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Friday, September 16, 2016

Telok Kurau Primary School 90th Anniversay

Telok  Kurau Primary School aka Telok Kurau English School  celebrated its 90th Anniversary Musical “My Telok Kurau, My Home” on Thursday 15 September 2016. It was held at the Theatre at Media Corp. The Guest of Honour was Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Individual representing jigsaw pieces went on stage to showcase a coherent whole symbolises this synergistic partnership and combined effort of the different groups, such as Students, School Staff, School Management, Stakeholders, Ministry of Education and the Nation. The completion of the jigsaw puzzle was followed by the launch of the school’s 90th Anniversary commemorative coffee-table book. There was also a reception with PM Lee.

During the interval I had the opportunity to talk to the Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong and had pictures taken with him. I was looking for familiar face but in vain. The musical production was well presented and I wish to  congratulate the Musical Production Team.

Telok Kurau English School (TKES) was the only Government primary school in the eastern part of the island before Singapore’s independence. It boasted four luninaries:

 1       Singapore founding father and Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew who was a student there from 1931 to 1935

2         2   Malaysian  Prime Minister Tun Datuk Hussein Onn admitted to the school in January 1931.

3    Emeritus Professor Lin Pin was the Vice Chancellor of NUS from 1981 to 2000. Professor Lin Pin is currently University Professor at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS as well as Professor Emeritus and Senior Consultant at the Department of Endocrinology at the National University Hospital

4   Mr Abdul Ghani Hamid an award winning Singaporean writer, poet and artist.

Professor Lin Pin and Mr Abdul Ghani Hamid were in the class of 1950. Both went to Raffles Institution in 1951.

Flash Back

I still remember my two form teachers and the discipline master and I    categorise them as the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

1  1. The Good – My teacher Miss Boey 
I forgot her name as all the school boys addressed her by her surname Miss Boey. She was a spinster and a very dedicated teacher. Once I saw her giving a one to one lesson to a student in the class. After some time she appeared frustrated and tried to control her emotion. Finally she broke down and cried. Later I came to know that no matter how hard she taught him, he still failed to solve the  problem arithmatic. A year later, I was told she passed away from an illness. As the saying goes "the good dies young".

1        2.    The Bad – Discipline teacher Mr Dorai
He was tall, athletic and a bully? Most students then was afraid of him. He was a discipline master as corporal punishment was then allowed in school. All naughty and disobedient boys were sent to him to be punished. He did not use a ruler to hit your palm. Instead, he had a rattan cane and he whacked with bull strength. How can I forget when I got punished by him.

  3. The Ugly – Form teacher  Mr Marican
Mr Marican was my form teacher in 1949 and 1950. He had the habit of sleeping in class. The class liked him because we could play while he had his snooze. Normally a teacher asked the class to keep quiet. Mr Marican did not have to said that. We kept very quiet on our own, less we woke him up. He was lucky that his colleagues did not know about it (I am not too sure). Anyway, we all liked him

                                  Miss Boey            Mr Dorai

                                        Mr Marican

I also remember the area around the school servant’s quarters at one end of the building facing Lor J. The ground was sandy and during recess time I went there to play marbles or garsing(tops). At times we chased the chickens that belonged to our office peon Rosland. His family lived in the quarters. Another memory was the cattle shed at the same lorong J but much further in. In those days, cattle  was free to roam the road. Walking to school at the lorong required negotiation to avoid the cow dungs on the ground. On a rainy day it was an impossible task not to step on it.

I was admitted to Telok Kurau English School 71 years ago in 1945. Time passes quickly and the Musical Production reminded me that I was young once.


Friday, July 15, 2016

Kranji Marshes

This morning James, Eddie and I visited the Singapore fresh water marshes at Kranji. Before the visit I imagined the marshes was like in the old days where the ground was dirty, wet and slippery. At some places, the water could be ankle deep. For me, then and now with more than 60 years apart makes a difference. I brought a walking stick along in case I need to steady myself but it was not necessary.

On week days there was no crowd and many parking lots were vacant. On entering the marsh land, I was surprised to see a manicured  marshes. I was hoping to see some birds but they avoided me. I managed to see them only in pictures. However, I was not disappointed at all for as I walked along there were things that reminded me of the past. 

The piles of logs placed at the side of the road reminded me of the firewood we used for cooking. I was living in Chai Chee during the war. We chopped down some rubber trees, cut them into size and pile them up just like those exhibited at the Kranji Marshes. The logs were split into small pieces by using an axe before they could be used as firewood

                                       A pile of logs

I love to see morning glory flowers. They were creepers growing on the fences. Near where I live, there were many compound houses. I went there to catch spiders. Creepers growing wild and morning glory flowers made my day with their beautiful colours. At Kranji Marshes, I saw only the purple morning glory.

                                     Morning Glory Flowers
I like to see the trees on both sides of the road as we walked along. In the estate where I live, there are more concrete jungles than trees. There is a small garden below my apartment. Every morning I open the window to enjoy the beautiful instant garden that was once a carpark.

                                  Marine Terrace Garden

Time passed very fast when you took a leisurely walk. We reached the viewing tower not knowing the time and distance covered. Viewing tower ‘die die’ must go up to survey the surrounding area. I was surprised at myself that I could still reached to top as an octogenarian. 

Before saying farewell to Kranji Marshes, we took a few pictures to remind us that we are ‘3 musketeers’ for more than 20 years. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

East Care Group aka Eating Group Reunion

East Care Group before

East Care Group now

The East Care Group (ECG) was born in 1990 when the Peninsula Evangelical Free Church (PEFC) was worshiping at the Ebenezer Chapel. ECG had bible studies at member’s house on rotation. After the bible study session yummy food was waiting at the table. There was feasting and fellowship which usually ended late at night. We are food lovers. We live to eat and not eat to live. As a result we were also known as ‘eating group’. We were not offended but instead took the comment as a compliment for we are connoisseur of food delicacies. The group bonding grew stronger with each passing year.

Members were nostalgic and wanted to walk done memory lane. Mary had it organised. She got a 15 seatter commuter van last week-end for ECG reunion in Melaka. There were twelve of us altogether for a 2 days and 1 night trip. We missed those who were not with us.

Day 1 (Saturday 21 Nov 2015)
There were 3 pick-up points – Tampenis, Marine Parade and Commonwealth Avenue. Our day started at 5.15 am. We cleared Johore Immigration at about 7.30 am and proceeded to Jalan Tun Aminah Johore  for breakfast. We had Dim Sum by the roadside which reminded me of Singapore in the1950/60. I also had yew chia kway dipped  in Kopi O.

                                       Breakfast at Jalan Tun Aminah

On our way to Melaka we stopped at Yong Peng for local goodies.

          Factory selling local products inside the building

We arrived at Melaka just in time for lunch as arranged with Restoran Alantic One. We had excellent nyonya  cuisine and everyone showed thumbs up!!!

                                         Recommended for Nyonya Cuisine

              Food: Ayam Buah Keluak, Chap Chye, Steam Fish, 
              Pineapple Prawns, Sambal Lady's Fingers, etc. etc

                              Desseert: Chendol with gula Melaka 

Next we went shopping for local manufactured food. The sales girls were on festive mood.

Not satisfied with local products, we went to shopping mall near the hotel
                                       Shopping Mall

There was sales in the Mall and Emily bought bed sheets made in Japan and got a 10% discount. Later she discovered that on Sunday at 'Happy Hour' the discount would be 10% + 10%. 

                               Portuguese Village dinner

Dinner at the Portuguese Village was a disappointment. Curry devil was their best dish but it was tasteless and not spicy at all. It is needless to talk about other dishes. James put up both hands that he had enough. He suggested his 'lau di fang'  for satay chelop. 

                               Look at the smiles on their faces

We ended the night walking through the pasar malam at Jonker Street. It was good for sight seeing but nothing to buy although the things on sale were cheap.

Day 2 (Sunday 22 Nov ) 
Breakfast was at the hotel Nyonya Restaurant. The group had two school of thoughts. The younger ones wanted to bring the shopping mall home because of the ‘Happy Hours”. The older ones opted for the wet market. So we went our separate ways after breakfast.

                                                   Central Market Melaka

It was bed sheets, pillows etc from the Mall versus salted fish etc from the Sentral market. 

We met at the hotel and went for lunch at a seaside restaurant. The place was very quiet as it was hidden from the main road. The sea was in front of us and the breeze was fantastic. Food was good too. 

There was a ‘Husband Day Care Centre”. The men were tempted to stay back after the meal, but unfortunately the joint was closed. It opens only at night. Lucky for the wives.

Chendol was at one time famous in Melaka. Now it is  'coconut shake'. We went to the hawker stall by the roadside but was put off by the long queue. We went to the hawker's home nearby. It was worst. Inside the building was like a mad house crowded with people. We saw a long line of customers waiting to be served. The parking area was overcrowded with parking and moving vehicles. We agreed, "let's get out".

            Coconut Shake shop. It was peaceful outside but a mad house inside. 

We went back to the hotel to rest and also to get ready for departure. Check out time was 12.00 pm. 

Dinner was at a Chinese restraurant. After dinner, Andy suggested we go for 'teh tarek'. So, we had a 'teh tarek' party before heading home. 

            We traveled by this 15 seatter commuter van. It was quite comfortable. 

All of us enjoyed the ECG Reunion trip to Melaka. We hope more can join us the next time. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Peninsula Evangelical Free Church

The Church

Peninsula Evengelical Free Church had its first official service on Sunday October 11 1987 at the Crystal Ballroom, Peninsula Hotel. Our church had a humble beginning. It started without a Pastor. Preaching of God’s words were given by guests speakers each Sunday. Nevertheless, the church grew and the Crystall Ballroom was filled to capacity. I remembered the back partitioned wall was moved backwards to make space for the worshippers. In 1988 a young couple got married at the church. 

In February 1989, God sent Pastor Ong Seow Heng to shepherd His sheep. The congregation welcomed him and gave him much encouragement. The elders and deacons worked closely with him. In his own words “…………my ministry is strengthened by this group of dedicated and committed people God has given me to work alongside with.” 

Pastor Ong Seow Heng

After the church service we had fellowships outside the sanctuary. There were coffee, tea and cakes for all. There were  many baptisms including my family.

 Crystal Ballroom Peninsula Hotel

On August 5 1990 the church moved to Ebenezer Chapel at Dempsy Hill (39C Harding Road). It was an old chapel with wide open space outside the building. I liked the fresh air with plenty of greenery. There was a church wedding in 1991.

The church building is on the left background

                           Ebenezer Chapel
                            Photo credit to

The church next home was the Methodist Girls School auditorium at Upper Bukit Timah Road. It was a quiet place on Sunday with ample parking lots and a canteen with large refreshment area for fellowships, discussions and other activities. I remembered a young couple from China who came to our church got married there. Alice Rogers, Magdelene Ng, Katherine Cox and many others helped them to make their marriage a memorable one. There were flower arrangements, buntings, decorations, buffet lunch etc. Soon after they left for US to further their studies.

School canteen

East Care Group 

The church had four cell groups in different part of the island. I was in the East Care Group (ECG). Majority of our members lived in the east with a few exception. We met regularly for bible studies and was very close  to each other. Two young mothers got their first born child and experienced mother went to assist.  ECG organised their own retreat in Malaysia in addition to our church camp.

Here are some pictures of the church camp as well as ECG retreat in Malaysia.

                             Church Camp

 Genting View Resort 1994

Meleka Park Plaza Resort 1995

Fraser's Hill 1996

East Care Group Retreat

Tanjong Puteri Golf Resort Johor

Century Mahkota Resort Malacca

One of the church's memorable event was Easter Sunrise Service and pot luck at East Coast Park. Having church service in the open air and by the sea was a blessing. Many believers got their baptism by immersion. Every year we looked forward to Easter. All good things never last forever. The authority stopped giving permits for such gathering. 

Easter Sunrise Service on Good Friday 24 March 1989

East Coast Park

Christmas Eve
Another memorable event was celebrating Christmas eve at the American International School. We sang Christmas hymns followed by skits depicting the  birth of Christ  from the children.

Christmas dinner was catered by the school chef. We had traditional roast turkey with chestnut stuffing, honey baked ham, cranberry sauce, log cakes and many more yummy items.

                                 Christmas eve bulletin cover 

Worship bullutin for Christmas eve

Christmas Eve Celebration 1990

American School at King's Road

Above pictures were taken more than 20 years ago. Small boys and girls then are now young adults. Tony and Lay were not married during PEFC early days. Now they are grand-parents. Time and tide wait for no man.

Hope you enjoy the PEFC story.