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.
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.
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
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.