competition such as basketball, badminton and gymnastics.

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Sec 4-6 of 1983

Official Facebook page here.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Tanjong Rhu Boys’ School
Tanjong Rhu Girls’ School
Tanjong Rhu Primary School (Kallang)

Merged in 1984 to form Tanjong Rhu Primary School
Closed in 1989

Tanjong Rhu Boys’ was built in 1950 beside Tanjong Rhu Girls’, also formed in the same year. Boys would occasionally intrude into the girls’ side of the field, much to the displeasure of the staff from Tanjong Rhu Girls’.

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Tanjong Rhu Boys’ School

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Tanjong Rhu Girls’ School

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Tanjong Rhu Girls’ School

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Canteen shared by Tanjong Rhu Boys’ and Girls’

Tanjong Rhu Primary already existed before both single-sex schools merged. It was a Chinese-based school until its enrolment started falling and eventually drove the school to become integrated (by having both Chinese and English based curriculum). After the merger, the amalgamated school occupied the grounds of Tanjong Rhu Boys’ and Girls’ while the original Tanjong Rhu Primary building was leased out. The school had been demolished to make way for Dunman High School.

I won’t comment much on the history of these three schools as there are other sites that have done so. These authors had first-hand experience and me paraphrasing what they wrote would seem like I’m discrediting them and disrespecting the schools. So please, click here and here for more information 🙂 These schools also have an (combined) active Facebook group.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


Norfolk Primary School (Farrer Park)

Closed in 1984

Norfolk Primary and Cambridge Primary sat side by side thus it was only economical to share the same field (which was also where the rivalry between both schools began). Norfolk’s year of establishment is not known.

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Flooding was a commonplace in the olden days of Singapore. Norfolk and Cambridge (below) were badly affected on several occasions.

When Norfolk shut its doors in 1984, students were conveniently transferred to Cambridge Primary.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Cambridge Primary School (Farrer Park)

Closed in 1998

Cambridge Primary (est. 1963) and Norfolk Primary have similar history. There used to be a tidbit stall just opposite both schools and students usually flocked there to buy shaved ice. A room on the second level of Cambridge Primary was dedicated to caning students (that’s what one person said.. haha) while the most feared dental room was on the ground floor.  According to most people who studied there, there used to be a well-liked Eurasian principal called Mr Dragon who unfortunately passed away in the 1980s.

Cambridge was also one of the few schools in Singapore to have their school song entirely in Malay.

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Today, Cambridge Primary serves as dormitory. This is the main entrance.

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Where flag raising ceremony used to be held at

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The back gate

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The school field shared with Norfolk Primary.

In 1993, the school came first in an Art Olympiad. Beating 33 schools and 99 other pupils, the triumph brought much glory to the school. The event was even reported on a Chinese newspaper!

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Art Olympiad

The rest of its students joined May Primary School which is now known as Farrer Park Primary School. The site of Cambridge is now a foreign student dormitory.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Owen School (Farrer Park)

Closed in 1988

The school started in 1955. People who are aware of the 2 missing “McDonald’s” boys in 1986 would most probably know about this school as well, because those two boys studied there and disappeared before just their class commenced. Not a very glamorous thing to be remembered and known for, especially when the school was already on the brink of closure.

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Owen Primary’s tuckshop

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Owen School didn’t have a multi-purpose hall, so students had to sit on the grass field during assembly. When it poured, the playful ones would take the opportunity to catch earthworms and red ants on the field.

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The school was at the junction of Owen Road and Oxford Road. The ill-fated Hotel New World (collapsed in 1986) was just nearby along Owen Road.

Apart from the 2 missing Primary 6 boys, there were of course other famous alumni as well, the most well-known being Singapore Democratic Alliance Party’s Desmond Lim (you may remember him as the one who spoke at the SDA’s online rally last January).

Cambridge Primary absorbed the students of Owen Primary when the latter closed. The building of Owen School remained on the ground for decades until it was finally torn down in July this year. At one point it was converted into “Cambridge International Hostel”.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


Dorset Primary School (Newton/Farrer Park)

Closed after 1980 (exact year unknown)

The last in the Farrer Park cluster of primary schools I’m going to talk about. While researching on this school, I found myself getting limited information for “Dorset Primary School” but a lot more when I removed the “Primary” from it. Dorset School, according to an article, was an all-boys school originally named Dorset Road School and established in 1954. But I actually read an ex-student’s account about it being a mixed school (plus all the Dorset Primary photos from NAS have girls in them)! Did Dorset start accepting female students along the way? I don’t know.

Anyway, there’s no reports about its official closure but it could be in 1981 when Catholic High took over the premises of Dorset School completely. Students from Dorset were given the option to transfer to CHS Primary or to other schools but I saw that a lot of Dorset kids went to Cambridge instead. Whatever it is, the facts for this school are a little contradictory so it would be good if more ex-students could come forward and verify the facts.

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The school was formed around the same time as Owen School. However, Dorset proved to be the more popular choice as it received more applicants than its vacancies. But the popularity obviously didn’t last.

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Tuckshop

Ang Mo Kio Primary housed its Primary 1 students at Dorset Primary School for the first three months of its opening in the late seventies while waiting for their own building to be completed.

Ex-students who are interested to join Dorset Primary’s Facebook group can request permission to do so here.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Parry Secondary School
Hwi Yoh Secondary School (Serangoon)

Merged in 1984 to form Peicai Secondary School

Parry Secondary was formed in 1966 and officially opened in 1968 (first batch in 1969) at Parry Avenue. The school uniform, considered “smart” at that time, comprised of a compulsory school tie where students had to pin the school badge on, a white shirt with light green skirt that had two inverted pleats in front complete with a belt made from the same cloth as the skirt. That’s for the girls, of course. For the boys, I’m not too sure, but pictures suggest that the white top could be paired with white shorts (no long pants – that’s only for prefects!).

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Parry Secondary School 1981

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Parry Secondary School 1981

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Parry Secondary School 1981

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Parry Secondary School 1981

It offered Normal and Technical subjects (students were allowed to choose between the two freely). The subjects offered in Normal stream were Geography, Literature, Maths, General Science, Biology, Chinese and Domestic Science (kind of like our present Home Economics). Domestic Science was offered as an “O” level subject. Technical subjects were purely related to carpentry working on machinery.

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Parry Secondary night view

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The school had an exhibition of creations made with paper and wood with Serangoon Garden Secondary in 1980, 3 years before its closure.

After it closed, Rosyth School moved to the site of Parry Secondary due to space constraints in its previous premises.

Hwi Yoh Secondary was completed in 1967 and it admitted its first students in 1968. It was the 103rd school built by the then-government and was judged the cleanest secondary school in the inter-school cleanliness competition in 1971. The school was a centralised workshop catering for students from nine schools due to its availability of facilities for the studies of technical and academic subjects in the English and Chinese medium.

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Hwi Yoh Secondary School 1971

Like Parry Secondary, Hwi Yoh actively participated in extramural activities.

In 1982 however, the school’s Principal Mrs Jillian Scully took her own life together with the rest of her family at their home. It was speculated that she, together with their two young children, was coerced by her husband Victor Scully, a swindler who was close to be arrested and jailed for the second time, to do so.

Both schools merged and Peicai Secondary was born, but how did the name Peicai come about? Apparently, Parry in Hanyu Pinyin was “Peili” while Hwi Yoh was “Xicai”. The new name was derived by fusing the head and the tail of the two names in Hanyu Pinyin. The merger, as expected, was a result of falling enrolment and population shifts to new town and these two schools were the only secondary schools that merged that year. Today, Peicai Secondary is located at Serangoon Avenue 4.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14]


Charlton School (Kovan)

Merged into Xinghua Primary School in 2003

Charlton took in its first batch of students in 1954 and was temporarily housed at Serangoon English Afternoon School because its own building at Arazoo Avenue was not ready for occupation yet. The school was remembered by students to have a little gardening area where pupils could cultivate some flowers and plant some common vegetables. It was also there where students got to interact with one another from different classes.

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There is no Facebook group for Charlton except for this which has only 53 likes but the admin doesn’t really post much school-related stuff. Time to start reconnecting with your ex-schoolmates, Charltonians! What do you say? 🙂

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Parry Primary School (Kovan)

Merged into Xinghua Primary School in 2007

Among the primary schools in Kovan in the 1980s were Parry Avenue Boys’ School, Parry Avenue Girls’ School and Parry Ave Government Chinese Middle School (co-ed) which were set up in the mid-late 1950s. All three schools merged in 1981 to become the new Parry Primary School, using the blocks of the parent schools (thus had three canteens). They were labelled blocks A, B and C and were former Parry Avenue Boys’ School, Parry Avenue Girls’ School and Parry Chinese School respectively. Each block hosted different levels of classes – Block A housed the primary threes and sixes, Block B for the primary ones and twos and Block C for the primary fours and fives.

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Parry Primary’s oversized school field which was also shared with Rosyth School when latter took over Parry Secondary’s site until it shifted.

Think that you’ve seen the field before somewhere? Well, you had probably seen it on TV in the late 90’s/early 2000s (thanks Tammi!):

Blast to the past: check out 00:26 to 00:34 of Kit Chan’s Royal Umbrella commercial!

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The new Parry Primary became one of the first two primary schools in 1981 to go full day (meaning being lessons to function from 7.30am to 2.30pm or 3.00pm depending on the level and thereafter, students would proceed with their ECAs. Of course, homework was lessen and teaching became more laxed) but the programme wasn’t well-received and was eventually scrapped in 1983.

Students there wore blue uniform.

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Along Parry Avenue lay a Japanese cemetery, several private and abandoned houses. There were also factories nearby. The school building now is vacant. Previously it was used as a student hostel.

One of Parry’s ex-students is 97.2fm DJ Violet Fenying.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


Jalan Kayu Primary School (Sengkang)

Closed in 1988

Most schools in the past were named after the street the building was built on (you should already be able to tell by now). Jalan Kayu Primary was no different. Built in 1955 and officially opened in 1958, it was named as such due to its locality. Jalan Kayu is Malay for “Wood Road” but colloquially, “Kayu” is used to describe someone stupid. Thus, Jalan Kayu Primary’s students often get teased.

… whenever I say I am from Jalan Kayu (Primary), people reply “Then you must be kayu (dimwitted).”

– 11 year-old Zhang Yijin who was the first student in the school to score 4 A stars in the 1987 PSLE

The school started with every class filled to capacity. Students generally were children of farmers shopkeepers, and technicians and labourers employed by the R.A.F. (Royal Air Force). The school first experienced a dip in enrolment in the early Seventies when people started moving out of the area to other satellite towns.

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Class of 1968

Jalan Kayu Primary (JKPS) has 2 conflicting years of cessation. According to the history of Ang Mo Kio Primary, they were joined by pupils and teachers from JKPS in 1978. However a 1989 article from The Straits Times indicated that the school was only closed in 1988. Not sure which to believe, but I’m sure a national newspaper is a more reliable source. The school is now submersed beneath the TPE (Tampines Expressway).

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]


Keppel School
Cantonment School (Tanjong Pagar)

Merged in 1984 to form Keppel Primary School
Closed in 1996

Keppel and Cantonment were established in 1954 and situated next to each other without a barrier separating them. Despite that, students were not allowed to cross over to other side. Prior to having their own buildings, students from both schools temporarily accommodated in Gan Eng Seng School.

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Primary 3A of 1980

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Keppel Primary School

The schools were named after the busy roads of Keppel and Cantonment. The noise of traffic using Cantonment Road was so loud that classes had to be conducted using microphone. The government even considered resitting both schools as their sites were uncondusive for learning.

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Students from Keppel Primary going on an excursion to an unknown place

The merged school had a very accomplished band having won several Gold awards. The school also used to conduct lessons at the nearby Yan Kit Swimming Complex. According to an old student, when news about the merger broke, both schools had a swimming competition to determine the name of the school. Cantonment School eventually won but they were kind enough to let Keppel keep its name. Interesting! But this arrangement looks too informal to be true. Can anyone confirm this? Haha.

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The old Cantonment School is not to be confused with the present Cantonment Primary School (established in 2011 at Cantonment Close). The merged school became offices for the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau until 2004. Now, the building is used by private businesses as offices.

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Our then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew at Cantonment Primary for the Use Your Hands Campaign in 1978

By the end of 1996, Keppel Primary closed its doors and its remaining students joined Zhangde Primary.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]


Labrador Primary School (Pasir Panjang)

Closed in 1988

Established in 1961 at Pasir Panjang Road, the four-storey school accommodated students of four streams – English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. Most of the students seem to be of Malay descent though, judging from the pictures and conversation posted on their Facebook page.

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The Labrador Primary School today

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Class outing to what seems to be Little Guilin

The school closed because of falling enrolment and its 172 pupils were transferred to Jagoh Primary. The campus was then used by Singapore Polytechnic for its Business Administration course to meet the increased demand for places in the course. Today, it houses Bayanihan Centre (training centre for Philippines association).

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


Jagoh Primary School (Telok Blangah)

Closed in 1999

The school was established in 1985, officially opened in 1987 but closed about 14 years later after not offering Primary One places since 1998. That’s a very short survival duration. I don’t get it though.. why build another school when the one nearby (Labrador Primary) was already suffering from declining enrolment?

There used to be a Kampong Jagoh Primary School in the late 1960s too. However I am not sure if both schools were related.

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Jagoh Primary School

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A Chinese class in 1988

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Gosh! Anyone remembers this? This was also implemented during my primary school days (1997-2002)! No one was allowed to exit the class without this. But after awhile, the school kinda stopped reinforcing it haha.

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After 1999, students were transferred to Blangah Rise Primary School.

The site where Jagoh Primary used to stand is now Telok Blangah MRT station.

Source: [1] [2]


Yuqun Primary School (Jurong East)

Merged into Yuhua Primary School in 2002

Formally known as Joo Koon Public School at Jurong Road, Yuqun Primary shifted to Jurong East Street 24 in 1984 and was officially opened in 1986. It was originally set up by a Chinese businessman (same history as Joo Hwa Public School – now known as Yuhua Primary) in the 1930s but was destroyed during the Japanese occupation. It was rebuilt after the war and subsequently became a government-aided school in 1950.

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I vividly remember the facade of the school because of the chimney-looking roof. The unique roof is still there but has already been painted purple.

Since its closure, its premises have been used as a holding site for schools undergoing PRIME such as Dazhong Primary and St. Anthony’s Primary (presently there until December 2014). You are still able to see the building if take the Jurong East-bound or Marina Bay-bound trains along the North-South line as its somewhere between Jurong East and Bukit Batok stations.

Source: [1] [2]


Pandan Primary School (Jurong East/Teban Gardens)

Merged into Fuhua Primary School in 2008

The school was established in 1981 at West Coast Road. It used to be a popular choice among parents living in that area because of its convenience and good teaching facilities.

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Before it got demolished

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Pandan Primary’s first batch of Primary 1 students

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Primary 2C of 1983

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The school’s canteen-cum-hall

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The school hall

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Pandan Primary’s last day

There was a drain that led to the school compound and latecomers often sneaked in through that secret passage without getting caught (oops, secret exposed!). It has now been barricaded.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


Boon Lay Primary School (Jurong East)

Merged into Jurong Primary School in 2006

Boon Lay Primary started out as Boon Lay Lama Primary at Old Jurong Road in 1960 before it shifted to Jurong East in 1984.

Here’s a more detailed description of the old Boon Lay Lama Primary:

Across the school there was a row of shop houses. There were two entrances into the school. One entrance was next to the girls’ toilet and the other was the main one that leads to the administration and staff, and principal office. There were two rows of buildings that housed all classes. In between the rows, there were at least two small open fields that used for assembly and as a playground. There were three verandas with roof that connect these buildings. To the west, a large football field which was fenced with metal wire and some tall trees along its parameter. The fence separates the Chinese school and ours. The whole school was fenced, once go in there, nobody could escape or leave without authorized permission. One end of the building was the canteen (a.k.a tuckshop) to the north, the boys’ toilet, next was the girls’ toilet. The other side of building was the school keeper’s house

– Extracted from David Yon’s description on the Boon Lay Primary’s Facebook Group

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Batch 1989

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Class 7Extended2 (students were born in 1978)

The new Boon Lay Primary produced some of the best national talents such as 10-year-old Loh Xiao Wei who beat 12 other aspirant chess players to win the girls’ National Schools Junior Individual Chess Championship under-10 Championship. She also became the youngest female winner at the 1994 National Championship. Hence, the school was widely known for being strong in chess. The spotlight was shone on the school again in 2004 as Primary 6 pupil Siti Nur Alyssyah emerged as champion among primary and secondary school students in a public speaking competition.

With such exceptional performance, no one would have expected the school to close. In fact, it was also slated to be upgraded by 2007 according to a 2003 report. So what exactly happened?

Anyway, it is also worth noting that our very first Singapore Idol Taufik Batisah attended Boon Lay Primary too 🙂

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Jubilee Primary School (West Coast)

Merged into Qifa Primary School in 1996

Opened in 1967 at Bukit Timah, it was an integrated school using English and Malay as the media of instruction. It was later merged with Jubilee Malay School in 1983 when English education became more popular with parents, and the school relocated to the latter’s site at West Coast.

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In 1996, the school closed with impressive PSLE results with a pass rate of 94% and out of which, 76% of them were qualified for the Express stream. Jubilee was the first school to merge with Qifa Primary (the second was Jin Tai Primary, as mentioned in my first entry).

If you are an alumni, do join Jubilee Primary’s Facebook page that has over 900 members to date.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Buona Vista Secondary School (Commonwealth)

Merged into Queensway Secondary School in 2001

The school opened its doors to pupils in 1967 and was originally known as Chip Bee Secondary (named after the estate). However, the name was changed to what it was last known as on the eve of its official opening in 1968. It was one of the three government schools then which conducted classes in English, Chinese and Malay streams. In the 1970s, the school band joined forces with Tanglin Secondary School band and won several awards.

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Digress: As I was trying to get more information about this school, I stumbled upon at least two news reports on its students’ suicide. First was a student who plunged into Jurong Lake because she failed her GCE in 1973 while the other took poison after the school principal reproved her for playing truant in 1971.

Okay.

I mean no disrespect but sigh, why is student suicidal so common last time? It’s so depressing. But I’m glad students are more sensible today (I hope). Remember, life isn’t a joke.

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The one in this picture is Mr Chong. If you’re reading this, your student Connie Koh is looking for you!

The building of Buona Vista Secondary is now occupied by Anglo-Chinese School (International).

Queensway Secondary also absorbed Mei Chin Secondary, which closed in 2000.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


Margaret Drive Primary School (Queenstown)

Closed in 1986

The school was formed at a low cost in 1958 with just 17 classrooms, an office and a tuckshop. Over the years, more new and better-equipped schools were built and parents preferred to send their schools elsewhere. With that, the enrolment of Margaret Drive Primary fell and the school closed after 28 years of service.

Photo courtesy of Yahoo News (Wong Kok Leong)

Photo courtesy of Yahoo News (Wong Kok Leong)

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Not long after Margaret Drive Primary was demolished, a new building was constructed for Margaret Drive Special School for autistic children. The special school was then renamed to Rainbow Center.

Margaret Drive Primary was legally known as Margaret Drive School, but I choose to include “Primary” to avoid confusion due to the ambiguity in its name.

Source: [1] [2]


Kebun Baru Primary School (Ang Mo Kio)

Merged into Ang Mo Kio Primary School in 2002

The school was the last primary school built for Ang Mo Kio residents in 1985. With the completion of the 188th school built by the government, no more new school were constructed for children in Kebun Baru constituency and the surrounding private residential estates around Yio Chu Kang and Thomson Hills.

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Kebun Baru Primary School

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Kebun Baru Primary School uniform – so unique!

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Primary 6B of 1988

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It started functioning with an enrolment of 320 students in eight Primary One classes and 11 teachers and lessons were originally held at the now-defunct Li Hua Primary School.

The building is now a holding site for Anderson Primary School which is also a merged school (refer to my previous entry for its history).

Midfielder Fabian Kwok was a student of Kebun Baru Primary.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Chong Boon Primary School (Ang Mo Kio)

Merged into Da Qiao Primary School in 2000

The school was built in 1980 and used to stand side-by-side at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 with Chong Li and Anderson Primary schools. Prior to that, it was known as Chong Boon School in Lorong Kinchir at Braddell and was there since the 1940s. Not sure why it shifted in the end but the school was given an eviction notice in 1956 by the new landlord. It wouldn’t take three decades for the school to move so I guess they eventually succeeded in preventing the notice from being enforced.

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Chong Boon Primary School in 2003 (before it was demolished)

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Inside the school

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In the classroom of Primary 6N2 (1987)

The building has been refurbished to accommodate more students from Pathlight School.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Chong Li Primary School (Ang Mo Kio)

Merged into Teck Ghee Primary School in 2003

Chong Li Primary began in the late 1940s as Chong Lip Chinese School, located off Upper Thomson Road. The school catered to children living in villages that area. It became a government school later on and was officially opened again in 1983 (the school started in 1981), holding classes in the old premises of Braddell Secondary School. As its student population grew bigger, it shifted again to 4 Ang Mo Kio Street 44.

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Female students from Chong Li before the 90’s would don in sleeveless blue polka dot blouse with a blue ribbon attached to the middle of collar. But it was later phased out and replaced by a shirt with sewn-on badge to resemble the boys’ attire which remained unchanged throughout the years.

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Old uniform for girls can be seen here

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New girls’ uniform

Source: [1]


Chong De Primary School (Ang Mo Kio)

Closed in 1998

The $4.28-million school was ready for occupation in 1982 but it started accepting students in 1981, who had lessons at neighbouring Ang Mo Kio North Primary and then at Chong Shan Primary School before moving to their own building. Chong De was the 12th primary school constructed in Ang Mo Kio.

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Its remaining students joined Chong Shan Primary School again after its closure. Townsville Primary now sits on the former site of Chong De Primary.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]

And yes, I’m equally puzzled by the number of schools in Ang Mo Kio with names beginning with “Chong”. Was it a coincidence? Schools in Ang Mo Kio bearing “Chong” in its name were: Chong Boon Primary, Chong Li Primary, Chong De Primary, Chong Shan Primary and Chong Boon Secondary.


Heng A Khe Bong School (Toa Payoh)

Closed in 1993

Heng A Khe Bong School was an amalgamation between two Chinese primary schools in the vicinity of Telok Ayer. They were Heng A School (est. 1918) and Khe Bong School (est. 1920).  As the schools were poorly equipped and the population around the area was diminishing,  the enrolments in both schools declined steadily. Thus, the management committees of both schools launched a fund-raising project for the construction of a new school in a populated area. Both schools merged and relocated to Toa Payoh New Town in 1971. It was officially opened in 1975.

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Heng A Khe Bong School

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An ex-student’s impression

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All boys

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Primary 6A of 1986

Thanks to a donation, the school was the first primary school in Singapore to own a computer.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


MacRitchie Primary School (Toa Payoh)

Closed in 1997

Founded in 1976 and officially opened in 1977, it was located at the modest town of Toa Payoh. It was situated beside an old wet market along Lorong 8, where the school’s main gate overlooked Blk 225 Toa Payoh. The school began as an integrated school comprising 38 English medium classes and 8 Chinese medium classes. The majority of the English medium students and teachers came from Whitley Primary School which closed in 1975. The other group of Chinese medium stream students were from Nam Ann Primary School which also closed in the same year.

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MacRitchie Primary School

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The school shared the same field as Braddell Primary School and typically, students from both schools would fight with one another.

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An ex-student’s impression of the school

Dr Koh Poh Koon, a PAP candidate for Punggol East in the 2013 General Election, attended MacRitchie Primary. Other alumni include music composer and singer Azmeer, national footballer Rezal Hassan, Artist-Scriptwriter-Producer Djohan ‘Bobo’ bin Abdul Rahman and Had Adnan from rock band Rancour.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Upper Serangoon Secondary School (Toa Payoh)

Merged into First Toa Payoh Secondary School in 2004

Located at 279 Upper Serangoon Road, it was previously known as Upper Serangoon Technical School (USTS). USTS officially opened in 1966 to offer technical education for the Malay-medium students. I am not sure if UTST relocated when it was renamed, but my intuition tells me that it could be.

Stamford American International School now stands on the former ground of Upper Serangoon Secondary.

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Ex-students visiting their alma mater

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Upper Serangoon Technical School

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Upper Serangoon Secondary School

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Upper Serangoon Secondary School

Yam Ah Mee (you may remember him as the one who delivered the results of the 2011 and 2013 General Elections) attended USTS.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


East Payoh Secondary School (Toa Payoh)

Closed in 1998

The school was completed in 1975 and declared open in 1976 along Lorong 7 of the Kim Keat Constituency which was part of the large Toa Payoh estate. It was the 114th school built by the government. The four-storey building offered general and technical education in the English medium for both sexes.

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Taken from a classroom

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ECA within the school compound

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East Payoh Secondary School in 1978

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After it closed, its remaining students were transferred to Pei Dao Secondary School (renamed to Punggol Secondary in 2001 when it shifted from Toa Payoh to its current site at, duh, Punggol). Pei Chun Public School now occupies the land that East Payoh Secondary once stood on.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]

And joining this list with effect from 2016 will be…

Tanglin Secondary School
Clementi Woods Secondary School (West Coast)

To merge in 2016 (name to be advised)

I have covered both schools in my previous history post. Please use ctrl+F (Windows) or cmd+F (Mac) to lead you to the relevant sections.

Source: [1]


First Toa Payoh Secondary School (Toa Payoh)
Bartley Secondary School (Bartley)

To merge in 2016 to form the new Bartley Secondary School

First Toa Payoh Secondary was the first secondary school built to cater to the secondary school population of Singapore’s first satellite town, Toa Payoh. Established in 1975 and officially opened in 1979, it was an integrated school offering both English and Chinese. In 2001, it merged with Thomson Secondary and Pei Dao Secondary, and Upper Serangoon Secondary in 2004. In 2003, it relocated to its new campus with better facilities.

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First Toa Payoh Secondary School on Google Maps

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First Toa Payoh Secondary School

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First Toa Payoh Secondary School

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First Toa Payoh Secondary School

Bartley, the first co-ed secondary school in Singapore, was formed in 1952. However it became a boys’ school in the secondary section (the school had a pre-University level until 1996) when the girls were transferred to Cedar Girls’ School to form the school. It became co-ed again in 1995. It moved to a holding site (former Mount Vernon Secondary) while waiting for its present building to be completed in 1995.

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Bartley Secondary School on Google Maps

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Bartley Secondary School students with exchange students from Indonesia (in printed uniform)

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The old Bartley Sec building

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Barley Secondary school hall

The merged school will function at the site of Bartley Secondary.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Bedok Town Secondary School (Bedok)

To merge into Ping Yi Secondary School in 2016

Established in 1965 (the year Singapore gained independence) as Kaki Bukit Secondary School, it provided education in the English and Malay media to children living in what was once a rural area of Singapore. Their school song “Sekolah Menengah Kaki Bukit” was written by Mr Zubir Said, the same person that composed our national anthem. Between 1965 and 1984, the school attained the status of a top Malay medium school with good results in the Malay medium GCE ‘O’ level examination.  In addition, the school had also established a reputation for excellence in sports and games such as Sepak Takraw, football, hockey, athletics and cross country.

What an accomplished school, don’t you think? What a pity that it has to go, together with its school song that was written by a legendary person 😦

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Bedok Town Secondary School on Google Maps. This was taken in the year when Bedok Town and Chai Chee merged.

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Long before Bedok Town Secondary’s first merger

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It also merged with Chai Chee Secondary School (previously Sennett Road Secondary) in 2011. When news of the merger broke out, both schools had an online brawl. Hopefully it won’t happen again between Bedok Town and Ping Yi!

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Chestnut Drive Secondary School (Bukit Panjang)

To merge into Fajar Secondary School in 2016 

One of the first secondary schools set up after Singapore gained independence, the school catered to the education and development needs of the children in the Hillview, Woodlands, Teck Whye and Bukit Batok areas. It was established in 1968 and declared opened in 1969. It is the 105th school built by the government.

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Chestnut Drive Secondary School

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Chestnut Drive Secondary School on Google Maps.

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Chestnut Drive Secondary School on Google Maps. The school is surrounded by private houses and greenery.

In 2005, the school was reported to be a target of an unidentified sniper with six shots fired. The latest incident damaged a windowpane on the third floor of the school. The shooting was believed to have happened during non-school hours in a duration of three months thus no one was hurt. However the police later established that there was “insufficient evidence to suggest the presence of a sniper, and that no air gun pellets or projectiles had been found at the school.” Till date, the cause of the damage to the windowpane remains a mystery.

Students from Chestnut Drive Sec wore this really nice shade of blue uniform

Students from Chestnut Drive Sec wear uniform in the nicest shade of blue

Come 2016, Chestnut Drive Secondary will merge into Fajar Secondary and will operate out of the latter’s upgraded campus from 2018. In the meantime, Chestnut Drive’s compound will serve as a holding site for the newly merged school, which will also retain Chestnut Drive’s Chinese name “Li Jing”.

I came across this school while choosing my secondary schools in Primary 6 (donkey years ago) and was undoubtedly amused by its name. I’m sure many people who are not familiar with the roads in Singapore would react the same. Apparently, the place Chestnut Drive EXISTS (it’s even part of its address, duh!) and many other roads in Bukit Panjang are actually named after nuts. For example, Cashew Road, Chestnut Drive, Almond Street and Hazel(nut) Park. There are even roads that are named after fruits! Read more here. It’s super intriguing! 🙂

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

* * *

Thanks everyone for your warm support and contribution! I hope I have covered more schools this time around and help some of you trace back to your roots (like how I successfully did in my previous entry). Once again, due to the lengthiness of this post as well as time constraints, I can only cover this many. I will definitely be back with a third instalment (believe it or not, I have already compiled another list of closed and merged schools) but that won’t happen so soon as my new school term is commencing next Monday. It’ll probably be up in my next break in December. Meanwhile, if you enjoyed this post or if you find it useful in some ways, please feel free to share it with your peers! 🙂 Thanks for reading this record-breaking 9400-word essay!

Have a story to share about your decommissioned school? Let me know in the comments below! I may include that in my next write-up (in progress) 🙂 And as you can see, some schools mentioned above don’t come with pictures. That’s because I can’t find them online so if you have some pictures of your school, feel free to share them!

Main source:
Ministry of Education (2008 Archive)
The Straits Times (2 January 1988, Page 10)
The Straits Times (11 August 1983, Page  10)
National Archives of Singapore
NewspaperSG (National Library Board)
Singapore Memory Portal
Facebook Pages of Schools
(In case some of these links become inaccessible, you may retrieve them through Archives.org)

Read also:
HISTORY: Closed and Merged Schools in Singapore (PART 1)
HISTORY: Closed and Merged Schools in Singapore (PART 3)
HISTORY: Closed and Merged Schools in Singapore (PART 4)