Sunday, 14 June 2015

Back To School (Former Tiong Bahru Sec School)

School Logo and School Badge
I was invited by TBSS committee members who are from TBSS in Facebook group in 2008 and also a part of "free" Alumni group, to attend an event on the 13th Jun 2015 - "TBSS Gathering Back To School". "Back To School" - to where my former school is, formerly as Tiong Bahru Sec School established in 1966 (Motto: Maju & Jaya), to reminiscing of my school days, now as Tiong Bahru Examinations Centre (TBEC).
TBSS 1st Mega Dinner appeared in Sunday Times 2011
Organised by TBSS Alumni and its committee members who took pain to seek permission and to gain access to this former school from SEAB (Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board), to grant them to hold gathering for former students and teachers on Saturday 13th June 2015 for SG50 (Jubilee Edition).
(source: TBSS Magazine)
Former Tiong Bahru Secondary School
(now Tiong Bahru Examinations Centre)
Tiong Bahru Examinations Centre (TBEC) is now a Operations Centre for the national examinations and marking exercises held at this centre. During the peak period of national examinations, TBEC is a busy place and becomes almost like a second home to many of the staff. My heartfelt thanks to the TBSS committee members for their great efforts to hold "sweet" memorable of this school.
Lee Kar Heng's Plaque 
It was started back then when Facebook was launched in 2004, then 4 years later, Tiong Bahru Secondary School (TBSS) ex-student, Lee Kar Heng who is founder of TBSS Facebook group, one founder was subsequently to register the account single-handedly, initiated to all invitations, including admins of TBSS facebook group, co-founder Scott Poh and its members. TBSS Facebook group or "free" Alumni group was created on Facebook on the 28th July 2008 and it is the team that help to grow, to gather more ex-students to join, look out for their old classmates and to reminiscing of their good old days and to share memories of the school.
Founder of TBSS Facebook Group - Lee Kar Heng
Founder/Co-founder of the TBSS Facebook group and its members: 
Lee Kar Heng 83', and Scott Poh 85'
Rizzal Mohd Noor 88', Founder of Tiong Bahru Secondary Malay Committee Group and Angeline Ang 77', Advisor.
If not for this Facebook group, TBSS will be long forgotten by others and future generations to know about this school that was once a famous and honoured school that held school excursions and sports events including the 1st school trip to Mount Kinabalu in 1968 and the late Lee Kuan Yew's planting tree in 1976.
TBSS 1st conquered Mt. Kinabalu in 1968
(Source: TBSS Magazine)
The Outward Bound Club was formed in January 1968 and its first major project was the Mt. Kinabalu expediation.  Tiong Bahru Secondary School (TBSS) was the first school that had conquered Mount Kinabalu, Sabah dated back in 1968 (picture above). It was 2 weeks trip for Tiong Bahru Secondary School from 12th April to 28th April 1968. The party comprising were 9 students including 4 girls and 7 teachers from different language streams.
Mt Kinabalu's Cert award to TBSS Student
(Source: TBSS Magazine)
On the 19th April 1968, one of our former students from TBSS was given award on completion of climbing on top of the Mt Kinabalu from Kinabalu National Park mountain guide, Mr Ridin Bin Amat.
TBSS Students@Istana in 1968
(source: TBSS Magazine)
Later on the same year on 17th May 1968, the 'Mountaineers" students from TBSS were invited to a reception at the Istana and presented with statements of appreciation by PM Lee Kuan Yew in 1968.
Tiong Bahru Sec School's 2nd Expedition in 1969
(Source: School Magazine)
And it was the 2nd trip to Mt. Kinabalu in 1969, there were 19 Secondary 4 students, TBSS students (including 6 girls) plus 6 teachers (included 1 woman) teacher spent 2 weeks at Sabah and 2 days exploring Mount Kinabalu. Such a honoured of the school completely conquered on top of the mountain which is 20th tallest mountain in the world and the 3rd tallest mountain in Southeast Asia. Here is the Straits Time newspaper clipping by click on "School Trip" reported on 4 April 1969 on Page 9. Years later, there was another school trip to Mt. Kinabalu in 1973. The former students and teachers also climbed Mt Sibayak (Brastagi) at Lake Toba on 12th-18th June 1974. Many trips were included Pulau Ubin, Penang, Malacca and so on.
I arrived before 2pm as it already opened and started an event from 2pm to 6pm. Wow!, it was indeed a long 4 hours for us to roam the school's compound and 'ChitChat" among the former students.
Former Tiong Bahru Sec Sch
(now Tiong Bahru Examinations Centre)
It's been 38 years ago since I stepped into my former school in 1970s, formerly known as Tiong Bahru Secondary School (TBSS) established in 1966 (now as Tiong Bahru Examinations Centre - TBEC) tucked away from traffic located along Lower Delta Road. Former TBSS is close to Delta Circus Primary School on the left whereas across at the corner of the road are Bukit Ho Swee Secondary School and Bukit Ho Swee Technical School which were merged with Tiong Bahru Sec School in 1991. Bukit Ho Swee Secondary and TBSS merged in year 1992 and a new name was given. It was called Delta Secondary School (DSS). Some teachers from TBSS went over to DSS with BHSS teachers that I presume what I heard.
Tiong Bahru Secondary School holds many memories of the past till it closed in 1991 and it's been 25 years (1966 - 1991).
The School held many sport competition and championships in the past and won many, the awarded forwarded to our former classmates and schoolmates who joined the sports activities and took part of it.
Sports activities and others : National Air Rifle Competition, National Table Tennis tournament , National Track & Field Championships, Air Rifle Shooting Competition, South Zone Volleyball Competition, The 2415 Scouts Corps, P.C.C. unit (Police Cadet Corps) and so on.
Across the road, there is one building that not many people in younger generations know that this building used to be part of the schools. This building was called PSB Assembly that used to be National Productivity Board while PSB Assembly used to be the site of the Bukit Ho Swee Sec School. At that time, PSB Assembly was called Institute for Productivity Training or IPT for short.
Entrance to Tiong Bahru Sec School
The entrance leads to where my former school stands, quaint and quiet atmosphere that made me going back to school again, I stood still as if I was a former student of this defunct school that was once a famous school where the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew came to my school in 1976 (39 years ago). This former school building has retained to its original site without much changes except the late Lee Kuan Yew's planting tree had moved to the corner end of the building that was once to be at the Multi Purpose Hall staircase outside.
Inside the School Ground 1974 (Then)
(Source: TBSS Magazine)
Tiong Bahru Sec School Multi-Purpose Hall
Close-up - Multi Purpose Hall & Canteen
Multi Purpose Hall is located at 2nd level and is a assembly hall for all the students, teachers and Principal to gather at the hall. School Principal was to make a speech there. On the ground floor was a School Canteen as if I could remember. A Multi Purpose Hall and a School building, but it looks as if it was an abandoned school because of my "regular" passing by thus it looks defunct at that time after my former school ceased until it was taken over by Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) established in 2004. Former Tiong Bahru Secondary School was named as Tiong Bahru Examinations Centre.
Multi Purpose Hall and School building
The Multi Purpose Hall building and a School building are NOT connected to each other. If you could see the different shape of the two building. Whilst Multi Purpose Hall has a long staircase at upper floor as seen in front of it (pic above close-up) and a "huge" staircase at the corner end of the building.
Tiong Bahru Sec School building
Tiong Bahru Sec School building is a long 4 storey high and has a "L" shaped building, at the end of the building was school toilets on every floor. This building is equipped with classrooms and held lessons for all levels (Sec 1 to Sec 4).
"Huge" Multi Purpose Hall Staircase
As you can see the "huge" multi-purpose hall staircase is on the left where former students and teachers (1966 - 1991) would go up using this staircase. Multi Purpose Hall was a place used for sport activities too. I joined "St. John Brigade" at school, wore white uniform as my CCA and also took part at sports activities like "PE" lessons too. On the right is the building of the school classrooms for all former students to attend the lessons.
Tiong Bahru small garden@TBSS
Yes...It is indeed peaceful surrounding of the school park - Tiong Bahru Sec School Park that was used to be. A small seven arch stone bridge is built for prosperity of the school and for peace, I presume. Yet it is indeed a bird eye view of the small garden facing to the former school that stands now.
Linda Wan and I @TBSS's Compound
Linda Wan (TBSS committee member) and I stood at the TBSS's compound that was once used to be assembly area for fire-drill exercise (Fire-Alarm exercises) and photo-taking of the each class group when they departed for the leaving school after the school terms year ended.
This staircase that lead to my classroom on upper floor
School Toilets at every floor (L-shaped)
I recognised this staircase that during my school days, I climbed to where my classroom was located which was near to the toilets on each floor at the corner end with a "L" shaped building (as shown above). The signboard "Silence - Examination in Progress" on the right side of the wall as if it was an upcoming examinations for national students for all schools (Primary & Secondary levels) as well as private students who will take part for exams every year.
School Hall & Canteen 1974 (Then)
(source: TBSS Magazine)
School Multi Purpose Hall & Canteen (Now)
Remembering the late Lee Kuan Yew's planting tree. Dated back to the 6th June 1976, the Late Lee Kuan Yew came to visit to my former school that was during "Use Your Hands Campaign" in commemoration of his honourable visit to Tiong Bahru Secondary School (TBSS) and Delta Circus Primary School (DCPS). PM Lee Kuan Yew's planting tree is "Angsana tree"
Late PM Lee Kuan Yew's planting tree 1976 
(Source:TBSS Mag)
This was used to be the original site of the Late PM Lee Kuan Yew planted his tree (picture above). It was known to be planted outside Science Laboratory building next to School building. Late PM Lee Kuan Yew was accompanied by Mr Chai Chong Yii and Dr Ahmad Mattar.
Late PM Lee Kuan Yew dig up the soil
(source: School Mag)
Late PM Lee Kuan Yew dig up the soil and  planted the tree at our former school in June 1976. Such a honourable man came to visit our school and he was very skilful hands at work and thus made our school - Tiong Bahru Secondary School proud and honour. 
Late Lee Kuan Yew's Angsana Tree
20 years later before the school came to an end or ceased, Lee Kuan Yew's tree was then shifted to the corner end after the tree has grown taller and redeveloped the carpark's compound that was used to be a school field.
Science, H.E. Departments & Basketball court (Then)
(source: TBSS Magazine 1974)
Science, H.E. Departments Bldg once stood behind Lky's tree (Now)
Behind the late Lee Kuan Yew's Angsana tree, there was once a building - Science, H.E. Departments demolished to make way for new development of the building - LGV Educational Services behind LKY's tree, located within Gan Eng Seng Sec School (red bldg) is seen at the far centre of the photo. At the centre of the photo, where the shelter walkway that used to be the basketball court and a school field, now it is an emply field.
Pre-Lab rooms  1974 (Then)
(source: TBSS Magazine)
Pre-Lab rooms (Now)
The Shelter walkway leads to the building which is a single storey block that housed four laboratories rooms. I was in Art & Science stream and had experiment inside Lab. rooms, used "alive" frog to do experiment inside this room. That's Gross Science Lab! At that time, there was no shelter walkway and the area of the space was huge in its compound with school sport fields and assembly area - National Day Celebration in school as well as the principal of the School made a speech there too.
Me and Lee Kuan Yew's Tree
I felt honoured and able to see the late Lee Kuan Yew's tree after 38 years but before that I did hear about the planting tree by the honourable and wise man was none other than PM Lee Kuan Yew who came to visit in 1976 after I started to attend the school in late 1970s. 
Close-up: Lee Kuan Yew's tree and a stone plaque
During that time in school, I did notice of the tree was then planted at the original site just next to the Multi Purpose Hall and a stone plaque was built at the site on the ground next it but I was too busy to notice it and I was sure I walked around the tree during recess time and I love to roam around the tree. I giggled.
From left: Sch. building, Lky's tree (centre) and shelter walkway
In this photo (above), where the school building, Lee Kuan Yew's tree (centre) and shelter walkway are, that make me feel nostalgic to the place where it belongs as the former school and Lee Kuan Yew had passed on and thus lingered on my mind as years goes by especially the tree that Late Lee Kuan Yew planted still alive and well as it is indeed a lonesome sight as night falls. I wonder whether TBSS committee members would hold another event as some of them have missed their visits of the former school event - Back To School.
"Back To School" Gathering@TBSS Group 
Much to the surrounding of the former school, former students and teacher of TBSS would have kept memories of the school and thus suggested a group photo-taking just in front of the school building for a "memorable" keepsake for years to come. I still keep old photos taken in school during old school days.
Sadly, my two late form teachers who were no longer there as they have passed on. My two form teachers were "Ms Lim Kim San" and Ms Lee Lai Yong" whom I still remember their faces clearly in my mind.
Last group photo-taking
I was hesitated  in joining them for a photo-shoot of the group but I was holding my own camera that made me to photoshoot of them instead. At least, I already took a 'Selfie' of the building earlier. I was glad to be able to visit the school and snapping away of the school surrounding and even backyard of the building where I was used to walk along the footpath of the backyard behind the building.
Goodies bag with "TBSS" Gifts
Well, at least, I was given a 'free' goodies bag with TBSS gifts (notebook and a key-chain with school badge logo) upon registration to the event organised by TBSS committee members who made us a great feel to be a part of this memorable school.
Thus we would remember the school song that made students to sing aloud and also dedicated to the school from where it stands, on Lower Delta Road. In additional, you may watch "Back To School Again"
TBSS Songs:
Beside Lower Delta Road, stands Tiong Bahru, a stately integrated secondary school.
Her beauty will grow, her influence will spread, as precious years goes by, and students come and goes.
This is the school where we play, where we grow, this is the school from where we learnt to know; loyalty, honesty, dignity, integrity, sportsmanship and humanity.
Tiong Bahru, Tiong Bahru, much do you mean to us, we earnestly strive, we perseve and we fuss.
To bring you honour, to bring you fame, to unfurl your flag, to honour your name.
In the end. we, the former students are proud to be a part of the honoured school.


  1. Hi catcat, thanks for the write up.

  2. This is really a good article and it started my memory flashes running... Thank you...

    1. Kar Heng, It's good to know that our school still exists today but in different name. At least we remember this school as time goes by...

  3. To keep the record right, Lee Kar Heng is Founder of the TBSS Facebook Group. There can only be one founder, to register the account and single-handed initiated all the initial invitations. But it is a team effort to grow the group and there are some founding members who are worth mentioning... Scott Poh (one of the earliest to join so we also called him co-founder), Richard Ang, Angeline, Rizzal, Jeanie Ong, Allen Quek, Pat Lim, Andrew Lim, Motkhar, Faridah, ...

  4. Nice to hear from Kat Heng and Lina. Over 3o years. Times Flies

  5. Hi Cat-cat, Thank you for your times and efforts for the TBSS's blog.
    I am Philip, a former student from TBSS.
    I've failure attempt trying to locate one of the schoolmate, perhaps you could grant me your help?
    Regards and Thank
    My email contact is