[LUNCH BUFFET] Element @ Amara Singapore

Hello everyone!

As the saying goes, all work and no play eat makes Jack a dull hungry boy so when the offer to attend a tasting session at Element Restaurant came, I jumped at it – even if it meant to forgo an entire afternoon of catching up on work.

Conveniently located within a few minutes’ walk away from Tanjong Pagar MRT station in the heart of the Central Business District, Element Restaurant – or rather, Amara Hotel where the restaurant is set – instantly comes to mind as one of the ideal dining destinations for a hearty meal with colleagues or business partners. The restaurant caters to lunch crowds and dinner patrons with a lavish international buffet spread from 11.30 am to 2.30 pm as well as the contemporary Sicilian cuisines in à la carte menus from 6.30 pm to 10.30 pm on Monday to Sunday (except Friday) – the latter of which I had to regrettably give a miss to when it was launched due to a flu bug.

Element Restaurant

Element Restaurant

We ordered a couple of cold beverages (separate charges apply) to whet our appetites at the bar within the restaurant since only coffee and tea are offered as part of the buffet. As far as I am aware, not many buffets allow you the opportunity to order such drinks but Element has their own bar so that alcoholics wine connoisseurs can drink and make merry at the same time.

Mocktail: Shirley Temple (S$13++)

Mocktail: Shirley Temple (S$13++)

Alcoholic: Bailey (S$14++)

Alcoholic: Bailey (S$14++)

Great tasting food is my Achilles heel. But as much as I love to eat, I do have certain standards when it comes to dining at buffets due to the fact that there are many buffets out there masquerading as nothing more than overpriced and over-glorified economical rice dishes.

Amongst all my expectations, a decent variety of food is a must and the spread during the lunch buffet at Element Restaurant was, to say the least, exquisite. According to the staff, the wide assortment of dishes changes daily. From local classics such as Laksa to crowd favourites such as Japanese sushi, sashimi and fresh seafood, there is bound to be something that appeals to your taste buds. To save you from the agony of having to sit through my babbling, the pictures will do most of the talking instead.

— Appetisers —

This section serves an array of bread, soup and dim sum

This section serves an array of bread, soup and dim sum

Assortment of bread

Assortment of bread

Siew Mai

Siew Mai

Soon Kueh

Soon Kueh

Char Siew Pau

Char Siew Pau

— Japanese cuisine —

Sushi spread

Sushi spread

Apart from these Japanese staples, this stop also serves sashimi freshly prepared by the chef stationed there.

— Salad bar —

Mix and match your own salad and toppings!

Mix and match your own salad and toppings!

— Cured and smoked meat —

Selection of cured and smoked meat platter

Selection of cured and smoked meat platter

Cold cut salami

Cold cut salami

Marinated Black Fungus

Marinated Black Fungus

Tuna Tataki

Tuna Tataki

The tuna tataki was one of my favourite! It has a slightly chewy texture that leaves a sourish and slightly spicy aftertaste, leaving my palate refreshed just after a bite. It was my first time trying Tuna Tataki and I absolutely love it because of all the different flavours rolling around on my tongue. Doing a little research, I discovered that Tataki or tosa-mi is actually a Japanese method for preparing fish that has been briefly marinated in vinegar, sliced thinly and seasoned for taste. I strongly recommend this dish to anybody who is a lover of Tuna sashimi – you will surely go back for seconds!

Smoked Salmon

Smoked Salmon

— Seafood —

Seafood aplenty and regularly topped up

Seafood aplenty and regularly topped up

White Clams

White Clams

Moreton Bay Bug

Moreton Bay Bug

I pointed out excitedly to Fiona that there was crayfish at the seafood section and was eagerly adding several pieces of the tasty crustacean onto my plate when I noticed the name of the dish.

Moreton Bay Bug.

BUG? I momentarily froze as that word registered in my head. Thinking that it was a typo error, I quickly whipped my phone out from my pocket to (what else?) Google for more information. It turns out this ‘bug’ is actually a species of slipper lobsters resembling the crayfish which explains my initial confusion (because why would anyone name a delicious food after something so off-putting?). The meat was firm and moist, which means that it was incredibly fresh! While it was my first time eating it, I know it won’t be my last ☺

— Live station —

This is where the chef takes orders from buffet-goers and prepares the food on the spot

This is where the chef takes orders from buffet-goers and prepares the food on the spot

The menu at the live station changes every day. When I was there for food tasting, traditional laksa was the dish of the day. If noodles aren’t your thing, you may also opt for a small portion of claypot rice next to the live station.

Wax Rice with Chinese Sausage, Roasted Meat and Mushroom

Wax Rice with Chinese Sausage, Roasted Meat and Mushroom

— Light snacks —

Mostly cooked food

Mostly cooked food

Japanese Salmon Croquette with Spicy Mayo

Japanese Salmon Croquette with Spicy Mayo

Crispy Chicken Wings so good, Fiona ate about 8 pieces

Crispy Chicken Wings so good, Fiona ate about 8 pieces

— Desserts —

Sweet and savoury desserts to conclude your buffet experience

Sweet and savoury desserts to conclude your buffet experience

Pandan Pudding

Pandan Pudding

Cempedak Creme Brulee & Blueberry Panna Cotta

Cempedak Creme Brulee & Blueberry Panna Cotta

THIS is the star of my entire meal in my humblest and honest opinion. Element’s Cempedak Creme Brulee is out of this world! I am quite sure even Gordon Ramsay would not have anything negative to say about it. Do not be deceived by the small unassuming saucer for it packs a punch in its delivery of flavours. The Cempedak is the smaller cousin of the Jackfruit. Compared to the Jackfruit, the Cempedak is sweeter and has a stronger aroma when ripen. I caught a whiff of the aroma while I was walking past the dessert section which was what led me to try it. I had no regrets at all but if there was one, it was not helping myself to more servings of the dessert before the buffet service ended. It is a seasonal fruit and as such I do not expect this dish to be available all year around so I highly recommend you to try it if you get the chance.

Overall, it was a wonderful experience dining at Element. The servers were very friendly and responsive – our plates were cleared constantly and the warm smiles they carried on their faces increased the pleasure of our dining experience. And no, our tables were not cleared all the time because we were there on a media invite. Looking around, I also noticed that other guests were also the subject of such excellent service and hospitality.

Thanks for reading!

Element at Amara Singapore
165 Tanjong Pagar Road
Singapore 088539
Tel: 6879 2607
Nearest MRT station: Tanjong Pagar

International Lunch Buffet
Monday to Friday, 11.30 am – 2.30 pm
Adult: S$49++
Child (6-12 years old): S$25++
Reservations: Chope | Quandoo

The writer is a glutton who occasionally allows his appetite free rein and steals food from Fiona’s plate. Among some of his favourite food are a good steak and meaty crabs doused in chili sauce. Read more posts by Alphonsus here.

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[BOOK REVIEW + GIVEAWAY] Great Lengths: Singapore’s Swimming Pools

I am giving away 3 copies of ‘Great Lengths’!
Scroll down to the end of this post for more details 😚

We might have clinched several gold medals on the international stage for badminton and table tennis. But in all honesty, no other sport unites Singapore and evokes the pride in us like swimming does (even a relatively non-sporty person like myself gets a rush of adrenaline watching our national swimmers competing at the Games!). According to this list of Singapore’s sporting achievements, swimming has apparently brought back the most medals to date, including the elusive gold from the 2016 Summer Olympics. That said, the true reason for our enthusiasm towards the sport lies beyond these materialistic pleasures.

With tropical waters surrounding us and at least one swimming complex in almost every neighbourhood, water sports come as naturally to us as breathing, so it is not surprising for Singaporeans to have a deep affinity for all things water. The abundance of pools here means every Singaporean gets to swim recreationally, whether it be taking a dip or dive. Although unable to swim, countless family outings to swimming pools – or more specifically Jurong East Swimming Complex, which opened in March 2000 – in my primary school days inevitably forms a significant part of my childhood memory. Given our strong sense of attachment to our pools, Singaporean editors Jocelyn Lau and Lucien Low found it peculiar that there wasn’t any book about them and had therefore embarked on a year-long project to document our swimming pools – past and present. Their research resulted to the publication of 50 Metres in 2015. However, because it was more of a purpose-driven project (to commemorate SG50), 50 Metres wasn’t sold commercially and had limited circulation. Still, those who had seen the full-colour illustrated book had nothing but praises for it.

Upon seeing its potential, the editors decided to update the book with photographs and interviews with some of our renowned aquatic athletes. Award-winning heritage blogger Jerome Lim as well as former competitive swimmer Ang Peng Siong were also given a voice in the book to provide further insight into Singapore’s swimming pools. All these efforts contributed to the second edition of 50 Metres, retitled Great Lengths.

Book: Great Lengths, Singapore's Swimming Pools

Book: Great Lengths, Singapore’s Swimming Pools

Book: Great Lengths, Singapore's Swimming Pools

Book: Great Lengths, Singapore’s Swimming Pools

Book: Great Lengths, Singapore's Swimming Pools

Book: Great Lengths, Singapore’s Swimming Pools

Book: Great Lengths, Singapore's Swimming Pools

Book: Great Lengths, Singapore’s Swimming Pools

To the uninformed, our pools may just be another place for recreation. In actual fact, they have a weight of history behind them and hold a special place in the heart of many Singaporeans. Great Lengths uncovers just how much was unknown about the swimming pools here.

Swimming For All (p. 46)

Swimming For All (p. 46)

Besides providing opportunities for local budding swimmers to hone their skills, the great accessibility to pools had also set the scene for some of their most remarkable achievements. For instance, two-time Olympian (1984 and 1988) and Asian Games gold medalist (1982) Ang Peng Siong was once hailed as the World’s Fastest Swimmer in the 50-metre freestyle event with a timing of 22.69s in 1982. This probably wouldn’t have been possible without his father’s foresight and rigorous swimming practices at the now-privatised Farrer Park Swimming Complex. This book also features other outstanding swimmers who have represented Singapore at major sporting meets and bagged awards. You can expect read about Amanda Lim (who just won the 50-metre freestyle for the fifth consecutive year at the recent SEA Games), Theresa Goh (who was recently inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame) and Yip Pin Xiu among many others.

Pasir Ris Swimming Complex (p. 156)

Pasir Ris Swimming Complex (p. 156)

More recently, Joseph Schooling brought glory to Singapore with his stellar performance at the Rio games. Not only had he put this little red dot on the map with a new Olympic record of 50.39s for the 100m butterfly (and defeating the swimming legend Michael Phelps while at it), public interest in swimming grew dramatically and hit all-time high since the first community pools opened to the local sports-deprived residents in the early to mid-nineties. Looking for a place to swim? Great Lengths doubles as a complete directory (with address, and entry fees on p. 188-189) for all public pools to save you the hassle of Googling.

Contents page where you can find the names of all public pools + free bookmarks!

However, all good things must come to an end. As newer and better-equipped swimming complexes sprout up at every corner in Singapore, many once-popular neighbourhood pools with the most basic amenities are now a shadow of their former selves. While some survive as private entities, few such as the Buona Vista and Paya Lebar swimming complexes weren’t that lucky and had to be closed for future development. In this thoroughly-documented book, you get to learn more about the forgotten “pioneer” pools through old photographs and interviews with people who once swam in their blue glistening waters. It is fascinating to note that the first public swimming pool in Singapore (Mount Emily Swimming Complex) was actually converted from a service reservoir!

One of the 'pioneers' - Geylang East Swimming Complex. Opened in 1978 and is STILL in operation today! (p. 89)

One of the ‘pioneers’ – Geylang East Swimming Complex. Opened in 1978 and is STILL in operation today! (p. 89)

I would divulge more from the book but I don’t wish to spoil the suspense. You’d be surprise to find a wealth of information about the swimming pools in Singapore despite our size! If you’re keen to know more, be sure to grab a copy of Great Lengths (see below for price and availability) or… take part in my giveaway!

That’s right – I am giving away a copy of Great Lengths to THREE lucky readers 😙

★ ★ ★ FACEBOOK GIVEAWAY ★ ★ ★

To participate in this giveaway, all you need to do is complete the following easy steps:

  1. Like me (@fionaseahcom) and Great Lengths (@50metres) on Facebook (we will be checking!)
  2. Comment and tag 2 friends who may also want to win a copy of Great Lengths on this Facebook update

*BONUS*

+1 WINNING CHANCE

…if you share this review or the Facebook update on your Facebook page. Remember to change the privacy mode to public for verification purposes. Do also indicate that you have shared it in the comments so that I can look out for it!

THREE lucky winners will each walk away with a copy of Great Lengths worth S$28+, courtesy of Kucinta Books! 😉 Contest ends 15 September 2017.

T&C #1: ELIGIBILITY

This giveaway is open to everyone currently residing in Singapore only. To enter the giveaway, participants must like @fionaseahcom and @50metres on Facebook, comment and tag two (2) friends on this particular Facebook post. Only entries on Facebook will be considered for this giveaway. Entries submitted after 15 September 2017, 2359 h will be disqualified.

T&C #2: SELECTION & DELIVERY

Winners will be electronically selected and will be notified via e-mail within 3 days of the closing date. All giveaway results are final and prizes are also non-transferable. Winners will be announced on the aforementioned Instagram post as well as on this feature post. Prizes will be delivered by post only and no meetups will be entertained. In the event of unclaimed or unsuccessful prize claims, another draw will be held to determine the next winner.

NOTE

FIONASEAH.COM reserves the right to edit, amend the giveaway Terms and Conditions (T&C #1 and #2) as it deems fit.

★ ★ ★

Thanks for reading and may good luck be with you 😇

BOOK INFORMATION

With a Foreword by Sport Singapore
Introductions by Ang Peng Siong & Jerome Lim

Illustrations by Favian Ee 
Published by Kucinta Books 
Edited by Jocelyn Lau & Lucien Low 
Supported by National Heritage Board

Featured on CHANNEL NEWSASIA “On the Red Dot”, 25 December 2016

* * *

Price: S$28 (excluding GST)
Availability: Kinokuniya, Select Books, NaiiseKucinta Books website.
For loan at: National Library Board branches and at the Sports Hub Library

A sample chapter is available for viewing here.

For more information about the book, please visit Kucinta Books’ website or Great Lengths Facebook page.
THIS FEATURE WAS DONE IN COLLABORATION WITH KUCINTA BOOKS. ALL OPINIONS, AS ALWAYS, ARE GENUINE AND UNINFLUENCED.

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[SHOUT-OUT & GIVEAWAY] I’M STARTICE, Korean Premium Shop @ Big Box

GIVEAWAY CLOSED
SCROLL DOWN FOR WINNERS

It was barely 11 a.m. on a Saturday, just four days shy of our nation’s birthday. Blaring music from the tower speakers configured next to a stage for a significant event at Big Box pierced the usually-quiet mall in Jurong East. Unbeknownst to many, a Korean premium shop initiated and appointed by the Korean government (Small & Medium Business Corporation or SBC for short) as an exclusive authorised agent to promote their locally-made products was about to open its doors officially.

I'M STARTICE main entrance

I’M STARTICE main entrance

This 4270-square-foot unit marks the first Singapore outlet for I’M STARTICE (아임스타티스) which already has locations worldwide including the U.S., China, Vietnam and Indonesia. The relatively low-key occasion was graced by one-eighth of Running Man cast, Ji Suk-jin, as well as business partners and several South Korean government officials. I’M STARTICE commemorated its official opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a free lucky draw where shoppers could stand a chance to win up to S$1000 worth of shopping vouchers. Missed it? Click here to watch the repeat of Big Box’s live stream or check out the pictures below!

Ji Suk-jin and the other VIPs present at the grand opening

Ji Suk-jin and the other VIPs present at the grand opening

Ribbon cutting ceremony

Ribbon cutting ceremony

Announcing the winners of the lucky draw

Announcing the winners of the lucky draw

And this lucky guy walked away with S$1000 worth of I'M STARTICE shopping vouchers! Dude, you can practically buy one of every item in the shop with those vouchers!

And this lucky guy walked away with S$1000 worth of I’M STARTICE shopping vouchers! Dude, you can practically buy one of every item in the shop with those vouchers!

We scored a picture with Suk-jin oppa! I had a solo picture with him but I accidentally deleted it 😥😥😥

We scored a picture with Suk-jin oppa! I had a solo picture with him but I accidentally deleted it 😥😥😥

Conveniently located right before J-Walk connecting to Jem on level 2, I’M STARTICE boasts a wide variety of products from cosmetics to food to household wares (not sold anywhere else in Singapore) by small to medium enterprises with a limited selection of offerings from mainstream brands such as Innisfree (mainly their facial masks) and Lotte. Due to their low visibility, most of the brands carried at the shop may be unfamiliar even to the most dedicated Koreaboos but they are in no way inferior to more established brands. Apart from the stringent South Korean safety standards they have to comply with, it is also no secret that K-beauty products in general are made of high-quality (and sometimes exotic) ingredients which their Western counterparts fall behind on. And yet, they are inexpensive. For instance, a 125 ml tub of Mizon’s Water Max Aqua Gel Cream costs just S$19.90 when a similar product by a more reputable brand with less than half the volume would set you back at least S$50.

This area sells mostly household items

This area sells mostly household items

The cashier

The cashier

Heading to an EXO concert any time soon? These official EXO light sticks may interest you..

Heading to an EXO concert any time soon? These official EXO light sticks may interest you..

The other side of the shop stocks up beauty products and food

The other side of the shop stocks up beauty products and food

Another Korean group that has been generating a lot of buzz lately for winning international awards... BTS! Why hand cream of all products, though..? I guess whatever sells with their autographs and faces on it.

Another Korean group that has been generating a lot of buzz lately for winning international awards… BTS! Why hand cream of all products, though..? I guess whatever sells with their autographs and faces on it.

Crazy for Aloe Vera!

Crazy for Aloe Vera!

A complete list of participating merchants and their specialty products can be found here (though I can’t guarantee that everything featured is available in-store here).

My favourite section in the shop!

My favourite section in the shop!

There's something for everyone - even the men get a beauty section dedicated just for them!

There’s something for everyone – even the men get a beauty section dedicated just for them!

Some beauty products for the femme..

Some beauty products for the femme..

Skin care products are sold in a bundle at relatively affordable prices!

Skin care products are sold in a bundle at relatively affordable prices!

Of course, how can there NOT be face masks? South Korea is well-known for their face masks!

Of course, how can there NOT be face masks? South Korea is well-known for their face masks!

Makeup by J.ESTINA, which is more known for their jewelry

Makeup by J.ESTINA, which is more known for their jewelry

Authentic (licensed in Shanghai) Hello Kitty Face and Body brushes! You'll be surprised at how affordable they are!

Authentic (Sanrio license awarded in Shanghai) Hello Kitty Face and Body brushes! You’ll be surprised at how affordable they are!

Korean dietary supplements

Korean dietary supplements

Snacks and some instant beverages

Snacks and some instant beverages

Instant food on the other side

Instant food on the other side

You can find foods like kimchi tteok-bokki in the refrigerator

You can find foods like kimchi tteok-bokki in the refrigerator

Household products like adult diapers, containers and diapers are also sold at I'M STARTICE!

Household products like adult diapers, containers and diapers are also sold at I’M STARTICE!

At I’M STARTICE, products are priced as low as S$1.30 for an instant ramen cup and can be as much as over S$200 for a bag pack. On the whole, everything – especially those at the food and beauty sections – is rather affordable so you should be able to stretch your dollar a lot farther than you would at other Korean marts. The following shows some interesting Korean products I could get under S$100:

Dr. Plus Banana Milk Mask Pack

Dr. Plus Banana Milk Mask Pack

And they smell EXACTLY like Banana Milk. The essence has the texture of milk too!

And they smell EXACTLY like Banana Milk. The essence has the texture of milk too!

These Choco Cacao Nose Pore Strips made me craved for chocolates every time I use it. The chocolatey smell is really no joke!

These Choco Cacao Nose Pore Strips made me craved for chocolates every time I use it. The chocolatey smell is really no joke!

What I bought from the Hello Kitty section. Two of these will cost less than US$100 altogether.

What I bought from the Hello Kitty section. Two of these will cost less than US$100 altogether.

Hello Kitty 4D Face Brush

Hello Kitty 4D Face Brush

Hello Kitty 4D Face Brush

Hello Kitty 4D Face Brush

Black Hello Kitty 4D Body Brush

Black Hello Kitty 4D Body Brush

Black Hello Kitty 4D Body Brush

Black Hello Kitty 4D Body Brush

Black Hello Kitty 4D Face Brush

Black Hello Kitty 4D Face Brush

Great news for those who hate hustling through the crowd and meandering around the aisles!

You can soon place your orders online at the comfort of your couch and pick them up in-store on another day. This service is not available at the moment, but do check back for further updates!

Some Korean cup noodle which I've yet to try..

Some Korean cup noodle which I’ve yet to try..

I've grown tired of Samyang noodles.. Time for a change!

I’ve grown tired of Samyang noodles.. Time for a change!

More snacks!

More snacks!

Green Tea Dream Cacao

Green Tea Dream Cacao

Korean fried chicken-flavoured chips? Take my money!

Korean fried chicken-flavoured chips? Take my money!

Other purchases we lugged home were a few vacuum-sealed airtight containers (which we bought mainly for storing durians in the refrigerator😲) and a set of kitchen cooking tools meant for our future use (when we’ve gotten our own flat – gotta think ahead, y’know?). Teehee!

And now, here comes the most exciting part of this post..

★ ★ ★ INSTAGRAM GIVEAWAY ★ ★ ★
-CLOSED-

I understand Jurong East may be a little too far for some of you living in eastern Singapore, so I plan to bring some of I’M STARTICE’s bestsellers to your doorstep (or rather, mailbox) instead! It has been awhile since I held a giveaway, so I promise this is gonna be huuuge. To thank you for your continued support all these years, I will be gifting three lucky readers either a Hello Kitty 4D Facial Brush or Body Brush. More prizes are up for grabs this time around so as to increase your chances of winning something from this giveaway! If you are a Hello Kitty fanatic, this is definitely one giveaway not to be missed 😘

Prizes to be won

TOP PRIZE
1 × Hello Kitty 4D Facial Brush

CONSOLATION PRIZES
2 × Black Hello Kitty Body Brush

To participate in this giveaway, all you need to do is complete the following easy steps:

  1. Follow me (@amelieseah) and I’M STARTICE (@imstartice.sg) on Instagram
  2. Comment on this Instagram post why you should be picked as the winner (unfortunately, you won’t be able to choose the prize) and..
  3. Tag 2 friends who may also want to lay their hands on these Hello Kitty brushes

And I will pick 3 lucky winners once the giveaway ends! 😉

T&C #1: ELIGIBILITY

This giveaway is open to everyone currently residing in Singapore only. To enter the giveaway, participants must follow @amelieseah and @imstartice.sg on Instagram, tag two (2) friends and comment why you want to win the Hello Kity brush on this particular Instagram post. Only entries on Instagram will be considered for this giveaway. Entries submitted after 8 September 2017, 2359 h will be disqualified.

T&C #2: SELECTION & DELIVERY

Winners will be electronically selected and will be notified via e-mail within 3 days of the closing date. All giveaway results are final; winners are not allowed to choose the prize. Prizes are also non-transferable. Winners will be announced on the aforementioned Instagram post as well as on this feature. Prizes will be delivered by post only and no meetups will be entertained. In the event of unclaimed or unsuccessful prize claims, another draw will be held to determine the next winner.

NOTE

FIONASEAH.COM reserves the right to edit, amend the giveaway Terms and Conditions (T&C #1 and #2) as it deems fit.

[UPDATED: 10 SEP 2017]

★ ★ ★

That’s about it!

Thanks for reading and good luck if you are intending to enter the giveaway! 😄

I’m Startice
big box (next to Jurong East MRT Station)
1 Venture Dr, level 2
Singapore 608521
Instagram: imstartice / imstartice.sg
THIS FEATURE WAS DONE IN COLLABORATION WITH I’M STARTICE. PRODUCTS FEATURED WERE EDITORIALLY SELECTED. ALL OPINIONS, AS ALWAYS, ARE GENUINE AND UNINFLUENCED.

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for bite-sized beauty updates!

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

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

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.

west-hill-school-zaba-youn-WHS-FB

west-hill-school-NAS

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 after 1986 (exact year unknown)

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.

nee-soon-school-george-pereira-bs

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.

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.

meng-teck-school-黄建齊-FB

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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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.

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After it became integrated

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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).

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

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.

nanyang-tun-cheow-school-BookSG-NLB

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.

thong-kheng-public-school-chinese-schools-exhibition

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.

lik-teck-school-BookSG-NLB

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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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Current campus

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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.

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2013

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

bishan-park-secondary-school-logo

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.

bishan-park-secondary-school-Hazizul-Hakim-FB

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.

greenview-secondary-school-logo

greenview-secondary-school-h88.com.sg

greenview-secondary-school

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)

[FOOD NEWS] Kay Lee Roast Meat opens 7th outlet at Bukit Batok

Hello everyone!

There is now another reason to journey to the west of Singapore for popular roast meat joint Kay Lee Roast Meat has announced the opening of its first outlet in the west at 21 Bukit Batok Crescent. The chain’s seventh outlet, which will open its doors on 15th June at WCEGA Tower, will offer a part of the local iconic roast of more than 40 years. Being a Bukit Batok resident for the first 23 years of my life, I’m both thrilled and delighted that more established F&B brands are seeing potential in this mature town not widely known for its food offerings.

credit: Aztech Group

credit: Aztech Group

Legendary Dark Char Siew

Using only high quality marbled pork glazed in Kay Lee’s special home-made sweet and savoury sauce, the Char Siew are freshly and painstakingly grilled to perfection by their experienced chefs.

Signature Roast Duck

Marinated with 11 different herbs and spices for 24 hours, Kay Lee preserves its tradition by roasting the ducks over charcoal stoves to perfection. Each duck is meticulously seasoned and roasted by their experienced chefs for 6 hours. The duck skin is crispy to the gentlest bite while its meat retains its full flavour and texture.

Crackling Roast Pork

Kay Lee’s signature Crackling Roasted Pork has puffed crisp skin that crackles with every bite.

Kay Lee started out at Upper Paya Lebar Road (a few minutes away from Tai Seng MRT station) and was originally run by an elderly couple who had since sold their eatery to Aztech Group in 2014 for S$4 million as their children were not interested to carry on with the family business. With its original outlet still standing strong, the new owners have gone on to expand its reach to consumers in the central and eastern regions of Singapore.

Are you excited about this new addition to Bukit Batok? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

Kay Lee Roast Meat (Bukit Batok)
WCEGA Tower
Ground Floor, 21 Bt Batok Crescent
Singapore 658065
Operating hours: Mondays to Saturdays, 10:00 am to 9:00 pm
Bus services: 41, 183 (from Jurong East MRT) or 77, 106 (from Bukit Batok MRT)
Website | Facebook

[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

Sale price: S$28.50 (free delivery with purchase of 5 copies or more)

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

Availability: 

Basheer Graphic Books
Bras Basah Complex, 231 Bain St, Singapore 180231
Tel: 6336 1917
Operating hours: 10:00AM – 8:00PM
Enjoy 20% discount when you quote “fionaseah.com” at Basheer Graphic Books

Hitting shelves at all major bookstores including Kinokuniya and Popular soon

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.

KUVO @ Orchard Shopping Centre

MEDIA INVITE

Hey everyone! *waves deliriously*

It has been close to a month since my last update so I thought I should swing by to break the silence of this blog, as well as to apologise for my sudden hiatus due to my school (mainly my final-year project) and work commitments. Owing to my hectic schedule, I had to turn down quite a number of collaboration opportunities over the past few months but somehow when the invite came from the friendly folks at Media Flair to experience the new food menu and bespoke cocktail pairings at KUVO, my heart screamed for me to accept the invitation. After days of not eating well, perhaps it was about time to feed my body with some decent food!

Cheers!

Cheers!

Discreetly nestled on the second floor of the outmoded Orchard Shopping Centre located next to the H&M building, KUVO is almost inconspicuous to the casual observer. Unless you are in the know about the latest food and beverage offerings in town, or are extremely attentive to your surroundings, it is highly unlikely that you would have heard of this multi-concept restaurant and bar. In my years of walking back and forth between Orchard Cineleisure and Somerset MRT station, I had never once noticed their signage along the walkway of Orchard Shopping Centre due to their (pardon my frankness) poor visibility and lack of attention-grabbing flair. Nevertheless, even if they did catch my eye, I honestly don’t think I would be inclined to dine at KUVO at all given the uninviting look of the building’s façade.

Signage along the walkway

Signage along the walkway

Entrance of KUVO

Entrance of KUVO

But boy, the idiom “don’t judge a book by its cover” couldn’t have been more apt here because the restaurant looks nothing like the frontage of the building. Marked by a vast floor area of 9,500 square feet, KUVO comprises a bar and a large dining area offering afternoon tea at one end and all-day international menu at the other, complete with velvet sofa, soothing lighting and live music towards the end of the week. Evidently, the whole restaurant was designed with comfort and sophistication in mind, making it the perfect place for office workers to unwind after a long day at work. Furthermore, it’s easily accessible as it’s smacked right at Orchard Road!

The helmsmen at the bar in KUVO, Yutaka Nakashima.

The helmsmen at the bar in KUVO, Yutaka Nakashima.

The bar is helmed by award-winning Japanese mixologist and culinarist, Yutaka Nakashima who serves up novel and quirky individual bespoke cocktails at S$21++. To further illustrate his unique creativity, he uses a coffee mixer to create his cocktail concoction!

Concocting alcohol with a coffee mixer!

Concocting alcohol with a coffee mixer!

Live band area

Live band area – it would be a challenge to carry out conversations when the live band performs because they can be pretty loud

Have a sweet tooth? Get your sugar fix here! Chocolates and cakes are sold in this little space between the Ambrosia and the dining area

Have a sweet tooth? Get your sugar fix here! Chocolates and cakes are sold in this little space between the Ambrosia and the dining area

Dining area

Dining area

A wide selection of wine to choose from at the dining area

A wide selection of wine to choose from at the dining area

The Gazebo, catered for private functions

The Gazebo, catered for private functions

Despite its prime location, KUVO serves great food at reasonable prices and are constantly looking at ways to enrich the dining experience through the expansion of food choices and recently the introduction of the concept of pairing food and custom-made cocktails.

Grilled Octopus (S$16++)

Grilled Octopus (S$16++)

Up close: Grilled Octopus

Up close: Grilled Octopus. Shout-out to Chubby Botak Koala for loaning me his awesome photography light.

This Spanish-inspired dish was among the first few starters delivered to our table. Sous-vide and served with slow-cooked potato and smoked paprika, the slices of octopus leg were chunky and chewy with a slight charred taste. The unsuspecting potato was soft, expertly prepared and strangely more appetising than the octopus. Even though this was recommended on the menu, I didn’t think it was tasty enough to leave a lasting impression.

Calamari Ajilo (S$16++)

Calamari Ajillo (S$16++)

In this yet another recommended dish with a Spanish influence, the calamari is sauteed in garlic and extra virgin olive oil and topped with pork chorizo. While the calamari rings were indeed tender and well-cooked, they were poorly seasoned and hence were disappointingly bland on the palate. It was a shame because I had thought this dish would be a pleasant change from the classic fried version everywhere else was offering. Rather than being a star on its own, I had to ingest it with something else to make up for the lack of flavour.

KUVO Atlantic Cod Meuniere (S$20++)

KUVO Atlantic Cod Meuniere (S$20++)

In spite of the rather unsatisfactory start, things were fortunately picking up from the third dish – a sweet pea-crusted fresh cod medallion garnished with pearl barley fricassee and citrus nutty-brown butter alongside some asparagus and carrot. The sides revealed a smooth and melt-in-your-mouth texture as delicate as snow and it had such unforgettable freshness and sweetness that kept me wanting more! The creamy and viscous sauce married well with the cod too – absolutely delightful!

Brandy Flambéed Beef Cube (S$22++)

Brandy Flambéed Beef Cube (S$22++)

Before we transitioned into the cocktail pairings segment, we had beef cubes flashed-seared to give it a vividly pink centre, flambéed with brandy and finally glazed with red wine sauce for an added acidic touch. The portion was relatively generous for a starter and it could easily pass off as a main course. Still, it would take a herculean effort to stop at one serving because those beef cubes were a mouthful of thick, hearty and luscious mellowness packed a punch of flavours. They were thoroughly easy on the teeth and the bite-size makes them all the more convenient to eat. I opted for another serving because I couldn’t get enough of the tenderness and the mouth-watering blend of succulence and piquancy of the beef cubes. Needless to say, this dish stole the show that evening and I wouldn’t mind going back just for this.

KUVO Coffee Hot Wings (S$14++)

KUVO Coffee Hot Wings (S$14++)

Up close: KUVO Coffee Hot Wings

Up close: KUVO Coffee Hot Wings

Since KUVO opens late into the night every day, you can expect to find people who are just there for the alcohol and supper-goers because they serve fantastic choice of finger food, or foods that help to satisfy any hunger pangs. An example would be the coffee-flavoured spicy mid-joint wings with baby carrot crudites and blue cheese dip.

Despite not being a coffee drinker at all, I found myself diggin’ this seemingly weird combination. It didn’t have the brutal taste of coffee and the added heat made it even more enjoyable. The blue cheese dip was surprisingly nice, had little to no hint of the rotten sour cream taste that is typically associated with blue cheese and it helped heaps to neutralise the spiciness (which, by the way, was quite a kick on its own). The wing, together with the condiments were by and large fantastic. I liked how the coffee flavour had a good blend of sweet and bitter which goes perfectly well with beer or the recommended Brewski Yen.

Brewski Yen (S$21++)

Brewski Yen (S$21++)

The Brewski Yen has the thirst-quenching properties of Kirin beer as well as an added tang of Suze, lemon and ginger ale. I personally found the ginger taste a little too overbearing for me (what’s more, I’m not even a ginger fan to begin with) but I took a leap of courage and managed to down everything to the last drop. Woohoo!

Slipper Lobster (S$15++)

Slipper Lobster (S$15++)

Top view: Slipper Lobster

Top view: Slipper Lobster

Those with a more refined taste can opt for sauteed slipper lobster adorned with habanero (a kind of chilli pepper), bell peppers and cilantro. Ease of eating is assured in this dish as the lobster meat is carefully deshelled and cooked before inserting it back to the shell again.  While it failed to impress me because I didn’t feel that the portion and the taste make up for the price, my boyfriend liked the flavours and how the juices were still exuding with each bite. The heat from the peppers was a delightful addition as well.

Hello Cel'lo (S$21++)

Hello Cel’lo (S$21++)

Complementing the slipper lobster is the Hello Cel’lo cocktail made with Bankes London dry Gin, limoncello liqueur, celery bitters and balsamico. Liquor connoisseurs who are familiar with the ingredients should already a rough idea how it’d taste like. If you don’t, recall the bitterest beverage you have ever drunk in your life and multiply the acridity tenfold. You seriously haven’t tasted the extreme end of the bitterness spectrum until you have tried Hello Cel’lo because, I swear, this takes the cake. So unless you have marvelous tolerance for bitter foods (or are already used to the pungent taste of alcohol), steer clear of Hello Cel’lo!

Wagyu & Camembert Sliders (S$17++)

Wagyu & Camembert Sliders (S$17++)

Wagyu beef patty

Wagyu beef patty

In an attempt at fusing Western and Eastern delicacies, KUVO had put together a pair of sliders featuring thick and succulent housemade wagyu beef patty topped with fresh lettuce and irresistible Camembert cheese and portobello sauce, accompanied by cheese rolls and shrimp wantons on a platter. Much as we would like to commend on the texture of the patty (not overdone and was incredibly moist), we thought it was totally unnecessary to mince such high-graded beef to make the patty because it had clearly lost its distinctive fat marbling and sweetness in the process. As beef lovers (especially of those obtained from Wagyu cattle), we had high expectations for the patty but were sorely disappointed by the execution. Having said that, if you’re not as fussy as us, you would most likely enjoy the sliders as much as many of the fellow food bloggers present at the event.

Sliced Wagyu & Camembert Sliders

Sliced Wagyu & Camembert Sliders

Moving on to the other elements on the platter, we had shrimp wantons deep fried to golden brown with wasabi mayonnaise drizzled over them. Delicious! I wished there were more of the wantons! Next to them were cheese rolls sitting atop a dash of truffle cream. Disguised as Chinese spring rolls, they crumbled crisply when I stuck my fork into the centre. Perhaps because remnants of the patty were still lingering in my mouth, I couldn’t quite make out the taste of cheese. In fact, I wasn’t aware that they were made of cheese until I read the description on the menu.

Green Iceland (S$21++)

Green Iceland (S$21++)

Paired with the sliders was the Green Iceland cocktail which combines KUVO’s Italian Antica Fratta sparkling wine, Japanese umeshu, lime, brown sugar and mint leaves for extra freshness. The tongue-tingling sensation it lent was refreshing and soothing on palate. The crushed ice melted rather quickly so it kinda diluted the bitterness after a while.

English Scotch Egg (S$14++)

English Scotch Egg (S$14++)

A peek inside the English Scotch Egg

A peek inside the English Scotch Egg. No yolk oozing out because I missed the middle part where the egg was, sorry!

Coated with breaded minced wagyu beef (oh dear..) and veal meat (choice of tuna available as well), then crowned with a layer of melted edam cheese and served with red wine onion au jus at the base, KUVO takes this classic British picnic snack to the next level. When cut through in the middle, the warm and sultry yolk from the inside oozes all over the dish, further amplifying the luscious richness of the sauce while providing a nice contrast to the crisp crust of the scotch egg.

Don’t underestimate the size of the portion (a little smaller than my palm) – the fillings were so monstrously loaded, I felt slightly glutted in the end. Nevertheless, this dish is definitely deserving of a share of the spotlight. Not only is it affordable (only S$14++!), it fills your tummy as well, so I highly recommend you try this when you’re at KUVO!

Captain B.R. (S$21++)

Captain B.R. (S$21++)

Adding to the British flair is the cocktail accompaniment to this dish called Captain B.R. – short for Captain British Rum – which is created with Earl Grey Infused Rum, fresh lemon and soda water. Laced with touches of floral notes and hints of citrus, this cocktail is an absolute delight to drink even for a non-alcoholic drinker like myself!

Kurobuta Yakiniku Donburi (S$16++)

Kurobuta Yakiniku Donburi (S$16++)

Finally, bearing in mind that there would be people who had to have some carbs in their diet, we rounded off the evening with a Japanese rice bowl dish humbly topped with a small serving of perfectly seasoned and grilled kurobuta pork loin as well as molten egg that serves as the sauce, and finished off with a sprinkle of chopped spring onion. The portion is certainly appetizer-sized, so don’t expect to feel satiated with this dish that can be devoured in 3 spoonfuls.

Tales of Shu (S$21++)

Tales of Shu (S$21++)

Brewed in the glass vacuum coffee maker as mentioned earlier, this cocktail is freshly prepared with ingredients that are beneficial to the health like genmai tea, saké, Lillet Blanc, and fresh orange peel. The concoction is subsequently poured into an ochoko (saké cup) to complement the Kurobuta Yakiniku Donburi. Tales of Shu has an immensely sharp taste comparable to that of Hello Cel’lo. Therefore, one sip was all it took to make me cringe :-S But should you be able to handle strong bitterness, do consider giving this healthy cocktail a shot!

Midsummer Breeze (S$12++)

Midsummer Breeze (S$12++)

If alcoholic drinks are out of bounds for you, there is also an array of mocktails for you to choose from but you have to approach the waiting staff for assistance because mocktails are not listed on the menu. Midsummer Breeze, the only mocktail I was served, contains melon mangosteen tea, orange juice and passion fruit. Sweet and refreshing with the taste of passion fruit sticking out, it’s the kind of tropical mocktail that takes you to the beach side on a hot and sunny afternoon.

On the whole, KUVO is a hidden gem, that’s for sure! Although there are a few misses on the revamped menu, there are definitely more hits and hence worthy of a second visit. Now that KUVO is on my radar, I will certainly be returning to try out other dishes on the menu 😉

What are your thoughts? Do share them with me!

Thanks for reading!

KUVO
Orchard Shopping Centre
321 Orchard Road #02-01
Singapore 238866
Nearest MRT station: Somerset
Operating hours:
Sunday – Thursday & Public Holidays: 12pm to 1am
Friday, Saturday and Eve of Public Holidays: 12pm to 2am
Tel: +65 6733 8272
E-mail: reservation@KUVO.com.sg
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