Memory of Primary School or Lack of It

My primary school, Delta West Integrated Primary School, no longer exists. This was the result of dwindling student enrolments for a primary school in very old estates of Ganges Avenue, Indus Road, Beo Crescent, Havelock Road, Kim Seng Road, and Bukit Ho Swee.

I studied there for six years from 1964 to 1969. The school was opened in 1961. As a student then, I had no deep impression of the school and memory of what I had been through is fading. I tried to get information of the school through web-searches and even from National Archives of Singapore and it threw up very little.

Back in the sixties, cameras were uncommon unless if your family was rich, and no digital cameras like now! I could not recall whether the school had a year book during my final P6 year. What I had was my report book showing my academic results for all six years. I really wish I have something to remember the school by.

Next year, Singapore is celebrating 50th year of independence (1965 – 2015). SG50 Heart Map is collecting memories of places in Singapore. Memories of my primary school were reduced further when the school was closed down by MOE. There is no community of the school’s alumni anywhere else in the web to share their experiences and photographs. What a loss!

My school years

We lived in a rental flat of Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) along Ganges Avenue. Even these SIT flats were demolished for urban renewal. Talking about memories! Those days, my mum walked me to the school. She prepared home-cooked meals and brought them to school during my recess. After class, I would come back home immediately unless there were extra-curricular activities.

I used textbooks and reference books handed down by my sister. I remember that I struggled with the English Language and I did get a red mark in my record book for the subject in the final year. My family used dialect at home. My two older brothers were from the Chinese streams except for my older sister who went to English stream just like me. Practice in English Language was harder at home. There was no such thing as tuition. But I still do alright in life.

I was a very quiet person in class. “Children should be seen and not heard”, I was often told. I lacked confidence in myself and this was the environment I grew up in. I had to study hard, otherwise I would not be able to catch up. Teachers back then drilled us in Grammar. But this was not good enough. Proper pronunciation and essay writing were not the emphasis of the school systems. We would be lucky when we could cover the syllabi of competing subjects to English. We were not as fortunate as today’s kids. There were no enrichment classes to widen our interests in other areas.

For the record, my six years in my primary school were good years because I was fortunate enough to receive an education. I just wish the school is still around.

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