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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.