Archive for February, 2007

Beatty Integrated School

Beatty Integrated School was my Primary School and back then, it wasn’t called Beatty Primary School. To understand this, probably we need to go into a bit of history on the past educational system.

Beatty Integrated School was officially opened by Mr. Chan Chee Seng (a popular figure in Jalan Besar area at that period), the then Parliamentary Secretary to Ministry Of Home Affairs in 1963. During the year 1959 to 1968, all those schools built were integrated schools. The purpose is to achieve social cohesion via integrating 2 or more language streams in one school.

That was because before World War II, and under the British rule, they only focused on English and Malay schools. Chinese and Tamil schools were run privately. It was during the Japanese Occupation that the education system in Singapore was then changed.

The Japanese introduced daily flag raising ceremony followed by physical exercise. They also forced to have a common language Nippon-go. After the Japanese left, our education system started to change – a free universal primary education to meet the country’s need. So the meaning of Integrated means Chinese, Malay and Tamil was the mother tongue language for the English stream schools. Most of the Chinese schools then were privately run. For more detail, please read the following;

Educational Innovation In Singapore by Ruth H.K. Wong.

The photo below shows the Opening Ceremony by Mr. Chan Chee Seng;

Photo credit : National Archives of Singapore

Note : Those 2 buildings behind were Block 6 (2 storey flat) and Block 7 (4 storey flat where my godmother’s family stayed).

The school ground now has been used by SINDA and some childcare center. Sad to say that the Beatty Integrated School was a school of the past; but the Secondary School is still around.

My Childhood Memories – Serangoon Road (Part 4, Final)

Here is the map again of Serangoon Road where my parents used to stay;

The junction made by Beatty Road and Race Course Rd, Serangoon Rd lies this aged old overhead temple entrance arch called “Long Shan Si”;

I will talk more about the temples around there in future. It has been there since the 60s till now, maybe they have repaint or touch up the “entrance arch”.

The long common corridor of my parents’ house at Serangoon Rd was ideal for learning roller skate in the 70s then. My first pair of roller skate was something like this;

It was very metallic and the length adjustment is by pulling the metal strip.

Walking along this stretch of Serangoon Rd brings you to the junction of Lavender Street. At this junction, the Singapore Institute of Science is still there. I knew the signboard was there many many years ago, but I’m totally unawared of what is inside that building;

A close up shot;

My Childhood Memories – Serangoon Road (Part 3)

Though I was taken care of by my Godmother staying at Beatty Road when I was young, I will visit my parents every Sunday when they were not working.

They were staying at 580 Serangoon Rd, a stone throw away from my Godmother’s house. That unit has since changed hands and it’s now a shop unit. Below shows me posing in front of my parent’s house in 1973. Note that the motorbike plate number starts with SA something…

Maybe the interior of the house have changed, but the exterior flooring remains the same till now. It’s still the same beautiful colored pattern tiles though now most of it have chirped off.

What I remembered most about this Serangoon house was the zinc movable roof at the backyard of the house. As we were staying on the ground floor unit, whenever it rained, we had to pull a rope so the the zinc roof will move and cover the backyard else it will get wet. There were of course front door and back door (the back door led to the back part of my old primary school – Beatty Pri Sch). There were 1 long sittinghall, 1 dinning hall, 1 bedroom, kitchen, 1 bathroom and 1 toilet. My father had about 10 over cement fish tanks at the backyard as he loved breeding tropical fishes like angel fish, gouramis, etc.

Having one or more mouse traps were common that time. My father used those wired spring loaded mouse cage trap with a bait in the cage – once the mouse bit the bait, the cage door will drop and close the cage. Once we caught the mouse, my father would pour hot water over the mouse to kill it before disposing it.

Photo credit : TrapMan (just an example of what the mouse cage trap looks like).

The other horrible ‘creature’ I dread to see or encounter were those giant size spiders. Some were six legged while others have more than the usual eight legs.

My Childhood Memories – Petain Road (Part 2)

Before I move on to talk about Petain Road, let’s take a road at the map again below;

Not all flats in Beatty Road are 4 storey high, some are only 2 storey high and the layout of the house is totally different from those 4 storey high. The opposite block (Block 6) which is just directly opposite Beatty Primary School was a 2 storey flat.

When I heard news about those flats in Beatty Road were going to give way to the 3 blocks of condo, I felt sad. I thought the whole area there will be gone for good, but luckily I still managed to find my ex-tution teacher Mr. Lin’s house at Petain Road.

Let’s take a look at how it looks now though I’m not sure if the inside is still the same;

Well I can’t remember which unit my ex-tution teacher was staying. This whole block of 2 storey old building is now called Petain Court. Here is just one of the close-up of those units;

If you see carefully, the wall tiles and pillars are nicely done up but the flooring doesn’t seem to match!

Adjacent to this Petain Court building, is another very old building. This one has those olden spiral staircase which I always find difficulty in walking up and down. In fact there are still quite a number of such buildings with spiral staircase around that area.

Besides going for my tution via Petain Road, I also used to walk past here to go to the old New World Amusement Park (back gate), which is another story to tell.

My Childhood Memories – Beatty Road (Part 1)

Probably the best part of my childhood memories were those in Beatty Road during the 60s and 70s. I was under the care of my Godmother when I was young as both my parents were working at that time.

My Godmother’s family was at Block 7 Beatty Road 25-C. The old numbering of housing in Singapore was like that 25-C means #04-25. I will talk about housing numbering in future.

There were 17 blocks of public housing (Jalan Besar Estate) built during Mr. Lim Yew Hock’s time. Yes, it’s called SIT (Sinapore Improvement Trust, the predecessor of HDB) flats. What I would like to highlight is the solid and spacious flat at that time. My godmother’s house at Block 7 was a 4 storey flat (no lift of course) and there were 2 bedrooms, one big hall, kitchen, one bathroom and one toilet. There were no attached toilet in the bedroom at that time but a very long balcony from the hall to one of the bedroom. There was a common corridor in front that linked all our neighbours.

Below you can see a photo taken during December 1967 outside my godmother’s house 25-C at the common corridor near the staircase. My godmother’s house was the first unit (corner unit). See it was facing the then Boo Teck School, a Chinese Primary School.

The Boo Teck School was now replaced by the new Wu De Building;

The oval shape grass patch in front of the building was nevertheless the same till now. Here is the map of the then Beatty Road; all these SIT flats were now replaced by 3 blocks of Kerrisdale Condo. Besides the Boo Teck School, was the wet market then. Of course there were some provision shop and a coffee shop at that place.

… to be continued.

SATA Greeting Seals

My late godfather used to buy these SATA greeting seals in the past. Somehow I managed to have a couple of such booklets – from $2 per booklet (10 sheets of 10 seals per sheet) in 1969 to $5 per booklet in 1971. $2 or $5 may not be a large amount now, but at that time (60s and 70s) it was quite a considerable amount.

These are not meant to replace the usual postage stamps but used to decorate your letters as shown below.

For those that do not know what SATA is (click on the link in the first para) , I’m not surprised as TB (Tuberculosis) is no longer a major killer in Singapore. It was in the 60s, thus Singapore Anti-Tuberculosis Association (SATA) was setup in 1947.

Fairleigh Dickinson University

Wondering why was there a Fairleigh Dickinson University backdrop doing in Singapore at that time in December 1968? Also where was that place?


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February 2007