Recently I passed by Bartley Road and found that a great deal of construction was taking place at the location where my alma mater, Bartley Secondary School used to stand. They are constructing a new MRT station there. I thought to myself - Bartley is probably going to suffer the same fate as Whitley and Swiss Cottage, by being relocated to one of the HDB housing estates and thus losing its historical character. Later, I was relieved to learn that Bartley was only shifted ‘next door’ to Jalan Bunga Rampai.
I take this opportunity to share with you about my days in this school.
This is a 1960 photo of our class, Sec 4A. I am standing on the extreme right. Behind us is the Gurkha camp at Mt Vernon. To see a clearer version, please click on it to go to the Flickr.
Bartley Secondary School was born in the same year as my younger brother Chun See; 1952. It was named after a British Government Official, and started as a co-ed school with 81 boys and 10 girls. The girls left in 1956 to join the all-girls Cedar Secondary School a stone’s throw away. My sister Pat is from Cedar, incidentally.
Like the rest of my siblings, I went to Braddell Rise School in my primary school. But from 1957 to 1960, I attended Bartley Secondary School. Although my father was an old boy of ACS, he did not send me there. I do not know why. But all my 3 younger brothers went to ACS in secondary school. Maybe it was too far, and thus transport cost was too high at that time.
The first two years I spent in Bartley were my happiest because most of the time I indulged in seeing my school soccer team, led by Quah Kim Siak (Quah Kim Song’s elder brother) beat the daylights out of other secondary schools. The school also had a very dedicated gymnastics teacher – Mr Loo. Even weaker students under his charge could perform simple basic gymnastics such as head-stand, parallel bars swings, jumping over the vault-horse, whilst stronger students were able to perform advanced gymnastics.
Our school also pioneered the National Police Cadet Corps with the first unit being established in 1959. It was founded by a teacher by the name of Bobby Kway, who later joined PSA, the Port of Singapore Authority as a senior officer. (Any young people below 30 can tell me the old name of PSA?)
The school had many Indian graduate teachers with colourful personalities, including the principal. Among the teachers, we had a Chinese maths teacher who was an expert magician (more about him later), a Caucasian Geography teacher, a motherly Chinese language teacher and others. This school also had a fair share of naughty boy students with girls confined only in the two Pre-U classes.
My main idea of writing this article is to encourage other senior bloggers to share their nostalgic experience of their alma maters.
……. to be continued.