Monday, 22 July 2013

Back to School Where I Studied

Former Permaisura Primary School (1965)
Back To The School is somewhat I yearn for as a child if "Time Travel" would permit me to travel back to the past in early 1970s. Forty-two years has passed since, I stepped into this school on 20th Jul 2013 which was formerly as Permaisura Primary School built in 1965, an event organised by MOE for two days "Open House" on 20th & 21st July 2013. Actually my former school was "New Town Primary School" built in 1965 (photo below) which is located next building that is still standing today. Both former schools are occupied by MOE in 2010s.
My Former School - New Town Primary School (1965)
On both days, I stepped into the school where I could see not much changes and both buildings are intact especially the rooftops and structure of the buildings as I often walk pass daily to see both schools as long as I could remember. I have kept a photo 'class group' when I was in primary six.
Former New Town Pri. School's canteen (foreground)
Both school are the same layout structure of the building and has four-storey block with 24 classrooms. The old New Town Primary School was then located at the junction of C'wealth Drive and C'wealth Avenue in Queenstown area. . Most of the students like me, lived in public housing flats around Queenstown in early 1960s. At that time, New Town Primary School was an Integrated School, offering both English-medium and Chinese-medium classes in two sessions. But I studied in Malay language subject including English and Chinese lessons in 1970s. The school's canteen and the stage (above photo) are still intact with the rooftop is almost the same back then.
The Stage
I remember the stage that the former principal used to stage to make a speech and prize-giving presentation during 1st term and final term in early 1970s.
Permaisura Primary School  was closed down in 1992 and the New Town Primary took over its campus which was located beside its old campus on Commonwealth Drive. On second of January 2004, New Town Primary School became single session. In January 2009, the school merged with Ghim Moh Primary School and was relocated to a new campus where it now stands at 300, Tanglin Halt Road.
My School's Canteen (L-shaped)
Sadly, I would see my former school's canteen in its poor sight as if I could imagine the children would run to the canteen when they hear the bell rings for their recess in the morning at 10.30am for breakfast. The School canteen is just a tuckshop who sells noodles and drinks at a very low price at 20 cents a drink to 50 cents a bowl of noodle and also 10 cents for sweets as if I could remember in early 1970s. I would recommend the canteen to be open for the events "Open House' for the kick-start as school children, for the former students (1960s-1970s) to see their usual eating place "come alive" as if they were back to school in the old days.
The caretaker aka cleaner's quarter room
I used to remember there was the cleaner/caretaker's quarter who took care of the New Town Primary School premise when the students went home after school and the gate is closed after 7pm.
The Cleaner's Room 
The cleaner's room was used to be the store cum utility room if I am not wrong because there is a caretaker's house at the corner of the Permaisura Pri.School that shared their duty to look after both schools. The cleaner's room looks clean and tidy as if it was not that long, and I was told by one of the cleaners that the store room converted into a living quarter for the cleaners not long ago about 10-15 years ago.
Sitting at the phone's booth shelter
Sitting at the bench of the shelter, behind me is the former New Town Primary School building where I studied in 1970s. There is the old public phone and old kerosene lamp hanging above the phone as to make its nostalgic feeling.
"Vintage" Public phone booth
I would remember that there was a public phone booth at the same location years ago that was used to be school bus lane that parked along side of the pavement for the pupils to board the school bus after school.
New Town Primary School's compound
I remember the school's compound used to be a foothpath with grass patch on it. There was lots of sandy and a long drain (longkang) back then.
 The School's drain or 'longkang' (foreground)
Pupils in school was taught how to brush their teeth after school break. I remember that in primary schools we would all squat along a drain (photo above) after recess to brush our teeth! We were all given a plastic mug with a cover and a toothbrush which we must have with us to teach us the proper way to brush.  Why no toothpaste? Teachers were afraid that we would swallow the toothpaste! It's no wonder the drain water was smelly when we gargle with water that is in our mouth and split the water out. The photo (above) is where I as a school kid and squatted along the drain at the school canteen.
Former Permaisura Pri School's Canteen
The place I was sitting on a chair made of 'teakwood', at Permaisura Primary School's canteen for a pose. 
Former Permaisura Primary School's canteen
Former Permaisura Primary School's canteen was not the same as my former primary school. My former primary school's canteen was 'L' shaped type (see top no. 5 photo). During school recess in between meal break, we played marbles on the field. There were sport games and PE lessons too.
Former Permaisura Pri. School (front)
Both Permaisura and New Town Primary Schools have the same structure and the stage flag poles that I was standing. For the memories of the schools we have in mind, will not forgotten, playful and active we were in schools that were taught to be "well-behaved" by the school teachers. There are many things we used to play during school sport days or others that we could remember but that was in the past to be lingered in our memories of the old school days.

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