Thursday, December 31, 2009

And they called us car park attendants

If you traveled along Dunearn Road from Eng Neo Avenue to Adam Road, the most prominent landmark that you will pass by is the beautiful, sprawling new campus of the Nanyang Girls’ School. Do you what institution used to occupy this piece of land?

Answer: Singapore’s first junior college, the National Junior College. This year (only a few more hours left of 2009 even as I hammer away at the keyboard) marks the 40th anniversary of the founding of NJC and yours truly was one of the 572 seventeen-year-olds who formed the pioneer batch of students from all over Singapore. To commemorate this occasion, a group of my fellow NJC-69ers decided to put together a book compiling our memories of those two years spent in a place that no longer exists in Singapore’s ever-changing landscape.

Thanks to Good Morning Yesterday, an unknown kid from an unknown kampong called Lorong Kinchir got to pen two stories in this special book titled, And they called us car park attendants. Both stories have been told in this blog (see links below) before and so I shan’t repeat them.



Time does not permit me to share with you my other memories of NJC, except to say that I enjoyed my two years in there, even though at that time a few of us were branded traitors by our former school. Good thing I am one of those you would call a “blur sotong” and so I did not even know about it until recently.

Interestingly whenever I think of NJC, pictures of two other places come to mind. One is the huge field next to our campus. During the initial months, before we had our own canteen, we had to trudge across this huge field and climb a long flight of stairs to have a lunch in the tuck shop of the neighbouring Dunearn Technical School. The other place is the former Ministry of Education complex at Kay Siang Road. I remember nervously going there to collect and submit my application forms. I think I also attended an interview there.


What did I enjoy most about NJC? The two things I blogged about - the badminton and the outdoor activities club. I also treasure the opportunity to meet new friends from diverse backgrounds, such as the group from Bartley Secondary. I even got to know some boys from Malaysia as well as friends from the Chinese stream.



And here’s wishing all friends and readers good health and success in all that you do in 2010.



Happy New Year everyone!

Related posts:

1) Memories of Pulau Tekong
2) Kampong badminton
3) Bukit Timah Heritage Trail

25 comments:

Keith said...

Hey Chun See, I didn't realise you were from NJC. Me too, during the very early 80s. Actually I had a lousy impression of the school premise, but I did make very good friends there. And my first encounter with girls after coming from pure boys' school!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chun See,
Happy New Year! For a 'blur sotong', that pose was quite 'stylo-mylo' leh.

peter said...

How come you don't want to befriend the girls? Nervous? Sotong?

Zen said...

Up to this very day I still do not understand why my younger brother chun see shifted from his former ACS, a very established school, which many would like to be in, to a brand new junior college without noticeable achievements, and worse he didn't even know what was installed for him in this new school. Perhaps he liked the idea of being in the first batch of students, somekind of a pioneer, attending the first Singapore junior college, and to be recorded down in Singapore educational history as such, not realising then that the current PM was also in his class. Surprisingly, my father an old ACS boy was in favour of chun see's shift to this new school.

unk Dicko said...

Hi Chun See,
Wishing you and your readers all the very BEST for the new year.
Zen asked the how and why question?
Often many of us also ask similar questions. It's fate. You took the road less travelled and turned out the way you are today. The other road may be better or worse...no one can tell.

Brian and Tess said...

and a Happy New Year to all you Good Morning Yesterday bloggers from one of your UK followers - 2009 was special for me as I finally visited Spore after 47 years but lets all look forward to a good 2010 for all of us and GMY!

Brian

Zen said...

True, sometimes human behavior is highly unpredictable. If a person studies in a same school since primary right up to secondary level, boredom could set in -meeting same students, teachers, principal, eating in same canteen, sharing the same school culture, looking at same premises, worst seeing the same people you do not like to see, and so on. If this sort of things drain off your enthusiasm and replaces it with staleness, it is time for you to head for the exit.

Zen said...

I fully agree to unk dicko's view of life. There is an english saying: 'blessing in disguise'. Relating to this, I would like to tell a chinese folklore story. A farmer named Han lost a horse(misfortune), all the villagers came to console him but the next day the horse returned with other horses (a blessing), as usual all the villagers came to congratuate him. Later on Han's son fell off a horse and became a cripple (misfortune), likewise all the villagers came to console him. Not long after this accident, the military came to recruit all young men for war, but Han's son was spared because of his incapacity (a blessing). This story fully illustrates, though fictional, the unpredictability of life whether in fortune or misfortune.

Lam Chun See said...

I am sorry I forgot to mention that Unk Dicko has written several articles related to NJC. I have just added links to a few of them.

Thimbuktu said...

Good Morning Yesterday, Chun See, they are Happy New Year 2010 great to start first day of the year blogging.

Cheers!

Tom said...

I wish every one a happy and healthy new year, and may yer lum Reek.

Keith said...

Happy New Year to everybody! Peter asked why I didn't befriend the girls. Yes, nervous indeed, I did but all rejected me, all those memories very sad and ego-bursting lah. Maybe one of the reasons was that I was really the odd one out - up til today, I had no idea how to sing the Malay school anthem, and yet I remember how to sing my primary and secondary school anthems.

Tom said...

sorry I mist a word out it should be Lang may yer lum reek,it means Hope you live a long time , or long may your chimmey smoke,the Scots will say that to visting friends on hogmanay or new years day.

Lam Chun See said...

Thank you Tom. Good thing you didn't spell "lum" as "lam".

Sigh .... many of my friends spell my aurname wrongly as Lum. My section commnander in OCS was even worse. First he mis-spelt my name and then he deliberaely mispronounced my mispelt name and called me "Loom". But he was nice guy and we became friends. I bumped into him a couple of times in recent years. His name ... Bilveer Singh. He is now a famous political science professor and regularly appears on tv.

Talking about chimneys, I wonder how many Sporean kids know what a chimney looked like?

Edward said...

Many older style homes in Melbourne have chimneys but they’re not in use. Most of the fire places (or combustors) have either been boarded up or left there for aesthetic reason. Ducted central heating is cleaner, more efficient and easier to maintain. Old style wood-fired kitchens have now given way to the gas stove and oven. The chimneys are usually left intact, dispensing with the added costs of removing them. Obviously newer homes have no need for chimneys, with the advent of the electronically controlled ducted heating. In the country areas chimneys are still in use.

Zen said...

You should notice chun see was standing beside our plank house, supported by stone pillars, and underneath this house was cluttered with abandoned items and also a dwelling for our dog. My grandma had bought along some old antique tables, chairs and vases from China(guangchow), all dumped into this forsaken area. She busily spent most of her time with her daughters living in down-town, and we were also heavily engaged with our individual activities, conveniently forgot the treasure stove stored beneath our house. Later my mother got fed up with the clutters and sold away all the antique furnitures for about one hundred dollars per piece, quite a neat sum in the fifties, but the garang guni guy had the last laughter, because the furnitures and vases were from the ching dynasty! What happened to vases? My wife told her boss: "Oh, all the vases were broken, when dogs fought there!" Her boss nearly freaked out on hearing this. This showed how naive we kampong folks (to be more precise WE) were at that time, unable to distinguish from what were valuable and what were not.

Lam Chun See said...

I am afraid I was too young to remember these things.

Edward said...

And you didn’t even know your house was sitting on a grand old fortune!

I knew an antique dealer who holidayed in Singapore with his wife about 30 years ago. They spent many days scouring through the stores in Sungei Road (“thieves market”) and bought about 2 suit cases of “junk” for peanuts. These were subsequently sold in his shop for many times the original price. The profits they made more than paid for their 2 week trip to Singapore.

peter said...

NJC's nickname not so bad. Wait till you find out which is school is called, "Singapore Jamban Inspectors"

Zen said...

One of my ex colleagues who was pretty well off driving nice car and eating in posh restaurants. He and his brothers own private properties and TCM shops. Wealth was passed down to them (during the fifties) from his father who was in the garang guni trade, which many people tend to scoff at it.

Edward said...

Ahhh Peter, SJI has produced some reputable scholars. One of them was Tsao Chieh who lived in Jalan Lanjut, Sembawang Hills Estate. He was Singapore’s Presidential Scholar in 1971. I saw his interview on tv. When asked what he’d attribute to his success, he answered in two words, “Hard Work”. Of course we were very proud of one of our local boys winning the award. All the neighbours spoke very well of him. Tsao Chieh was also a composer. Only last week I learnt that he passed away in 1996 at the age of 43, when I was looking up the website for well known Singaporeans.

NJC rocks! said...

Hello! I am currently studying in NJC and I am only 13 yrs old.. You have soo many old photos and whatsoever. I am having this oral presentation and I have to talk about the past time and interview my grandparents. Hope you can help and hope you don't mind if I use some of your photos. :)

Lignum NJC! ~ Boomz. said...

HAHA, I bet "NJC Rocks!" is from JH101. :D And yeah, I would appreciate if I could also use pictures from this blog for my oral presentation. (:
Btw, Chun See, you were in badminton? AWESOME! My classmate from JH101 would be delighted to hear this. She's a great fan of badminton. (:

Lam Chun See said...

Sure you can use my photos for your oral presentation. But pls let me know specifically which photos becos not all the photos on this blog belong to me. Many are from my guest blogger. Also be sure to mention that you took the photos from this blog so that your classmates and teachers would also want to come and visit.

All the best for your oral presentation.

NJC rocks! said...

Thanks, sir! I havent really decide on which photos to use... Anw, thanks again!

@Lignum NJC! ~Boomz.: Hey! HAHAH JH101 ROCKS :D