Thursday, April 19, 2007

Chuck Hio Remembers Princess Elizabeth Estate

Chun Chew’s earlier article about the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to Singapore reminds me of the housing estate which I lived in when I was young – the Princess Elizabeth Estate, which was located near Hillview Avenue in Upper Bukit Timah. I believe it was built around 1951 to commemorate the wedding of Princess Elizabeth to Prince Philip (the Duke of Edinburgh) in 1947.

In all, the estate had 24 blocks of flats. Blocks 1 to 16 were single-storey blocks whereas Blocks 17 to 22 are 3-storey blocks. Block 23 and Block 24 were 7-storey blocks. There was also a school named Princess Elizabeth Estate Primary School. Its premises are now occupied by the Red Cross Home for the Handicapped and the school was relocated to Bukit Batok many years back.


I lived on the ground floor of block 17 from 1975 to 1984. Before that, I lived in the kampung in Hill View Area. I remember the address was 01-103, Prince Charles Rise, Singapore 23. You might recall that at that time, we had 2 digit postal codes in Singapore.

Ours was a four room flat. The 3 bed rooms were really big by today’s standards, but the hall and kitchen were miserably small. Just in front of Block 17 was the Princess Elizabeth Estate Community Centre. I spent lot of time there playing all sorts of games like badminton, basketball, sepak takraw, table tennis etc.. at this community centre. We also played lots of childhood games, like my wooden guns, rubber bands, picture cards etc..

Just beside Block 17 was a small public car park . Parking was free in the mid 70s until the Coupon Parking system comes into effect. Occupying the same car park was a bus terminal where SBS bus Service 173 and 193 started their journeys. Princess Elizabeth Estate Primary was just beside the bus terminal.

There was also a football field surrounded by 3 Single Storey flats. I cannot remember the block numbers. An interesting thing about this football field was that it had a 'centre parting' - same as a kind of hairstyle. The reason was that the residents of this estate walked diagonally across the field to get to Bukit Timah Road to catch other bus services not served by Service 173 or 193. This caused the path to become 'botak' (bald).


Sadly, like many of the older estates, Princess Elizabeth Estate no longer exists. Today, it is just an open patch of ground awaiting development. Who knows what they will build here in the future; probably another condominium. I wonder if they will reuse the name.

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Lam Chun See said...

Chuck. According to my old street directory (1998), the CC was called Bt Gombak CC?

Anyway, I recall those carefree bachelor days when we played squash there with James, Peter and your friends, William and his twin brother; and then adjourn for drinks at the nearby market.

The twins were really funny guys. I never laughed so hard than when I was with them. How time flies. Last time I saw them was at your wedding.

Anonymous said...

Chuck - You bring back good memories. Now with shortage of land, many old HDB flats are demolished to make way for higher ones. Now many activities are integrated and go indoor. Who could imagine, years back, that nowadays Church activities could be held in shopping mall like for example Suntec or the indoor stadium.

Victor said...

I have always thought that most of the streets and developments in S'pore which have names related to the British royalty were around Queenstown area, e.g. Prince Charles Square/Crescent and Prince Philip Avenue. Didn't know that there was another development in Hillview area that was named that way too.

Lam Chun See said...

In the Farrer/Bukit Timah area, where Hwa Chong, Nanyang Pr and St Margaret schools are located is another series of royalty names. Coronation, Queens, Kings, Empress, Duke's, Duchess and Pricess of Wales Rd.

Anonymous said...

Hi Guys,
Just back from overseas. The Old CC name was Princess Elizabeth CC - just in front of my house in block 17. It was later shifted and changed it's name to Bukit Gombak CC where we played squash etc. Yes, time really flies..those days were really great and fun filled.

chrissy said...

I lived at Army Camp Amoy Quee (I think it was on the Yoi chu Kang Road) - I went to R.A.F. Seletar School and have happy memories of my time living in Singapore in the early 60's . Camping on the beach at Port Dixon. Going out to the small islands off Singapore in an Army Landing Craft (much similar to the ones used to land soldiers on the beaches during WW2.

skyum said...

Happen to chance on this while looking for photos of the old SIT flats at Princess Elizabeth Estate. I stayed at 121B Blk 21 Princess Anne Hill from birth till 1973. Went to PEES like my 3 other siblings. Times in those those will really good esp we had the See Family as neighbours. We actually wash the staircase from the our 3rd floof house right till the ground floor monthly. So clean that we often sleep out along the corridor between our 2 house.
Really miss the large and airy balcony where we launch our firecracker every chinese new year. Can you imagine waking up in the morning to find the usually green field turned red overnight with the smell of firecrackers in the air.
After 30 years, I moved back to the location! Staying across at the condo and bringing my kids to play in the open field and fish in the same longkang hat I fished some 30 years ago

James Tann said...

Like skyum, I was browsing for old pictures of Princess Elizabeth Est when I chanced upon LCS's website. I also lived at Blk 21 (No 126 on the ground flr) diagonally opposite from Skyum. And like LCS, I also attended St Joseph Church! Was the organist there for a few years. Am trying to do some research on Alfred Rusell Wallace who stayed at St Joseph in 1850s. One thing leading to another, now adding PEE to my blog. Guess we are were all neighbours at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Jack Tan,

I was a graduate from that primary school and lived in one of the 3 room flat. We used to play soccer in those free space between the two blocks of flat you mentioned. Of course the town was also ruled with a few notorious classmates of my during the 1960's. I also recall the ethic cleansing when I was little, and those windows were like iron rod like jails. Yes, the community center and Ah-su, the Deaf caretaker of the center. He really was the typical hardworking person that sleeps in that place and manages it. Beseides the community center we had the famous row of street shops offering laundry, coffee shop, hair saloon ....Yes, that coffee shop has the best coffee beans ..that gets roasted on the charcoal

thanks for having such a site. I will have to share your site with my childhood friends...

eric said...

Feeling nostalgic so did a search on my old estate, Princess Elizabeth Estate. I was born and grew up there, went (and like my 2 sisters and a younger brother) to Princess Elizabeth Primary School. and moved out in 1972 to Taman Jurong with my parents. I cant rememeber the block number I was born in but it was in front of the old bus terminal. Then we moved to an old kampong style house in Lorong Kemunchup , next to the last 2 blocks of 7-storey flats.

I lost touch with almost everyone living there and much regreted that. I used to visit a very good friend at Blk 17 in front of the CC almost daily so you must have remembered some rowdy kids who were there day and night !

Sad that the estate is all but extinct (apart from the old terrace houses along Elibaeth Drive and back up to the old Lam Soon oil factory.

what memories..thanks to all for the sharing !

Anonymous said...

If kids play soccer at Princess Elizabeth field. I am sure they know of 'Pak Chik' an old man who played soccer till about the age of 60. We also have aa estate guy who went on to play for the national team. He is E Shanmugarathnam, one of the best player of our eatate.
Yes... Ah Su (We called him B Soo) is the caretaker of the CC. And he was a good table tennis player. Another thing I recalled is the row of shops... do you guys played 'tikam tikam ' at 5 cents per chance inside the laundary of 'dobi' shop?


Unknown said...

I went to Princess Elizabeth Estate School in 1980-1981. I can't remember my Principals name. If anyone knows please do tell me on My name is Thurein Naing and a Myanmar citizen. If any one is an old friend please do send me a message. I also remember a friend called Mukul.

Unknown said...

well found ur blog,went to princess eliz.c.c n to year 74 or 75 i cant pakir maiden was principal of e sch. the c.c used to play free movie at the stay at kampong near hill view.where later we mve to blk 7 yr 78,well if u remember my house in that kampong runs a bodybuilding club which produce great bodybuilders in 70 n 80s.

Soon said...

soon said,

I was born in PEE, lived behind one of the goal post at Blk.9 if i remember correctly. Was neighbour with Pak Chik and played soccer every day rain or shine. Shan was in our team.Our team actually did quite well and won the first Inter Constituency seven a side at the National Stadium. How i wished that i am available to view photos , videos of the old estate ,the kampung, wembley ( our treasure soccer field)Am sure i would remember estate people by sight.
PEE was also notorious with drug addicts and MX pills a long time ago.

D said...

What a fabulous site…tk u! . I also lived in the estate and went to the primary school. My p1 teacher was mrs pancharatnam. Do you all remember her or mr. venugopal? He was my sports teacher in "gammon house"…I think it was the "blue house". I lived on the 3rd floor in the block facing the carpark.

At that time…1960s, the no.5 Green Bus used to park there and the bus shed was under the "big tree". Quite a number of characters came from estate like lily Ong - ms SG, some famous musicians, a girl named ruby who was, I think an SG athlete and many more. Me…I became a popular singer and also sang abroad.

Haha wat a wonderful blog! I remember b-su. We moved out when I went to sec school. I had so many friends to play with in the estate. Do yall realize that there was a field in front of almost every 3 storey block? I have so many fond memories of the estate…can never finish talking about it. Just yesterday my sis was telling me that she met up with old primary sch (my whole family went to peeps) classmates and they were walking down memory lane, that's why I googled and found this site :) Cheers!

peter said...

Mrs. Panchartanam was my neighbour. her husband was the Inspector for Schools for PE.

Old Timer said...

I remember Block 17 to Block 22 were three-storey blocks comprising of mostly 3-room flats. Only Block 17, 18 & 21 have 4-room flats at the gable end units. Block 20 was the longest block with 3 stairwells while the rest had two.

The first community centre was actually situated at a shop unit next to the 'Ah Pui' coffee shop at Block 16 (next to bus terminal). I remember that was where a black & white TV was installed for public viewing. It was the predecessor of the Princess Elizabeth CC.

The first bus service was Green Bus Service No. 5. It later became No. 173 when United Bus Co.(yellow colour) was formed. There were '4-colour' bus companies in Singapore then; viz. United, Associated, Amalgamated, STC. These four companies later became Singapore Bus Service. The bus terminal cum car park was originally paved with red laterite. As Singapore progresses it was re-paved with tarmac.

When I saw James Tan photo I recalled his dad was active in community work. As for skyum you actually lived in Block 20 and not Block 21 going by your description. Your family had a white pet dove in those days.

The actual name of the primary school that most kids went was Princess Elizabeth Estate School (P.E.E.S.). Naughty students used to joked "Pig Eat Elephant S**t". Mr. George Catherasoo was probably the first principal before handing over to Mr Maideen in 1972/73. I remember Mr Catherasoo as a strict disciplinarian. I remember he drove a grey Volvo which was later acknowledged as one of the oldest Volvo model in Singapore. This village school produced many good students that went on to good secondary schools like RI, RGS.

The first wet market appeared along the pavement between the Princess Elizabeth CC and Block 16. They were just some push-cart stalls and some vendors selling their stuff on the pavement. The groceries were fresh produce from the nearby kampungs. The market was relocated to newly constructed stalls at Elizabeth Drive and later to Block 17 Hillview Avenue. There used to be a regular pasar malam along the same pavement once a week. Do you remember the Indian kacang puteh man outside Block 17 corner?

I also remember some Indian dairy men used to bring the cows from Dairy Farm to graze the lawn between Block 17 and Block 20. The air was fresh as evidenced by the generous presence of dew on the grassland. It is a good place to stay then.

Lam Chun See said...

Wow. Thanks for the detail memories of your old school and estate. Maybe you all shd get together and write a book. Me and my friends at Braddell Rise School are considering to do that; maybe next year.

Anyway, I must alert my friend Chuck Hio who wrote this article.

Lowy said...

I remember that place so well, went to PEEPS Ms Ortega was my teacher I'm P1& mr Venu in6. I remember B Su the caretaker of the community centre from when it was a little unit jammed between the dobi a,nd the coffee shop. In the coffee shop, there was a very popular ice ball man. My clearest memories are of the satay man, the man selling putu mayam, the guy who delivered bread daily, the tau huay man and my favorite the chap with a crew cut who sold durians. He shivered alot and I realized he must have had Parkinsond. He sold the best durians. I loved in the block in font of the bus stand and we used to play hide and seek and use the little hut to hide in. What memories!

peter said...


can u help me establish Ms. Ortega - which year did she teach you? I m alos looking for that Ortega person. I hope is the same person. I had one Ms Ortega in 1966.

D said...

I remember the kachang puteh man, he carried his stall on his head. The pasar malam was every Wednesday, I recall it was in the carpark and I would stand at my verandah and watch the rojak man. He looked like he was dancing when mixing the rojak. Pasar malam night, my family used to call it lelong, it was the happening night for us children then. 

I also remember a charkwayteow woman, she used to sell every afternoon. She had her kuali in a barrel that contained charcoal. There was also a satay man and mee rebus man. They both carried their stalls across their shoiulders balanced on "gala", thick bamboo. When they had customers they'd cook on the spot. If you prefer to eat at his mobile stall he even had tiny stools to sit on. Both of them lived in the one storey housing. The satay men had kids in my sister's class and my brother's class. 

Remember the ice cream man in his magnolia uniform? He had a hard hat. He was fat with a smiling red face. It was fun to buy from him cos he always cut extra to place between the wafers and he would never fail to tell me, "I cut extra". 

The one stall in the little wet market I'll always remember is the chee cheong fan. Wow sooo delicious and served with lots of red not brown sauce in a leaf! Where to find?!

The back of Ah Pui's coffee shop could be seen from my verandah n abt 6.30pm he will bathe pouring water on himself from a basin. Of course he had his ah peh striped shorts and singlet on yuck so funny!

The old dobi man used to smoke something from a bamboo, I still hv no idea till today what he was smoking! Those were the days! Mary Hopkins?

Peter I think Ms Ortega used to ride a scooter. She never taught me.

Mr Seow my P5 teacher married Ms Olivier Traverse' sister. I met him, his wife n Ms Olivier at a wedding. I called him "sir" and he laughed. Mr Jimmy Tan my P6 teacher married my P4 teacher Ms Irene Kee. I heard Mr Jimmy Tan and family went to St Mary of the Angels church, also heard he passed away.

Anybody remember these teachers?

Lowy said...

Pat Ortega taught me in 1960 p1 but she usually was in lower primary. Don't know what happened to her.

Anonymous said...

I certainly remembered the kchang putih man. His stlla was just in front of my house.Kachang Putih nuts were sold for 5 cents and cashew nuts 10 - 20 cents then.


Old Timer said...

The charkwayteow woman’s family was probably the last family to occupy the unit where the kacang putih man once stood. The kacang putih man used a benzene lamp on a small milo tin. In those days you can bring your own eggs for charkwayteow or roti prate man to cook and save some money.
The bald headed dobi man was smoking a kind of tobacco using a bamboo pipe with water as the filter. He has a son called “Ah Chiang”. Another son learnt Tae Kwon Do at the Princess Elizabeth Community Centre.
I remember teacher Ms Kee as a thin and tall lady at that time.
Coffee shop assistants used to wear the blue stripe boxers and white singlets during those days. These shorts usually have one back pocket. The reason for this attire is to preserve the integrity of the employee. Ah Pui had one hunch-back assistant which I think was his brother.
Yes, cheecheong fan was served in those leaves sewed simply with toothpicks. There was a very old man pushing a small pram-like cart and he used to stop between Block 19 and 20 beside a staircase.
The rojak man is thin and muscular and usually wears a white singlet. There used to be a satay stall at the lelong; corner of the bus terminus carpark near Block 21. The stall sells pork satay with the pineapple sweet sauce.
The Malay satay man stayed at the block just outside the community centre’s office. He is a road sweeper by day. There was a younger mee rebus man called Selamat who also attended P.E.E.S. He should be about 54 years old today.
The crew cut man who sold durians also sold mangosteens, rambutans, buah long-long and other fruits harvested from the kampung behind Lorong Kemunchup and the Lorong Taluki areas; before the rise of the Hillview HDB estate. I remember his nasty rambutans having flesh that fail to detach from the seed. A bunch of 5 or 6 fruit sells for five cents.
There was a Chinese teacher called Mr Poh Sin Chwee. He taught from 1966 to 1971. He rode a black motocycle all the way from Toa Payoh to the school. Another Chinese teacher called Ms Tay stayed at one of the single storey block near the CC.
There was a male school teacher called Mr Chew Soi Tee. He also stayed at a single storey block near Elizabeth Drive. He went on to become the school principal of Bukit Panjang English School (Primary).
Do you remember a mi-si (nurse) putting up at Block 21 ground floor corner (4-Rm)? She saved me from a high fever when I was two years old. She is working in a clinic called Rajah Clinic located in a single storey shop unit near the market place.

Anonymous said...

Hi Old Timer,

The Charkwayteow woman is my mum who charged 30 cents for a plate of it when she started selling in the mid 70's.
Mr. Chew was my form teacher when I was in primary 5 and the chinese teacher Ms Tay gave me a hard knock on my fingers with a ruler after I failed her inspection on my uncut nails!!!
I also remember mi-si. Her Clinic is just beside my grandmother's stall selling 'Or Chok' at 5 cents a bowl near the market place.


Unknown said...

Old timer said....When I saw James Tan photo I recalled his dad was active in community work. As for skyum you actually lived in Block 20 and not Block 21 going by your description. Your family had a white pet dove in those days.

I am really impressed! You are correct and your timely reminder of our pet white dove brings back a unique memory. The doves (a pair) was bought as a medical concoction for my cousin. But I guess we could not bear to kill it and so it was kept as a pet. We had to catch them when hey return to roost and the black one was accidentally killed during one of the catch. In those days, free flying doves were a rare sight. nowadays, it's a pest.

I am also really sad that I can hardly recall the teachers mentioned here!! i was at PEES from 1968 - 1973. My Form teacher were P1 Mrs Lee Siew Cho, P2 Mrs Kannan, P3 Mrs Olivia Looi (the prettiest) P4 Mr Tirlok Singh(My Favourite) P5 Mrs MG Thomas P6 ???

Left the estate when i went to secondary school, so can only remember things as a kid..

Now that I live in the same area, i have been walking around houses at Bamboo Grove, Fuyong Estate and areas around the BT Hill..

Old Timer said...

Hi Chuck,

Do you have curly hair?

Old Timer said...

Hi unknown,

Going by your description you must be the only girl in your family besides your mum. You have two elder brothers and probably a younger one.

Unknown said...

Old timer

you probably know my family well! I am the younger one! SK Yum

Lam Chun See said...

Wow. Looks like you guys are having a good time reminiscing about the good ol days at Princess Elizabeth Estate. I have visited the place a few times when I just met Chuck in the 80's; and played squash at the CC there.

I think you guys shd organize a meet up and and have a big makan session. Of course you have to invite the person who made all this possible. Haha.

And then you should compile you memories and submit them to the Spore Memories Project. I can help you to do that, and the people at SMP will buy me another big makan.

Old Timer said...

Hi skyum,

Mrs Lee Siew Cho drove a yellow Renault to school. Mrs Kannan lives next to the school at Jalan Intan or Jalan Zamrud.

Old Timer said...

Hi skyum,

I learnt from my mother that you have a relative staying at Block 17 just opposite your flat at that time.

D said...

Hi Chuck The charkwayreow lady I'm referring to sold in the 1960s. She always wore a dress and had a small child with her. She had curly shoulder length hair, about mid 20s. Sometimes she carried this child on her hip while charchar the kwayteow. 20cts no egg unless you bring your own. 30cts she supplies the egg. My family moved out around 1970 so perhaps this lady I'm referring to may not be your mum?

Some of the teachers mentioned by Unknown may hv been after I graduated. But I remember Mr Poh cos he taught my younger brothers swimming. I also recall a mr Roland Koh teaching in p.e.e.s. I think he stayed in the same block as the Ali family…many boys and 1 daughter.

Do y'all recall some of the family names there? Many families those days had many kids.

skyum said...

Yes, Mr Poh taught my sister swimming too. she is on the swim team too. seem like many of you are from her "session". as my sis is 1 year older, we attend different in school. I believe P1, 3 and 5 were in one session and P 2,4 and 6 ia in another.

Mr Roland Koh youngest brother James Kok Seng was my classmate. his older brother Matthew was my second brother's classmate. My neighbour was the See family but being Catholics, the kids attended Boys' Town and the gals were at CHIJ Bukit Timah. My classmate living the estate include Soh Jin Chiow, Yeo Bee Leng, Lourdes Nathan David, twins Ravi and Letchemi, Mohan, cousin wong yoke peng, Sim hwee king, ng kim hock, lee li fong, ang peng seng and wan kum seng. Jacqueline mahendran, Tay Lu Ming, Heng Chee Bee lived at the bamboo Grove park...

Anonymous said...

Hi Old Timer
Yes,I had curly hair,but not now.. most of it is gone... haha


Lam Chun See said...

Now Chuck has curly moustache! LOL. But his son has curly hair.

Lam Chun See said...

Chuck. Don't forget you have an older brother. Maybe the kid that D is referring to is John.

Old Timer said...

Hi Chuck,

The 'younger'char kway teow woman could be your mother. She was probably carrying your youngest sister, the one after you. I remember your strong mum used to carry kid on the waist. In those days char kway teow comes with hum, bean sprout and chye sim. Nowadays, hawkers have omitted the chye sim; maybe too lazy.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic to see so many PEE people. I also went to PEES and remember the tuckshop with the nasi lemak and the dear ice cream man who was quite a small man and resorted to standing on a wooden crate to get the ice cream out of his freezer. The champor drink (chin chao and tau hway)outside the school gate was great. Also the ice ball at the shops just down the road. Remember Mr Arifin who taught Malay/ First he had a motorbike and later a white Morris sedan I think. I think what was really special at PEES was our very own stream with beloved longkang fish where I spent many happy hours on Saturdays instead of Red Cross uniform group when i was supposed to be. How about the old satay man with his mobile set up of stools. His son went to PEES and was quite a good fottball player too. I liked running to 7 storey blocks because then I thought them to be really exciting, so TALL! I love the lelong where my mum would normally buy our pyjamas.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic to see so many PEE people. I also went to PEES and remember the tuckshop with the nasi lemak and the dear ice cream man who was quite a small man and resorted to standing on a wooden crate to get the ice cream out of his freezer. The champor drink (chin chao and tau hway)outside the school gate was great. Also the ice ball at the shops just down the road. Remember Mr Arifin who taught Malay/ First he had a motorbike and later a white Morris sedan I think. I think what was really special at PEES was our very own stream with beloved longkang fish where I spent many happy hours on Saturdays instead of Red Cross uniform group when i was supposed to be. How about the old satay man with his mobile set up of stools. His son went to PEES and was quite a good fottball player too. I liked running to 7 storey blocks because then I thought them to be really exciting, so TALL! I love the lelong where my mum would normally buy our pyjamas.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic to see so many PEE people. I also went to PEES and remember the tuckshop with the nasi lemak and the dear ice cream man who was quite a small man and resorted to standing on a wooden crate to get the ice cream out of his freezer. The champor drink (chin chao and tau hway)outside the school gate was great. Also the ice ball at the shops just down the road. Remember Mr Arifin who taught Malay/ First he had a motorbike and later a white Morris sedan I think. I think what was really special at PEES was our very own stream with beloved longkang fish where I spent many happy hours on Saturdays instead of Red Cross uniform group when i was supposed to be. How about the old satay man with his mobile set up of stools. His son went to PEES and was quite a good fottball player too. I liked running to 7 storey blocks because then I thought them to be really exciting, so TALL! I love the lelong where my mum would normally buy our pyjamas.

D said...

I remember our school tuck shop so well with long wooden benches and long tables with like aluminium top. Our katek ice-cream man was so sweet to us kids. Later besides ice- cream and milk he started selling EASTERN COLA! Do you all remember this drink? Then there was the Indian man with spectacles selling other drinks and those that you can buy by the glass. My favourite was the pineapple drink with triangular cut pieces of fresh pineapple inside. There was also a Malay lady selling mee goreng, nasi lemak. Then there was a yong tau foo stall, this seller lived in the one storeyed housing and her daughters were in mine and my sister's class. One of her sons was in one of my brother's class. Then comes my favourite stall, the one selling soon kuen, curry puff, prawn pancake and sugar Swiss rolls :) I ate their stuff almost everyday for 6 years. Finally was the Indian man selling sweets, kana, keropok, butterfly, etc. Maybe after I graduated more stalls were added?

Do you all remember the school bell? I recall a short Malay or Indian man Sometimes ringing it? I loved our school's private muddy river that had do many small fishes.

And yes the charkwayreow lady used to carry a small child on her waist and still managed to charchar the kwayteow. It was delicious!

Lowy said...

yes I remember, the ice cream man on a stool reaching into his freezer to bring out the goodies we bought :)

Soon Kueh by the Sim family and I had that almost daily too !

I remember walking home from school, it seemed like it was a distance then but it was really a hop, skip and jump away :)

Does anyone remember the Hill family and Pamela their daughter who use to organise little mini sports days with prizes to be won ?

I was too shy to join in but enjoyed watching from our balcony where you could literally watch the world go by !

We knew who came and went since we had the view of the carpark and bus depot.

Jackie Gonzales who was such a helpful lady and was first on the scene if there was a problem.

I ll have to look for pictures to post as I know I do have them lying around somewhere.

I don't know block numbers because by that time we'd already moved out of PEE

Old Timer said...

Chegu Arifin used to ferry students from the Fuyong Estate area to school daily.

The lady who sold soon kueh had a mole. She stayed at the kampung behind the school. Her children attended PEES.

The lady who sold yong tau hoo also had a mole. She is shorter and plumb. Her children attended PEES too.

Somehow, I cannot forget these people after more than forty years!

I remember Eastern Cola was sold by the bespectacled curly hair Indian vendor. Eastern Cola is 5 cents cheaper than Coke or Pepsi. Later, there was a new cola called RC Cola. Those were the days of Sinalco, Yeo Hiap Seng, F&N and Kickapoo, Miranda bottled soft drinks.

The cute ice-cream man sold Magnolia ice-cream and bottled Magnolia milk. The premium beverage comes in three flavours - plain, chocolate and strawberry.

A Malay office attendant cum cleaner used to ring the hand bell. He walks with a limp. In the other session we had a Chinese office attendant cum cleaner. He too walks with a limp. He stayed at one of the single storey block at Elizabeth Drive.

There is stream at the edge of the school assembly area. Mr Poh Sin Chwee set up a vegetable farm next to it. On Saturday somebody upstream in the adjacent Kampung would discharge waste water (probably from washing of the chicken or duck coop). The volunteers and Mr Poh would scoop the water and used them to water his vegetables. The harvested vegetables were shared amongst the teachers.

The weekly school assembly was held at quadrangle adjacent to the single teaching block. The then principal Mr G. Catherasoo used a loud hailer or megaphone to address the students. There was also a scout den or store; a timber building; where all the sports goods were stored. Next to the scout den on a higher elevation (there was a short flight of stairs) was a small playing field where students used to play during recess time. The lower primary sports day was held there.

Besides Mathew and James, Mr Roland Koh also had a younger brother called Stephen and a sister. The family stayed at Block 24, a 7-storey block, probably at 2nd Storey corner unit. Mr Roland Koh drove a white Volkswagon Beetle to school. There was also another white Beetle driven by his father at that time.

Do you remember a teacher called Mrs Lim Guan Teng?

D said...

Oh wow Old Timer u can remember so very many details it's amazing! As I read u, ur describing all sorts of stuff that has been in my memory banks and they start to unfold. Yes I now remember that little elevated field where I used to play netball in, with the soon kueh woman's daughter. We played for PEES.  Yes they are the Sims. Two handsome sons Peter is the older one, I had a crush on him. He was much older than me, in sec sch but sometimes he helped his mum in the tuck-shop. I can't believe that many of us hv eaten the same dishes over the years!

I cant quite remember Pam Hill but I'm sure my older sis will. I remember the teochew Chua family with 7 daughters in the Gonzalez blk. They were all named "Sock" this or that. One daughter was in my sis' class, another in mine and one of the younger ones in my brothers class. The dad rode a Vespa.  They lived above the Peranakan Lim family, also a big family. There were a few big Eurasian families like Bulner, de Silva, Moss , Hogan that I recall. 

Someone mentioned James Tann's dad. He was also a Peranakan actor, with a few other Peranakan estate dads. They used to put up plays and they dressed as bibiks and wore sarong kebayas with the wigs, red lipstick and bimbo (handkerchief). They always did comedies n these plays were held on a simple stage in the badminton court. We used to carry our chairs early over there to "chope" gd spots. So now I'm realising that we actually had our own estate troop of actors.  Mr Tann went on to become a famous SG Peranakan actor with the drama company Gunong Sayang.  I think there was a Peranakan family in the Gonzalez blk on the third floor closer to the road. They had a very noisy cockatoo that used to shout "Nicholas" every morning. The dad in that home was also one of the actors. 

There were many Peranakans then. The blk facing the badminton court had 3 that I recall, the Choos, Ong and Qwee. The Qwee family had many sons and daughters. The Gan family in 7 storey also had many sons, abt 6 or 7. The Chee family lived in the same blk as the Ali family. This blk was in front of 7 storey and it was closest to the kampong. If you walked through this kampong you can get to the railway tracks and if you continue on you will reach the main road…then it's a short walk to St Joseph's Church. The Catholics will remember the very strict parish priest Father Teng. I used to shiver when he came close to me. 

From the sch I also remember teachers that didnt teach me like Ms Tan Gek Eng, Pamela Pareira, che'gu Arrifin, che'gu Asnah who married mr Tirlok Singh, a ms Tan I can't remember her full name…I feel bad cos she was my p3 teacher. I also recall we always had folk dancing display for main sports day. I took part every year without fail!

You all remember movie nights under the stars in the "big field" ? We carried our chairs  or mats there too to chope gd spots. That was another happening night. We would buy keropok, kana, etc to snack on. We clapped hands and cheered during the movie when we got excited. I still can remember one very gd movie entitled "Apache". 

Old Timer said...

Ya I remember the soon kueh woman's fair complexioned daughter. She helped to put up two gifts for a Christmas gift exchange at a Sunday School for me and my sibling. I remember it was the flat can of sardines! ha ha.

I remember the Gonzalez family could speak some Hokkien as they had a Hokkien nanny. The two younger children were twins - a boy and a girl. They had a tall brother called Tony. I gathered that Tony is now a taxi driver. So, if you happen to meet an ang-mo taxi driver, look out for him!

The Chua family of pretty daughters finally got a son I think. One of the daughter names sound like Chua Sock Yang.

James Tann's dad name is Tann Yean?

Ya I remember the white cockatoo.

The Chee family stayed on the ground floor of Blk 19. One youngest and only daughter called Joyce? Oh Ya the Ali family, one daughter called Hayati; her dad was a stout policeman with curly hair. The family probably lived on the 3rd storey corner unit nearer to the kampung.

Do you remember the year-end gifts that the School distributed to all students? A small tube of Mopiko!

The School also put up open-air movies at the assembly quadrangle to raise funds. I remember the tickets were priced at ten cents.

D said...

Yes I remember the mopiko like as if it was a treasure. Was very sad when it finished. There were some other small things in the precious packet with the mopiko but I can't remember what they were. I think we received these for Children's Day?

Yes Mr Tann Yean is James Tann's dad. I believe Joyce is a nun living abroad.

I just can't seem to remember any of the movies in the school quadrangle. Can any of you?

Old Timer said...

For Children's day you get a packet of assorted Thye Hong or Siong Hoe biscuits.

I remember two old movies screened in PEES i.e. Ben Hur and The Raven.

Anonymous said...

Wonder if you guys still recall that PEES used to have a teeth brushing session where we bring our tootbrush a a mug and have our teeth brushed after recess?


Old Timer said...

I remember some Dracula movies were screened at PEES too.

The "brush your teeth campaign" probably started in 1969. The students were made to buy plastic beakers and bring their own tooth brush every Tuesday. We usually squat along the perimeter drains in front or at the back of the school building and brush our teeth together.

Lam Chun See said...

Friends. I have added 2 maps to make it easier for you guys to discuss details of PES,

Old Timer said...

The map Chun See posted was particularly useful. I identified Malayan Guttas next to Union Carbide.

The four colour competing "houses" that the PEES used for the sports grouping were:

Guttas House - Yellow
Hume House - Red
Kiwi House - Blue
Gammon House - Green

These were the names of multi national companies located in the area.

Any idea whether the present school in Bukit Batok still use such names?

Lam Chun See said...

Last week, I visited a friend who lives in Hillview Condo. I saw some marketing activity about a new condo development. Looks like this plot of empty land that used to be the PES will be gone soon :(

I hope they do not demolish this little roundabout. But unlikely to happen :(

Besides Castrol and Union Carbide, I don't remember any of the other factories. I remember seeing lots of Castrol oil drums from Hillview Avenue.

SkYum said...

For those who still remember the train bridge across Hill View Avenue, near the chartered bank, it will be remove tonight/early tomorrow morning ..26 Nov 2011 0000hrs to 0500hrs. Hill View avenue will be closed during this period. i will probably go take photos of the dismantling..Yum SK Blk 20 121B Princess Ann Hill

SKYum said...

Development of the open field have started. The first is "Hillier" ..commercial and residential mixed development. will probably bring some shopping amenities to the area. But what kind of name is Hillier?? Anyway, i am more concern with the drain at the bottom of Bukit some gg to protect he indigenous crabs found in the drain??

James Tann said...

Wow! I just replied to LCS's picture quiz about the terminus at PEE and decided to see if anything more was added to this article which I last comment in 2009 (as fujiwara-kankoo).

I am so glad I did. Oldtimer, Anonymous and D really brought back tons of memories.

Yes, Tann Yean was my dad who was once the chairman of the PEE CC as well, and U are rightly too, he was very involved in the local Pernakan scene.. If you can remember, he was the one who was showing the free cinema filmshows at the CC and previously at the football field.

SKyum, is your brother Shoen Yi? He was my classmate but I have not heard from him after he went to RI and subsequently joined the Navy.

Chuck, did you, by any chance, used to be called Ah Soon? Cos I remember we used to call the charkwayteow lady ah soon's mother. Ah Soon was 1 year my junior in PEES but was in my cub troop and that's how I know him.

I recently met the Gonzales brothers by chance too. Tony drives a Comfort taxi and Robin (the eldest) is a senior ICA officer at the Tuas 2nd Link.

Skyum, thanks for mentioning about the bridge at Hillview Road. I guess I am a bit late but I will go there today to take some more photos before its all gone. I have wrote about the bridge in my blogs a number of times.

My P6 form teacher was also Mr Jimmy Tan (1966). He has passed, but his wife Miss Irene Kee and 2 sons still attends St Mary of the Angels as I see them often. I remember visiting Jimmy Tan and Miss Kee when they were about to get married at their home at Winstedt Road near Newton.

Sadly, if any of you were to visit the columbarium at the Church of St Mary, the walls tell of the stories and past residents of PEES, many of whom remained in that area (Bukit Batok) after PEE was demolished.

James Tann said...


If you lived at Blk 17, you should know the Koh family on the 2nd floor at the end nearest the bus terminus. Ernie Koh was with band Pest Infested and their sisters run the bridal shop Pinky at the old Hillview Estate. We still call them the Pinky sisters and they still worship at the Church of St Mary of the Angels.

Can you also remember, Tan Boon Huat, the former Election Dept returning officer (also CEO of PA) who used to stay at the 7 storey Blk 23?

James Tann said...

Old Timer,

The Chee family of Blk 19 you mentioned comprised the siblings Julian, Victor, Kenny and Joyce. Kenny was my classmate in Sec Sch (Swiss Cottage) and is currently the Senior Pastor at World Revival Preyer Fellowship. He married Jenny who was a classmate of my elder sister Stephenie.
I do not know more of the other brothers and am surprised to hear that Joyce joined the religious order, though I last saw her and the mother attending church at St Joseph a long time ago.

peter said...

Tan Boon Huat usually took Green Bus #1 instead of # 5 (bus stop@Salvation Army Home)to Rex to change bus to get to RI. In school he was the odd man out: he wore knee height white stocks with white school uniform. Botak hair style.

Anonymous said...

Wow this thread is heavy on the memories.
Talk about 6 degrees of separation!

Slowly we are all figuring out that we know each other.
D, since you lived at the 3rd storey at Blk 21, then you must be from the Phua family? (sister B and bros, G & H +1 more I 4get)

And thanks SKYum for confirming that I knew yr brother.

Old Timer said...


The other factories that were in the vicinity - International Spinning Mills, Kiwi International; Lam Soon Industrial Building, Camel Paint, Cerebos, Yakult, Metal Containers,Cycle & Carriage, Hume,Luwai Building, Kelwaram, Blue & White Laundry (later renamed Snow White Laundry)....

There was also a ceramic factory the emits a pungent smell. For many years the smell remain along Hillview Avenue where the current rows of condos are situated. I think it was Mr Tan Cheng Bok, the presidential candidate 2011, who took up the issue and got rid of the factory. Probably, that is one of the reason why the condos in the area although freehold fail to rise in price.

James Tann said...

Thanks to SKYum who alerted us to the dismantling of the railway bridge at Hillview yesterday, I managed to capture a few more pictures before that area completely vanishes.

Here is the link:

James Tann said...

Old Timer..

Can you remember that the original PEECC was at first temporarily housed at a unit in Blk 3 Clarence Walk, Somewhere between Rajah Clinic and the Indian sundry shop at the other end?

It later moved to Blk 16 next to the kopitiam before the purpose built CC was completed in front of Blk 17.

D said...

Anonymous were you staying in blk 21? It's quite sad to look at the photos James managed to capture. The Singapore of our youth is slmost completely stripped away but it's nice to know that a blog like this is around for all of us to share our memories.

I was mistaken about the surname Qwee. Yes it is actually Koh as in Ernest Koh from the band Pest

Do any of you remember the traumatic accident when one of the De Silva boys was lost at sea? I was very small then but I recall there was community mourning in the estate. Later I found out that one of my secondary classmate's brothers was also coincidentally pronounced lost and he was on the same ship as the De Silva boy. She wasn't from pees.

James Tann said...

When I was there yesterday doing the bridge video, I also went back to PEES. The Red Cross has given it up and the bldg is abandoned and shuttered now. I have done a new video of the empty land and the old school which I will put up soon. So sad.

Been asking around among friends if they stlll had any old photos. We should gather them up somehow. My dad used to be a good photographer and I still remembered he had an excellent shot of the Union Carbide and Guttas factory probably taken from D's verandah on the 3rd floor of blk 21. I hv been trying to look for that picture without any success still. Hope one of my sisters have it stashed away somewhere.
We should make a call out for pictures of the old place.

Do any of you recall a Barry Desker (wife Mabel) who use to live at the 1 storey artisan quarters? I think Blk 11? Loretta De Silva is a regular at the Church of St Mary.

James Tann said...

you were not exactly mistaken abt the Qwee family at Blk 17. Ernie Koh's father was Koh Keng Kwee but he was always called Kwee, so that's why the name stuck in yr head. (Wife was Felicia Koh).

Others in Blk 17 I remember was Michael Wong's family at the other end corner 3rd floor. Had 3 children 2 girls and 1 son. 2nd daughter Lizzie was the head of the Connie Francis Fan club in Singapore at that time. Son was called Tommy.

Below them on the 2nd floor was the Lau family. Father drove a black and yellow taxi and had a son Joseph.

The estate was so close that almost everybody knew each other. Do you realise that if all the families were put together, we would all fit into 2 or 3 HDB blocks today.

Another thing if anyone realised. All the streets in PEE i.e. Princess Anne Hill, Prince Charles Rise, Clarence Walk, Philip Walk except for Elizabeth Drive, were NOT roads but actually footpaths leading to the flats.
I wonder if there is other estate streets named like this?
Seems to be unique street naming in Singapore.
I can't think of any other place that has this addressing system.

peter said...

James Tan,

How to contatc u via email?

James Tann said...

Hi peter,
Just click on my name on the posts.
That you take you directly to my blog details.
The email contact is there.

anyway, its

Anonymous said...

Hi James,
I am not known as Ah Soon. As Soon is my immediate neighbour. The Koh family on 2nd floor of Blk 17 - Koh Fai Yew is a good badminton player and his broher Keong is a good squash player.


Anonymous said...

ooh, Old Timer,

Your recall of the ceramic factory at Hillview is so prescient. Straits Times today in the Life section Pioneers Series featured Mr Lee Ek Tieng who mentioned the same ceramic factory causing air pollution to the residents of Hillview!

I remembered the smell was like very bad old coconut burnt oil with a metallic smell to it. I had a classmate, Tan Hock Meng, who lived at 16 Jln Batu Nilam, whose house was directly across from the factory. Whenever we visited him, we hardly stayed long due to the bad smell. I remember the smell actually came from the open oil tank but Mr Lee said it was from the fine unfiltered air particles.

skyum said...

I have included pictures of the trains at the vicinity in my Facebook album

You can see pictures of Hillview surround at


Hope it works...

James Tann said...

I have uploaded my new video on Princess Elizabeth Estate site. Some may feel sad and some will have their memories rushing back.

Here is the link:

To skyum,
Your links don't seem to work?
Can you repost for us to see. Thanks.

Old Timer said...

Hi James Tann,

The Lau family at Blk 17 have a daughter named Elsie. Just below the Lau's unit there is a girl named Grace Chua. Lau's next door neighbour is the Chong family. They have a son named Chong Hock Ngee who later became the head of an abatoir association.

I think the Koh family moved to CCK.

I only knew of the CC at Blk 16 in the early days. B-soo was the caretaker. One of the earlier secretary of the CC, a man, stayed on the ground floor of Blk 23 some where in the middle.

I believed you stayed at Blk 21 corner unit (4BR) with one window facing the school. Your family moved to Fuyong Estate. You have a sister, Janet. Do you remember the bus terminal time-keeper? A white haired crew-cut often in white and black attire? He is often seen grumbling at the bus drivers and bus conductors. He can speak English.

James Tann said...

Hi Old Timer,
Yes, I couldn't rem Elsie's name but I remember Grace. I believe her mother used to sew clothes?

Yes I knew Bisu (Malay for dumb, still trying to recall his chinese name) and the CC secretary Ronald (from Blk 23). I still hv Ronald's wedding photo somewhere. There was also a Malay lady named Aishah I believe stayed at Blk 19 (?) who also worked at the CC. I knew them quite well as my dad was involved quite close with the CC.

Yes, Janet is my sister but she migrated to US more than 25 years ago.

I can place D, SKYum and even Chuck, but I still can'T picture you Old Timer. peter is probably peter chan who lived at Chestnut and goes to ST Joseph/Boys Town? Not much clues abt u except that you are very detailed.

Are you that white haired crew cut english speaking timekeeper who dresses in black and white and grumbles at the drivers and conductor? haha.
I can only remember he shaves a lot daily and throws his razor blades under the hut.

D said...

If I remember the old man time-keeper was there when the terminus for green bus number 5 was just an old wooden shed. There was a big tree to shade. One naughty big boy, much bigger than me put me on the tree. I cried, I was only about 4 years old. It was Ronnie Moss who did that. Do you all remember him…very tall or maybe I was so short then.

I saw James' videos. Sad. Thanks James, the vids and music brought back lots of childhood memories. I also remember we used to fight a lot and you used to throw mud at me hehehe…but our families spent lots of time together. Our mums are still in contact. I tried to post earlier on but it didn't work so here's hoping this one gets through.

James Tann said...

Hi D.
I knew it was you when you said u lived on the 3rd flr and was a popular singer!
I threw mud at you? God I can't remember that at all but I DO remember being traumatised ALL MY LIFE becos you called me 'aeroplane'. I never dared to approach you cause you would tease me no end!I t's burnt into my psyche. ha ha. So we are even now.

I was looking at the picture of LKY making his speech (below my video) but what attracted me was the water pipe at middle of blk 17. Every block had these pipes to drain rain water and we used it to play hide and seek. haha

Yes I remember the Moss family who lived just above me. Anne and June Moss and their father who worked at Hume Pipes.

Old Timer said...

Hi James Tann,

If D is Deborah or Debbie Phua then she has Herman, Gregory, Kenneth as brothers. She has an elder sister too. The family moved to Yuk Tong Ave in Beauty World some time in 1970/71.

Your next door neighbour is the Sohs. The elder Soh had a pet monkey.

skyum said...

So sad I do not have much memory except the times i had with my neighbours - See Family. Their dad had concrete tanks in the balcony with lovely aquatic plants and fish. n addition he had cages of breeding canaries and budgies.

we relied on their home telephone as we did not have one.

Lunar new year during the period where fire crackers was just amazing from the firing on CNY eve and waking up in the morning to see the entire field red in colour and the smell of the firecracker in the air. Nowadays, CNY is just another day...

skyum said...

Gregory has a facebook dedicated to his class Princess Elizabeth Estate School 1967 - 1972

Old Timer said...

Hi James Tann,

Aishah is probably the kindergarten teacher. She stayed at Blk 18 3rd floor corner unit (4BR) nearest to the kampung (before it became Hillview estate). She had her wedding at the CC opposite Blk 17 in 1965. She is a kind lady and had her way with kids. The family moved to Woodlands.

Between the time-keeper shed and your flat there was a STB (Singapore Telephone Board) booth. You have walk down a short flight of steps to get down. I remember the telephone was made of solid steel to deter vandals. I managed to fish some coins from the slot with a steel tongue scrapper!

In those days when the fine for illegal gambling was not so heavy, there were a number of runners and operators of 4D and chapjeekee in the area. Really interesting.

James Tann said...

Wow, it's getting really creepy.

I just looked into Gregory's fb and see have a mutual friend Debbie Soh who was my ex-colleague.

SKyum, were u Gregory's classmate too? I see u listed there as well. Did you see yr brother's picture in my blog?

I knew the See family well too. We went to St Joseph together when we were younger. Eldest boy Francis married Audrey the organist at St Joseph, Thomas was a 'server' in church, and I believe Margaret was a President Scholar (?).

SKyum, you still remember your neighbour on the other side, Boon Hoo? He has another bro and 2 sisters who went to chinese schools, Nanyang Girls Sch I think.
I remember something very funny.
The 2 sisters would come home from school and remove their skirt and walk around in their white half slips (petticoats). For a young impressionable boy that was eye-popping! maybe that's why I was always visiting Boon Hoo ! hahahaha

skyum said...

Francis and 2nd sister catherine still live at hillview area. Thomas is the president scholar. Anthony is at flametree while magdalene and margaret stays in the east. we met last year when their mum passed away..

i rarely mix with other neighbours..

Shoen yih is currently away in states for some conference and remembers you..u come over to reda often??

James Tann said...

I can't say I do 'cos I dun know what is 'reda'

skyum said...

James, Hahahha...Read.. working in the dark in the hospital ward ...

James Tann said...

If you mean Chun See Good Morning Yesterday website, then I am sorry to say No I don't. (Apologies LCS haha). The last time I was here was when I replied to your posting in May 2009 above.

I came in a few days ago when I was just browsing and saw LCS' photo quiz on the PEE bus terminus and remembered that there was a thread on Princess Elizabeth and looked for it.
So here we are are now.

Thanks LCS for bearing with us.

Lam Chun See said...

Wow. You guys are amazing. The number of comments in this thread is fast catching up with another article that I posted, also in 2007, about Margaret Drive. Not that I am complaining.

Incidentally, our friends at the Spore Memory Project are also following your discussion. They are droolling at the prospect of harvesting your stories to add to their goal of getting 5 million stories by 2015 to commemorate Spore's 50th Anniv.

James Tann said...

You can see black and white pictures of Princess Eliz Est at the National Library picture website. This will really jolt your memories. Pictures are of the blks 20 17, 21 and 16. The kopi tiam and the pld market area, the field in fromt of skyum's house, the old artisan quarters and Rajah Clinica and clarence walk.
Just do a search for Prncess Elizabeth and it should take you there.

Here's a link to help you start off.

Just note that although some of the pictures say Princess Elizabeth Park, some are actually of the SIT falats at farrer Park which was also called Princess Elizabeth flats. But I am sure you ex residents can tell the different in architecture.

Anonymous said...

Can you guys recall a durian and mangosteen tree on the slope of just behind the CC? We used to throw stick to bring down the fruits. Also teh drain along the same slope we fish for eel.. by using a stick to stir the water at the holes of the drain to attract the eels to come out of their holes. Once the eels head is about 2 inches out from the hole, we used a fork to jap it from the top. I must said e eels taste great.


Old Timer said...

Thia Boon Hoo has 3 sisters and two younger brothers; Irene, Boon Hwa and Boon Meng. One sister is a school teacher. Boon Hwa and Boon Meng are taxi drivers. The Thias have a relative staying in Block 22 2nd Storey.

skyum said...


Thanks for the NLB link, I was trying show picture of my childhood flats to my kids...

James Tann said...


The area in front of your blk 17 before the CC was a field with an orchard of mangosteen trees. There was a children's playground near the corner where the stairs led up to blk 18 by the drain. The playground was a sand pit with 2 swings and a see-saw. These were all removed during the CC construction.

I recalled there were lots of durian trees on the slope behind the 2 7-story blocks belonging to the isolated families living on the slope. There were 2 paths up to Bukit Gombak. One from the left beside Blk 23 and the major one on the right of Blk 24 which connected to Lorong Taluki leading to the kampong beside the railway tracks. (This would where the Mindef field is now)

There was a catholic Cheng family living 2/3 way up the hillside to Bukit Gombak. The mother was my family's washerwomen and she had 2 sons and a few daughters. The elder son was called Thomas (In Teochew Tomack who worked at Eveready and rode a Vespa which he used to park in front of my flat for security, we used look after it for him).
She had a daughter named Lucy who became the maid who looked after my younger sister as a baby.
The mother also washed for the Moss family at 126A, my upstairs). When the Moss family moved to staff quarters at Hume Heights, she continued to wash for them there and used to take me along. That was how I used to play at the Moss' Hume Heights home for a number of years.
I remember their home on the Gombak slope had lots of fruit trees- durian, mangosteen, starfuit and lots of ubi kayu (tapoica) which they planted as fences to their plot of land. They also had a pig sty. We used to climb right to the top of Gombak where the radar was. There were lots of pineapple and buah susu (passionfuit) growing along the fence to the radar station.

Up on the slope there was also a chinese temple but we feared to enter there as we were catholics and temples seemed so 'pagan' to us! There was a farmer who had a large starfruit plantation beside the temple.

From our estate perspective below, we could only see trees on Bt Gombak but it was a totally different world up on the slope.

I also remembered the Sim family used to rear the water fleas for sale to aquarium breeders. As my dad reared tropical fish, Mrs Sim would place a bag of water fleas each day on our window on her way to sell her kuehs.

Peter Sim was a year older than me and we were both in the Army Cadets (called PKTS, before NCC). He always looked out for me.

skyum said...

Yes, i remember the Kuan Yin temple. been there a coupl of times with my mum.

I remembered during my first when i was about 6. The first thing that impressed was the goddess of mercy statue and i kept telling my mum it resembles Sun Wukong master. the next thing i knew when i reach home, i was scratching all over like the monkey god! My mum quickly brought me bad to the temple to seek forgiveness!! Since that day, i was mindful of what i say in temples...

Realli wonder what happen to the temple.. too bad i never spend time exploring the heels .. i stay at the hills every day now...

Old Timer said...

The Cheng family living up the Gombak slope behind Blk 24 probably has two sons and two daughters. The youngest son (Cheng Yew Cheng) and the two daughters moved to the US. The daughters operated a restaurant there. Yew Cheng drove a taxi there. Yew Cheng is a body builder. The last I heard he returned to Singapore and worked as a fitness instructor. Yew Cheng's dad used to hawk (illegal) fruits gathered from the kampung at the market place. He was probably a handyman who did odd jobs.

Along Lorong Taluki lived a Toh family. They have a stall at the market at Elizabeth Drive and later at Blk 17 Hillview market selling eggs. Later, one younger daughter (also a PEES student) took over the stall. They are related to a Goh family at Blk 15 single storey block. Remember a guy nicknamed "Bulldog"?

Anonymous said...

Dear friends,

A friend, also from PEES, in Perth alerted me to this website. Can’t help but dropping some stories as I was able to relate to some of the personalities/anecdotes mentioned.

I remember some of the stalls at the canteen. The drink stall was manned by an India man wearing specs. I think his name is Mr Samy. One of my favorite drink was the pineapple drink complete with pineapple cubes. Then there was the Malay lady selling Nasi Lemak and Mee Goreng at one corner of the canteen and on the other corner another Malay lady selling Malay kueh. Then there was the stall selling tidbits, sweets et al.

Then there was a small garden beside the canteen ie in front of the school. My classmates and I spent time with Cikgu Ariffin doing gardening there.

Somebody mentioned the Malay janitor. I remember he stayed in the quarters facing the school. I think his name is Mr Hashim. There was a stream flowing in front of the quarters and school courtyard. If you follow upstream, the stream flows through some rocky outcrops beside the small field and into the forest.

Some teachers I remember, Miss Cherry, Miss Choo and Mrs Cherian (My form teachers at various years), Mr Wee, the Science teacher, Cikgu Rahim, Cikgu Saemah, Mr Koh, the scout teacher in-charge.

The football field in the estate was a very popular place. That’s where we always have our Sports Day. Every evening there will be two teams playing. When the HDB flats were built beside the field, a portion of the field was turned into a car park. It was really a pity. From that time onwards, the corner kick was always from the unaffected portion of the field.
Someone mentioned about Selamat, the Mee Rebus seller, on the weekends. He also played football representing one of the clubs in the football league. His father initially sold the Mee Rebus just beside the coffee shop. Imagine it was just 50 cents/pack. Shanmugarathnam at that time played for the Armed Forces. Another famous footballer from Princess was Wahid, the goalkeeper.

There are many other memories, maybe will share them at some other time……

PEES Old Boy

James Tann said...

HI all,

With all these sudden rise in interest in Princess Elizabeth Estate (must be our mid life crisis!),
I have written out a short chronology of the major events at PEE.

This is not the definitive list and I hope everyone will contribute as much as they can remember.
Pls contribute any small details and event, so that all of us can always remember that little place we all so loved once.

Here is the link to my blog:

D said...

Wow this place is getting very active :) I was wondering about why our estate had so many names for mere footpaths. Could it be possible that there were no block numbers in the earlier days because I don't really recall using any block number when I had to memorise my address when I turned 4 so I could go downstairs alone to play. Like as if I can get lost in the estate with so many aunties around.

James I believe we also used the same washerwoman and one of her older daughters Ah Chik worked for us helping in household chores and looking after us.

This is very strange. I had no idea that Gregory was trying to collect old classmates. I did read somewhere that he was trying to locate a Shoen something. Perhaps it was on James' blog or should I say aeroplane's blog hehe. Sorry James I had no idea it affected you, no wonder you threw mud at me, even though I was so much younger than you hehe.

If Boon Hwa and Boon Meng became cabbies, what about Boon Hoo?

Suddenly now I can remember the public phone that was housed in a brown wooden cupboard like thing. I had plain forgotten about it.

Grace Chua has a sister Nora. I think she was my sister's classmate and Grace was one of my brother's classmates. I think Eveready was called National Carbon in the very early days, if I'm not mistaken.

I recall there was a Maleyalam family in blk 21 with two daughters, Tanga and Indira. There was also a Ceylonese family with two daughters, Rosie and Violet and two sons, one of the sons limped. They were already working adults then The mother sat in her verandah and drank tea every afternoon.

D said...

Old Timer
I'm trying very hard to remember the Soh family. I recall we had the Lim family that stayed on one side, two daughters Soo Chuang and Soo Hoong and a son who was a working adult. He used tancho stick on his hair. The two girls were already in Jalan Teck Whye sec sch. On the other side there were changes in neighbours. I remember Mr Koshy who taught in pees and later in Swiss Cottage Sec Sch. I remember him because he was my sisters Math tutor. Then came Mr Bakar and his family, and then later a big Chinese family who moved in from another blk in the estate. There were many sons and daughters. Is this the Soh family you're referring to?

We didn't move to Yuk Tong till much later. From the estate we moved to Hua Guan Avenue. Please tell me who you are. You have such a good memory for details.
Does anyone know what happened to Peter Sim?

James Tann said...


You are right. There were no block numbers during our time. Every house was numbered serially from No. 1 at the artisan quarters at Clarence walk to No. 142 at the 7 storey block (I may be wrong abt the last number).

Homes of the 2nd and 3rd floors were suffixed with A (2nd flr) & B (3rd flr). That's why you were 123B abd skyum was 121B and I was 126 Princess Anne Hill.

The corner shop at blk 16 was 99 and the ex CC was 101. Chuck lived at 103 and Nora lived at 106.
It was easy to remember who lived where because
you just assigned a number to their names.

The block numbers and the #01 #02 & #03 only came in when the gov standardised housing numbers for all flats in Singapore. We then found out we were living in blk 21.

James Tann said...

Ooh, talking about the public phone! The phone booth was 1 of 2 in our estate. I believe the other was near the market behind the bus stop on Hillview Avenue.

The phone booth at the bus terminus was moved a number of times. Initially on the slope, then moved to the edge of the terminus entrance, where it was struck by lightning and finally positioned by the bus timekeeper's hut under the Madras Thorn tree that had lots of caterpillars! (there used to be a sarabat stall beside the phone booth, remember?)

My house was the nearest one to the phone booth and we would actually wait for it to ring and then rush to answer the phone. It was the most exciting electronic gadget akeen to the ipad today!

Whenever it rang, we would rush to answer then run to whichever house the caller asked for. I remember running to Blk 22 (skyum's blk) and shouting "Auntie auntie telephone!" and the aunitie would rush to the public phone.

It was no secret that in those days the public phones were 2 ways and they had the number etched on the public phone itself! I am straining very hard to remember but I think the phone number was 0381.

Old Timer said...

In TODAY Monday Aug 22, 2011 edition, reported by Ms Lin Yanqin: Dr Tan Cheng Bok shared that when he moved to the Hillview neighbourhood in Bukit Timah, he noticed that a nearby ceramic factory was emitting a large volume of dust particles into the air. "I took (air) samples and got it analysed and proved to them that it was a dangerous level, and they had to close the factory" said Dr Tan

So, probably Dr Tan complained; Mr Lee Ek Tiang reacted.

Old Timer said...

Ya. I remember seeing a contractor installing the black coloured background block number plates at Blk 21 from the class room at PEES. He stood on a ladder.

Do you remember how they called those shops; e.g. No. 9 or No. 10 "tiam"? The numbering actually started from the first provision shop at the block nearest to the sewage treatment plant. That is No. 1. There were 3 units there, so the barber shop is No. 3. No. 4 provision shop is at the block perpendicular to the No. 3 shop. It is also a provision shop and also did some dress-making. They were probably the only one that has the equipment to make those cloth-covered buttons which were popular in those days. These buttons were made with cloth from the same fabric as the clothes. The No. 1 shop later became a charcoal and firewood shop. The tenants appeared to be very 'kampung-like' The females used to have pony-tails and dress fashioned like those ladies in the 40s or 50s. Later, there was a wooden ToTo booth just beside the shop. Remember the sewage treatment plant with the two circular tanks and a clock-like hand sprinkling water around? It was later demolished and replaced with a modern rectangular sewage plant. Next to it was the new Block 2 Hillview estate. This Block 2 was known to have the most suicides! Really sorrowful.

Old Timer said...

Hi D,

The Sohs occupied the ground floor unit next to James flat. The family next to yours, a 4R corner unit, actually moved in from the ground floor unit of Block 19 after a tragic suicide. I remember the old Shanghainese lady with curly hair. True, there were many occupants.

The unit below yours has a Cantonese lady who operated a tontine in those days!

James Tann said...

Poor D, still pining for Peter Sim after all these years. So romantic. I will check with my elder sis who was Peter's classmate in PEES. Maybe she might know something but I won't hope against it. They went to diff sec schools. In fact, Peter and I went to the same Sec Sch but I have lost all track of him

I also had a crush on a girl who lived at Blk 9 between the football field and the CC. Her house was directly behind the goal post and the high wire protection screen. We used to take the 11.55am No.5 bus to sec sch and would blush each time our eyes made contact. We were both aware of this mutual attraction. Alas, nothing came out of this puppy love, sigh.
D may possibly know her as she also went to St Margarets. She was a year my senior and was in the NCC. I think her name was Poh Geok or something to that effect. Her neighbor was the 'Bulldog' mentioned by Old Timer. (?)

Do these names mean anything to anyone here?
They were all worked at National Carbon (Union Carbide) and lived at PEE.
I have just uploaded a picture you must see if you know them.
In the picture there are 2 gentlemen who I can't name. If anyone can assist, I'll buy u kopi.
The un-named Eurasian had a short Peranakan Chinese wife which is all I can remember.

Here is the link: Look under the Photo section

Lam Chun See said...

James. I have a friend by that name. In her 60's perhaps. Want me to ask her? Spore is a small place you know. Maybe only 3 degrees of separation.

James Tann said...

hahaha. No need LCS thanks anyway. No more energy for that!
Recent research says it down from 6 degrees to 4.74 now. Really scary.

James Tann said...

Old Timer.

I plumb forgotten about the circular sewage sediment tanks! I remember when we were tiny kids and when our dad was driving us home in his brown Triumph Mayflower car, when we saw the rotating sewer arms with its spray of water, it meant we were nearing home! yippee!

But how vividly I remembered the Indian barbers! I hated going to the barbers. It was like a punishment by your mum who would say "Why? you want to look like the Beatles???"
There were 2 indian barber shops. 1 at the corner of blk 3 which u mentioned but I had my haircut at the other barber at blk 2, the shop facing Hillview Avenue. I think it was called Usha Hairdressing and Barber. I hated the barber because he would always massage your hair with 'smelly' hair oil and then 'crik' your neck at the end. Oucchhh! I would always fall asleep during the haircut and he would always jerk it back.

Do you remember there was an itinerant very skinny indian barber who walk around with a little schoolbag with his haircutter. You brought out your own chair onto the pavement and he would cut your hair just outside your house?

Old Timer said...

Hi James Tann,

I knew some of the tenants occupying block that you mentioned sandwiched between the CC fence and the football field. Beginning from the unit nearest the CC office was the Tans followed by the Satay Man's family, then probably another Malay family, Aws, Ngs and another Chinese family (I can't remember the names)which had a tall daughter in the SAF. Her mother was also quite tall. Your 'puppy love' could be from the Aws who later moved to a corner house in Jalan Dermawan. I remember the Aws had many daughters and only one son. Some of the daughters wore the green pinafore and went to St Margaret Sec Sch. The Aw girls were indeed pretty with thick and dark eyebrows.

The barber at the corner of blk 3 is Malay. The name of the Indian barber shop is "New Indian Star". The proprietor is bald. Usha is a famous brand of ceiling fan. You probably stared at the ceiling fan and got the brand name stuck in your mind for the ensuing 50 years! The shop had a typical Indian incense smell which you can still find in Little India today.

Ya. the Indian mobile barber carrying the cardboard bag popular with students in those days.

I remember the see saw and swings at the plot of land before the CC was built; constructed of steel chains and timber seats. They were weathered and the splinters were a pain.

James Tann said...

It was not the Aws, I remember Jennifer Ow, who was my sister's classmate, lived at that block. It was the NGs. Yes the name was Ng Poh Geok, I remember what attracted me was that she wore black rim plastic spectacles. In our days hardly anyone wore spectacles and if you did, you stood out. So diff from today's kids.

Just like D, I am curous who you are Old Timer?
But from the clues you leave behind, I gather you are much younger than D and me, maybe by a few years.
For one, D and me never brushed teeth in school hahaha. It missed our years. I remember I was in Pri 3 Mrs Lee Siew Choh's class when they started brushing teeth in school. My sister Janet was affected. We would be weaving baskets out on the grd flr classroom corridor and the Pri 1 students would be squatting by the drain brushing their teeth.

By the way, did you all know that Mrs Lee Siew Choh was the wife of Lee Siew Choh of the Barisan Socialis?
I went to her house once and met Mr Lee Siew Choh. He was wearing a singlet and sitting in his hall in those old circular rattan chairs reading the newspaper and he looked up at us and said Hello. They lived at Dunearn Close near the Adam Rd FC, which of course wasnt there at the time (1963)

Old Timer said...

Now I recall the Ngs, Choon Hoe, Choon Hwee. Yeah the pretty studious sister in green pinafore.

I remember Mrs Lee Siew Choh and her boys in school; and her yellow Renault. She is the sister of Mr Michael Fam, the first Chairman of Mass Rapid Transit Corporation and also Fraser & Neave (F&N.

I visited your blog. Mrs Cheng, your family's washer woman is the sister-in-law of the Mr Cheng - the man who hawked fruits gathered from the kampung behind block 24. Yes they were Catholics. I recognised Lucy.

In the photo with Mr Chai Chong Yii, an Indian man standing at the left hand corner appear to be Mr Krishnan, a JP. Mr Kam Eng Cheong stayed at a unit at popular estate facing Elizabeth Drive. He has two daughters. One is named Pearl. The Indian and Indonesian schoolgirls in the front stayed in Blk 24 (7-Storey Block. One of the Indonesian schoolgirl's sister, Habsa later returned to PEES to teach.

Mr Lee Teck Hup lived in Blk 19 3rd Storey. He has four pretty daughters and one tall son, Eric. Eric is a tae-kwon do black belter.

I remember an article with photo in the The Straits Times showing Thomas See and Hsien Yang in Cambridge.

Ah, the substation at the entrance to the bus terminus.

The freehold houses in popular estate were real cheap by today's standard. Most people in those days used to earn 3 to 5 dollars a day!

Those staying in the artisan flats (single storey) pay $16.25/month, 3R flats (3-Storey block)at $48.70/month, 4R - ??

Anonymous said...

Dear Old Timer,

I'm impressed. You are able to recall Mr Kam Eng Cheong and Mr Krishnan. These gentlemen are my late dad's friends. By the way, do you recall the gentleman, with spectacle, beside Mr. Krishnan?

PEES Old Boy

D said...

I remember the swings and the see-saw. You have to put handkerchief before you sit so you'll be safe from splinters. Yes Old Timer you must be younger than James or me if you were affected by the brush teeth campaign.

Because of this teeth topic I remember the yellow dental van that came to pees every month. One of my premolars was yanked out even though i wasn't hvin any problems with it. I remember my parents getting very angry and my mum went to see Mr Catherasoo to inform him that her children's teeth must not be touched without her permission. In those days the school dentists never bothered with fillings. I think because it was too time consuming and that is why we always saw the children crying with a blood stained gauze in their mouths as they came down from the van. That is a childhood nightmare!

I remember a very nice family from the artisan quarters, the Wee family with sons Edmond n Ernest plus two daughters Emily and Esther. The mum Aunty Gek Eng made the best pineapple tarts, the round ball type with a clove stem.

The provision shop directly at the other end of Ah Pui's coffee shop was called Sin Wah Hin and the eldest son who later ran the shop was called Super. His younger brother Chok San would help deliver groceries during the December school holidays. Later in the 90s we met and he recognised me and we became friends but lost contact. One of his sisters went to Raffles Girls after pees.

I heard that Peter Sim's sister lives in Perth. Yes James it's more curiosity with a dash of puppy love haha. Still no one knows what happened to Boon Hoo?

Do y'all recall one of the sexiest Indonesian ladies from 7 storey? She had a fantastic figure and always wore very very tight sarong kebaya. Her husband was much older, short and stout. They had two sons and two very beautiful daughters who wore dresses and lots of makeup. The younger girl, Sumiati Sukarman, may hv been in James class.

Tarraleah said...

Was referred to this by my brother. Our family moved to Princess Elizabeth Estate in 1959 from HM Naval Base (Sembawang) and all of us attended Princess Elizabeth Estate School. I was there from 1964, my Pri 1 form teacher was Miss Elizabeth, who I remembered as a very pretty, tall Eurasian. We had arts lessons under the late Mrs Lee Siew Choh. Won first prize for a art contest (beating some older pupils) and my winning entry was displayed at the scout den. The principal then was Mr George Catherasoo, with his volvo (either cream or biege color) - veh plate 5005, cannot remember the alpha. My best teacher must still be Mr Tirlok Singh, a RI alumnus who was our form teacher in Pri 4. Gave me plenty of opportunities to play soccer, trscks and field. He would bring us across to the Bt Timah Reserve, via the Dairy Farm quarry route, talk to us about what it means to be in a multi-racial society. During my time in PEES, the Singapore Pledge was first proposed and we had to say it in class every morning. Unfortunately I lost that pledge card over the decades. My primar school classmates included Josephine Anne Tann. I recall informing the Surveypr General that a topo map of Singapore wrongly label Princess Elizabth Estate as Princess Elizabeth Park Estate - that belongs in Farrer Park. There used to be a black, wooden board at the junction of Hillview Ave and Elizabeth Drive describing that the estate was a gift to HM Elizabeth as a wedding gift from Singapore. The Princess Elizabeth Estate Act stated that rent collected from the estate wll be send to HM the Queen! Wonder if it was repealed. Princess Elizabeth Estate School is now Princiess Elizabeth Primary School and I visited it 3 years ago during a primary school seminar - very different from my day!

James Tann said...

Good Morning yesterday all,

I have a few days left clearing my annual leave so i better say my piece before I get back to the grind and can't find time to reminisce! I am really enjoying this thread with all the ex-resident recalling our estate! Thanks LCS for this good opportunity given to us and thanks to all who keep coming back to add to this!

To add to Terraleah's post, the is a lot of confusion over the 2 estates at Farrer Park and Bukit Timah. In my chronology blog, I listed the events which led to the naming of the estate. Terraleah may be a bit mistaken.

The estate at Farrer Park was called Princess Elizabeth Flats, while the estate at Bukit Timah was named Princess Elizabeth Park.
Unfortunately, the Princess Elizabeth Flats at Farrer Park was also sometimes referred to as Princess Elizabeth ESTATE.

When did the term 'Estate' was added to Princess Elizabeth PARK I do not know but you can find some later reference to it as Princess Elizabeth Park Estate.
And when the term Park was dropped I also do not know, but eventually the Bukit Timah site was known to us all as Princess Elizabeth Estate (PEE)

The black wooden signboard that Terraleah mentioned had original gold letterings with the words 'Princess Elizabeth Park'. I remember this because when I was young, I thought that the 'Park' was the green field at the junction of Elizabeth Drive/Hillview Ave where it was located. My dad had corrected me and said that the 'Park' referred to was actually the Artisan Quarters area. The 3-storey and 7-storey areas were technically under SIT and not the Princess Elizabeth Wedding Fund which built the artisan quarters 'by public subscription'.
The sign does say 'single storey dwellings' which should confirm the fact.

When HDB took over and built HIllview Estate beside PEE, they changed the signboard and repainted the words in white and added the words 'Housing and Development Board' - such a travesty of history! They also made a gramatical error in the signage.
The HDB signboard can be seen in this picture. (bottom row left picture)
I believe they moved it to a new location near to the new Hillview Est Blk 3.

James Tann said...

Outsiders reading this thread may think that PEE was a very close knit community. Yes, it was. Everybody knew each other more or less.
But there is a very good reason for this if you are not aware of the fact.

To be eligible to apply for a flat at PEE, the conditions set by the old British SIT, as part of the terms of the Princess Elizabeth Wedding Fund, was that the flats are meant for low-wage earners AND working in the vicinity! This condition was only for 1st timer applicant. My dad lived in Chinatown at that time but was lucky as he worked at Eveready as was given priority because of this.

That is why so many of the residents are from National Carbon (Union Carbide), Kiwi, Hume and Guttas and the Malayan Spinning Mills.
They were not only neighbours but colleagues at work!

Also 25% of the artisan quarters were set aside for low wage government employees like peons and sweepers and garbage disposal staff. Ever wondered why all our estate sweepers and dustbin collectors lived in the artisan quarters ? ..and sold satay and mee-rebus as a sideline? ha ha

Anonymous said...

Beside 'Bulldog' these names should be famaliar...'Prisoner' 'Tombay' 'Katek Mike' 'Esah Pita' and a short guy the call 'Kou Lou' (Tall guy in Cantonese)


James Tann said...

I just added a few more b&w photos to my Princess Elizabeth blog.
These are of luminaries who were from PEE or PEES that I know of.
There is also a photo of Mr Michael Wong from Blk 17 106B and a picture of D's neighbour (123B) whose name I forgot but had a 'Meng' in it.
Any of you can identify these people?

The link is here:-

James Tann said...

I also changed the picture of Mr Chai Chong Yii at PEES so as to see a better shot of Mr Kam Eng Cheong.
I called Mr Kam's younger daughter Penny 2 days ago to check if she had pictures of the old PEES. Waiting or her search results.

My blog picture is from the National Archieves PICAS webite which I (ahem) "borrowed"

There are quite a number pictures of PEES students there, some of them may you you guys!

I recomend you visit the PICAS site here:

D said...

James the boy from 123B was from the big Chinese family that moved in from amother estate. It took me some time staring at the photo to remember his name. But now i begin to remember that family. His pet name at home was Nannie. His oldest brother was a seaman and he had two older brothers Roland and Lawrence, the youngest, Peter. There were quite a number of sisters. I can't remember the eldest's name. The second was Pye Fong who was a nurse and friend of Aunty Margaret. Then there was one called Amy who was Bridget Ong's friend. I recall going to Ann Moss's house on hume heights for new years teen party and she was there too.

Bridget Ong is the younger sister of Ms Singapore, Lily Ong, with brothers James, in my sister's P1 class under Ms Pat Ortega together with Anne Moss, Lilian Lim, Lee Lee Heng etc. The youngest boy in the Ong family is Jude, my year in sch but different session.

Old Timer said...

Hi D,

Aiyah, still looking for Boon Hoo?
Do you remember an Eurasian family staying at the ground floor left corner unit of Block 23 (7-storey)? You can actually see them from the back window or kitchen. Some names probably Rozzane, Albert...somthing like that. Boon Hoo married one of the pretty daughters. Later had a child and split. He was selling watches for Cortina at one time. Will let you know if I find out more later.

D said...

Correction: the Chinese family that lived in 123B moved in from another blk within our estate.

peter said...

Anybody knows whether a Fernadez family lived in PEE? The elder Fernadez was a teacher and taught @BOys Town.

D said...

Old Timer hehe thanks for the info. That was the Bulner family I was referring to in one of my earlier comments. I remember the two youngest girls, they were so cute and had locks everyday like Goldilocks' hairstyle. The eldest boy was Roger, followed by many siblings but I'll never forget the names of the two youngest cos they were adorable, Maureen and Fredrica.

Peter there was a Fernandez family who lived in 7 storey then i think they moved to the terrace houses. I can only remember one son named Augustine but he was called Auggie by everyone. If I'm not mistaken the ceylonese family in 123A in blk 21 was also Fernandez. Rosie was a teacher but maybe you're talking abt one of her two brothers.

James I was always under the impression that Tomack was ur relative. thanks for clarification after all these years.

James Tann said...

Here's something to follow up on D's post of 18 Nov regarding the Peranakan family on the 3rd Floor corner of Blk 22, the Gonzales bock. The one with the 'Nicholas' parrot.

This was the Quah family. Mr Quah was the brother of Cherry Quah of Chestnut Drive '10 Houses' (Peter Chan should be able to confirm - Cherry Quah has a son called Nelson who contributes a lot to the Straits Times forum pages)

Remember Auntie Fat? The was the fattest lady in our estate and everybody called her Auntie Fat. Auntie Fat was Mrs Quah. They had 5 sons of whom 4 were also very obese. Only the youngest was 'normal' but tragically this youngest son was killed in a fire in a KL hotel.

There was also another Peranakan family, The Teo family at Blk 18 #107 (corner ground floor. Mother was always very nice and smiling but walked with a limp. 2 sons Kim Leng and Georgie. One daughter Jeannie. I was the photographer at Jeannie's wedding. Kim Leng worked with me at Cycle & Carriage ard 78/79.

James Tann said...

Auntie Fat 'let' out her house to be used as a gambling den. Mainly for Mahjong and 'See Sek' card playing. My mom was a regular at her den, together with Mrs Michael Wong, a skinny lady called Auntie Peggy, Ronald the CC secretary and Bisu, the caretaker. They would be there almost everyday!

The youngest son who died was called... guess what? Nicholas. That's probably how the bird picked up and mimicked the parents call.

Grace said...

Saw my name being mentioned at Blk 17.... hello everybody... i am Grace.

Chuck - i think you must be Soon Huat - yes ?

The P6 group like Gary, Lee Jin, Chong Bing, Chong Keow, Stanley, Jane (siew LIng), Mei Kiuan, Rethi, Wee Kheng (now also called Grace), Rafie (who now lives in Msia) Michael Soh, Siew Hoon (tall) Siew Hoon (short) ... we all meet up now and then !!

Please give us your email if you d like to be in the loop.

Old Timer said...

A Ms Fernandez lived on the 6th Storey of Blk 24 (7-Storey Blk). She taught at PEES and was the teacher-in-charge of the Red Cross movement. She has a brother who is also a teacher.

Ya, Boon Hoo married Maureen.

Auntie Fat (Mrs Quah) is Bisu's cousin wife. Another fat man also living in the same household is B-Soo's brother. All of Auntie Fat's sons were fat except for the youngest and the third youngest I think. Yes my mum confirmed her house was a gambling den. She used to dress in a kebaya.

Michael Wong resides at 106B? Both Mr and Mrs wore glasses.

I think the Teos have more than 2 sons, about four. One was addicted to drugs at that time. The youngest son is Georgie. Jeanie was an SIA air-stewardess. Jeanie like her mum had a mole. The elder Teo (dad) worked in the armed forces. James, its 109 and not 107. The corner-unit (107) was first occupied by a Cantonese family. When they move out another Cantonese family occupied - one youngest son named Kam Weng?

Old Timer said...

I remember flipping the pages of a Statue many years ago; came across Princess Elizabeth Estate Act; can't recall the content. I would like to read this Act again.

Do you remember there used to be a mobile dispensary coming regularly to the bus terminus/carpark. Residents would queue for the free medicines. The dispenser probably a pharmacist was a bespectacled Indian who could speak some Hokkien. He would ask some simple questions about the ill conditions before deciding what to give away.

James Tann said...

Hello Grace
Glad to see someone mentioned earlier come online to join in!

Chuck, if you are Soon Huat, is your brother Soon Yew?

Old Timer said...

Hi D,

I vaguely remember an incident that happened in the mid 1970s at the end of Jalan Dermawan in popular estate. There was a small umbrella...May May Photo Studio. Any clue?

I think this odd plot of land was lately developed by Far East Org into some cluster housing.

Anonymous said...

Another one of the Bulner's daughter is Sharon.

PEES Old Boy

D said...

Talk about Michael Wong, there was also another Peranakan family in that blik called the Choos or Chews. I recall we called him uncle Choo Jr and his wife was a fantastic cook. I know they have a big family but I only remember the daughter Rosalind bcos she used to play with my sister. They moved out of the estate into a big farm in Chua Choo Kang and my family visited them several times. I remember Rosalind brought me and sis to the hen house and put a freshly layed egg in my hand. It was still warm and abit soft. Sadly the mum passed away when Rosalind and her siblings were still quite young.

I was wondering…why don't we compile our numerous memories into a book of some sort because eventually we may not visit the site as often. I've told my siblings abt this blog and to spread it amongst their friends.

Grace Chua you were not allowed to cross the Carpark from ur blk to the school so I often watched you walk up towards my blk and then across the field and down the little hill path towards the bus shed and then you would cross the small road and go to school. You had a china doll haircut. I'd Freda your cousin?

Thank you Old Timer I was wondering which of the two little Bulner girls he married. Oh boy you seem to know everything in detail. I notice many of you can remember lots of things and it's wonderful :)

James Tann said...

See the 6 degrees of separation IS getting smaller and smaller by each day we are on line.

I believe Grace and Nora should be Freda Wee's cousin. Freda lived at Lorong Taluki just at the edge of the estate next to blk 18 right?

Old Timer
I too wanted to say something abt that lightning incident but I decided not to mention anything unless D said it first as it could be quite touchy.

D said...

Thank you James for ur sensitivity. It's better to recall happy times.

James Tann said...

Wow, I am really straining at the edge of my memory banks! Fuzzy abt the Teo's address 109 was why I tot 107!

And the mobile dispensary is really stretching it. All I can recall are the brown octogonal bottles that either contained Flavin or Iodine that they dispense for every ailment. Much like panadol for anything today!

James Tann said...

D's mention of CCK reminded me of somethng.
Do you recall Leong Wah Tim, whose photo is in my blog? Leong Wah Tim who lived at Blk 19 (?) moved to a farm at CCK. I guess it didnt work out 'cos they later moved back to Bamboo Grove.
Just 2 days ago I met his daughter Anne at Centrepoint with her husband Philip Yeo. Do you recall the Yeo family who used to live in a large kampong house beside the football field where they built Hillview Est Blk 3? The Yeos has 12 brothers and 1 sister. One of the brothers just passed away a few days ago. The obit was in the papers.

Anonymous said...

Hi James Tann,

You can get a picture of Chandra, PEES long distance runner of my era from the picture archives that you've used.

Hi Grace,

Is Cliff Wee your cousin?

PEES Old Boy

Lam Chun See said...

Friends, if you guys are serious about compiling your memories into a book; I might be able to help you. I can put you in touch with the folks at the Spore Memory Project and they might be able to assist you. If necessary, I can assist in the writing. I am thinking of doing the same thing for my primary school. Braddell Rise School. (which I blogged about)

sue tann said...

Hey James,
Auntie Fat's youngest son is Nicholas you are right. But her son who died in the fire in Batam was Harold.

James Tann said...

Oops. I told you my memory is fuzzy. It's the age haha.
Folks, Sue Tann is my 'baby' sister.
Thanks for the clarification.
I re-read some of the earlier articles and found that I made other errors but I wont say which haha.

peter said...

Yes I know Nelson Quah who livced in one of the wooden bungalow houses off Chestnut Drive. Last time I saw him he was working at Chartered Bank in Battery Road. Nelson was an altar boy at St Joseph Church and taught us how to become one. The hardest part was to memorise in Latin as the Catholic Church in those days did everything in Latin.

Old Timer said...

Sorry, D, about the earlier posting.

James, you mention a Philip Yeo. Is he AIA insurance advisor?

Old Timer said...

Anyone know of the Hainanese family in 124 Blk 21 same stack as D's unit?

The elder Lee was a school teacher I suppose. 2 daughters and 3 sons.

James Tann said...

Hi PEES old boy,
The Chandran that u mentioned was probably from your batch and not mine. I believe you at abt 3 years my junior if Josephine was yr classmate.
The barefoot school best long distance runner in my time was the Indian boy Kunasegaran or K or Kuna as we called him as we couldn't pronunce his long name.
By coincidence he lived at the corner Indian food shop opposite Chartered Bank as well as Chandran. Could they have been brothers? both seem to have the same genes in distance running barefooted?

I tried to search for the newspaper article but couldn't locate. What search tags did you use?

Another horror - the PICAS site seem to have removed the tag for "Princess Elizabeth" I had lots of difficulty trying to look back for the old Estate pictures the link which I gave earlier days ago. It seems no longer there. I hope maybe someone, perhaps skyum, downloaded the pictures

I am not sure what Philip Yeo does. His wife Annie was call Leong Siew Quen in PEES. She was in my batch. She has an elder brother Leong Chee Hong and also a younger bro. Faher Leong Wah Tim still lives at Bamboo Grove looking after the wife 'Ah Cik' who suffered a stroke years back.
Philip comes from that large Peranakan Yeo family and has a brother who married a lady name Swee Lin and moved to Vancouver Canada.
There is also a brother name Michael who works in Korean Airline

James Tann said...

Thank Goodness I managed to relocate the old PEE pictures on the NLB site but not all. The Rajah Clinic and Blk 2 shops still are missing. I had also previously seen a picture of the 'new' market but cant find it now.

I have 'borrowed' the pictures as thumbnail links and placed it into my blog.

Chuck, you can see a bit of the mangosteen orchard in front of Blk 17 in the old pictures.

Old Timer:- I think the block between the CC fence and the football field was not blk 9 but blk 12. Can you confirm? The block that housed my 'puppy love' and where Ow May Peng lived. I had said Blk 9 earlier but I believe blk 9 was actually across the field on the opposite side.

Old Timer said...

James, I think you are right - Blk 12. 11 is back-to-back with 15; 10 with 14; 4 with 13. 'Bulldog' was in Blk 15 two doors to the right from the goldsmith - remember we call 'ta kum pak' in Cantonese. The Malay man in between works for the armed forces.

'Tombay' was the nickname given to a guy who probably resembles a character of the same name in the TV series Samurai or Shintaro. 'Tombay' is a relative of the Thia family 120B. Both fathers were brothers I believe.

'Prisoner' was the nickname of a guy who used to move around in candy stripes pyjamas day and night. He is probably from Blk 23. I can't recall how he look like.

Was 'Katek Mike' the Peranakan who lived in Blk 18?

Remember a fair-complexioned girl called Brenda and her elder sister probably named Grace at Blk 24 with their mother and aunt?

James Tann said...

Yes I remember Brenda and Grace now. They were quite pretty girls and I believe they went to CHIJ Chestnut Drive not PEES. Their mother was the "Auntie Peggy' I mentioned earlier about the gambling den. I can't recall the aunt's name but can still picture her face.

Old Timer said...

Hi James,

Brenda went to PEES and later to St Margaret Sec Sch. I remember her in green pinafore too. Aunty Peggy and her sister have short curly hair.

I remember the boys used to shuttle between the den and the coffee shop to feed the hungry punters! Haha

Old Timer said...

Do you notice that there was a wind vane on the ridge of PEES building. It is above the tuckshop end of the building. Our Geography teacher brought the students outside the gate to view during the lesson on cardinal points. I wonder whether modern schools today have wind vanes.

D said...

Old Timer
Apology accepted :)

The Hainanese family from ground floor my stack: the eldest was in my class, second boy Teetee, my brothers class, followed by another girl and two younger boys. The girl in my class always was top in results and later went to Raffles Girls, if I'm not mistaken. She used to help me in pees with my Math.

Unfortunately I lost contact with them when we moved out. The dad was very strict and basically they were only allowed to play with my brothers and James' siblings so I don't know what happened to them. Maybe my brothers would know.

James Tann said...

D, I just remembered something abt Peter Sim.
His sister's name is Janet and she also went to St Margarets. Janet, Ow May Peng and Poh Geok were all in the same group that took the 11.55am bus to school. Janet should be a year or 2 ahead of you.

OldTimer mentioned a fat man who lived at Auntie Fat's house. We used to call him Baba as he was Peranakan.

Old Timer said...

Hi D,
The eldest girl is Yu May (spelling may be incorrect), second son is Fang Cheng. Except for Yu May, the rest went to Chinese schools. The family moved to the HDB flats at Toh Yi Drive. their dad passed on few months ago.

There was another girl whose surname is Chong also went to RGS; from Blk 20 118. The family later moved to Blk 17 105A. She is probably from your class too.

Hi James,

Is Ow May Peng the big size girl who learnt Tae-Kwon-Do at the CC?

Old Timer said...

eric posted on 26 Sep 2010 - eric said...
"Feeling nostalgic so did a search on my old estate, Princess Elizabeth Estate. I was born and grew up there, went (and like my 2 sisters and a younger brother) to Princess Elizabeth Primary School. and moved out in 1972 to Taman Jurong with my parents. I cant rememeber the block number I was born in but it was in front of the old bus terminal. Then we moved to an old kampong style house in Lorong Kemunchup , next to the last 2 blocks of 7-storey flats.

I lost touch with almost everyone living there and much regreted that. I used to visit a very good friend at Blk 17 in front of the CC almost daily so you must have remembered some rowdy kids who were there day and night!"

Old Timer said:
Going by eric's description I guess his surname is Chong. He has an elder sister, one younger sister and younger brother. The family stayed at a kampung wooden building just beside the Bulner's unit. This wooden building is the most visible from the road - Lorong Kemunchup. He is probably about James age group.

James Tann said...

Yes, May Peng was a big girl. She graduated PEES in 1965 and went to St Margarets. She was my sis' classmate.

I recalled the 7 storey blocks had lift that stopped only on the 1st 3rd and 6th flrs. It was very rare for government flats to have lifts at that time and I remember the 2 7-storey blocks were unique in this respect. But I also recalled the lift stank of urine and was very noisy.
I must have been very short cos I remember the door button was almost out of my reach and had to jumo to reach it.

josephine said...

wow!!!! such memories and interesting facts here. will give my two cents worth at a later time. and yes james u got couple of facts wrong...... ok will go 'dig' up the old pix i may hv of PEE......Hi all who knows me, hi D and Tarraleah (whoever u are !, since we were classmates )
josephine tann

D said...

According to my sis Janet sister of Peter Sim lives in Perth. I don't know the other names of the girls you mentioned James, so sorry I never got to know your puppy love.

Earlier on someone mentioned the sisters Grace and Brenda. Their surname is Oh. I think Yu Mei and her sis Bu Jung went to pees and the three sons went to Chinese schools.

Do y'all remember the Gan family from 7 storey? Many sons and the youngest, Eddie, was in my class. Do y'all remember a common occurrence where Eddie would be running round the estate chased by his Dad with cane in hand and Eddie's mum would be running behind the Dad to stop any caning. It used to be quite a comical commotion.

When y'all talk block numbers I get totally lost. I don't remember when they were installed.

Hi Josephine and Susan.

James Tann said...

I must be getting very senile. I must say I actually knew Janet (Peter's sister) very well ! Janet married a Eurasian boy Timothy who lived at Jln Intan (Tim's sister is Miriam and younger brother Ian). Janet and Tim attended St Mary of the Angels for years and that's where I was in contact with them for years. Didnt realised they migrated to Perth but now that I realised that I hv not seen them for long long time. Silly me.

Here is an anecdote of my P6 days..
During reccess or after school, we boys would always run to the school field, play hatam bola or shoot arrows using lallang. We would run to the end of the field, jump over the drain and there was an area with lots of tembusu saplings and small trees, like a jungle. We would play in that 'jungle' often. The P6, P5 and P4 boys would each have their own special area. We would sometimes run up the slope above the field retaining wall to the top and look down onto the field and school. The slope was covered with shrubs and we would bash thru till we reach the rocky stream at the other end of the field. The stream had lots of crabs under the rocks. The rocky stream flow down the side of the field and was joined by another stream flowing from Lor Kemunchup and this flowed under the bridge that led up the elevated school field.
Abt 8 years ago, I had a chance to return to PEES. My company was a major Red Cross Sponsor and there was a big PR event at the Home for the Disabled. I took the opportunity to visit the school which had converted the classrooms into wards. I went to look at the school field and walked up the elevated steps. OMG!
The field was so SMALL, I could believe it. It seemed so HUGE when we were kids! Now that u think abt it, the field could hardly contain more than that netball court.
I guess it was all relative when we were small kids.

Old Timer said...

Correction: 'Tombay' is not a relative of the Thias. Their dads used to share a cab as cabbies.

Bu Jong went to Pei Hwa.

I remember the dad chasing the son with the cane. He probably stayed on the 6th Storey of Blk 23. I think he was a lorry driver. Ya. many kids.

Yes there were crabs in the stream. I have seen a fellow student holding one the size of a palm during recess time.

The green hedges in front of the 3-storey blocks were later replaced with alternating red and green shrubs. I don't know the names of the plants. Children playing hide-and-seek love these hedges.

The 3-storey and 7-storey blocks had old fashioned of discharging water from the balconies/verandahs with a spout pipe. These spouts were later replaced with cast-iron drain pipes connected to the existing rainwater downpipes. The verandahs were screeded and a scupper added to allow the water to flow towards the drain pipes. All these happened in the early 1970s.

James Tann said...

D & Oldtimer:
My memory is rather vague on this but can you recall a man who used to sell bread on his bicycle. He came in the evenings on some days but would definitely be there during the lelong day.

He had a wooden square box on the back of his bicycle and he would lower down the back portion and sell bread using the lowered panel as his cutting board.
I seem to recall that you could buy slices and he would spread Planta margarine or kaya and wrap it in (news?) paper for you.

By the way, I added a new photoof Mrs Teo Gek Eng who was my form teacher in 1961 in my blog. She was still called Ms Tan Gek Eng at my time.

Here is the link:

James Tann said...

In commemoration of having re-connected with you after all these years, I have written a blog that's partly dedicated to you.
I don't have your email but you can read it here at this link:


D said...

That was a very enchanting article. I'm so glad to know that you still remember how you got that exclusive nickname :)
Please feel free to use my name instead of D, if you choose to. People need to know the young culprit who called you an "aeroplane"

I also forgot to mention earlier in the week that I read something that sounded like 'any news like even the Phua family had a baby girl on 7th of April' I can't really recall your exact words. You're not senile afterall are you? How did you remember?

D said...

The only bread-man I remember is the Ah Pek who carried a variety of loaves in two brown baskets, can't recall if they were wicker, they were huge and a seasoned brown. These baskets were packed and yet the old man would climb from floor to floor, real old fashioned home delivery. You could always count on him even in wet weather.

I recall the long French loaves that stuck out of the baskets…fresh and crispy. But my favourite was the old Sunshine bread that was wrapped in waxy paper, unsliced loaf. The moment I removed the wax white paper with a sun and the brand name, the smell of the loaf will hit me and I just couldn't wait to get a thick slice and spread it with lots of butter and jam. They don't make bread like that anymore!

Anonymous said...

Hi Everyone,
Yes, I am Soon Huat and Soon Yew is my eldest brother.
Would like to add some more memories of PEE.
Food - can you guys recall the tou huay seller who parked his motorcycle between blk 23 and 24? At 5 cents a bowl it came with a metal spoon. The tou huay is piping hot and we used the metal spoon to jab it repeatedly to cool it down.
There is also the pow seller who will park his bicycle beside blk 17 . His siew mai is the best I tasted at 10 cents a piece with chilli and sweet sauce. In front of Ah Pui kopitiam, a late addition was 2 guys selling fresh piping hot yew char kuay. Taste especially nice when dipped into Ah Pui kopi 0. YUMMY.....


D said...

Now I remember there was another stall in front of Ah Pui's coffee shop. They sold prawn noodles soup or dry. The sellers were Persnakan and I believe they were living in the kampong behind 7 storey. The dry noodles was fantastic and I can't find any till today to beat it. They used the tick tock to advertise. We would call out to the tick tock boy from the verandah to place our orders. About 15 minutes later the bowls off noodles and soups would be carried to our home on large aluminium trays balanced on the tick tock boy's shoulders! I remember my classmate Guan Hoe used to help them out. I think the seller was his Aunty. He also lived in the kampong behind 7 storey.

James Tann said...

BINGO Chuck,

remember when I 1st came in I asked if you were "Ah Soon"? (Nov 25 post). I was mistaken as it should have been "Soon Yew". We called the charkwayteow lady Soon Yew's Mother during my time, when she started at the stalls outside the CC. Soon Yew was in my Cub troop and was my '2nd-sixer' I believe that's what they called it.

I am amazed at all these things we are recalling. I was recetly telling skyum that its more than a floodgate opening for me, it's like a Tsunami. I start recalling silly trivia like Janet's chinese name was Sim Hwee Huang and even D.'s chinese name (which I wont say here ha ha)

Sadly my leave ends today and I may find less time to come in but I definitely WILL as much as I can. My work ties me down so much that my mind is blank at the end of the day.

It's good to see so many others, like Terraleah, PEES Old Boy and Grace, now coming in but I was hoping that they all would contribute their little stories that make this site so nice to read. I hope that it's not because of me and the regulars like Oldtimer, Chuck, skyum and D that seem to 'dominate' this site. To everyone reading, please JOIN IN. We are no different from you. We all share what we remember, nothing more nothing less.

Lam Chun See said...

Hi James. Having hosted Good Morning Yesterday for more than 6 years, that's a pleasant surprise that I learnt long ago - that the more you dig and share, the more details that you thought you had forgotten surface. For example, I had blogged about the itinerant roti seller that came around to our kampong on his bike. I remembered he had a wooden box behind. but I had forgotten that part about how the door of the box opens downwards and become the board on which to slice his bread. I do remember being amazed at how sharp his knife was. And collecting the burnt portions to feed our dogs.

I am not sure about whether you can buy in slices, but definitely can buy half a loaf.

Old Timer said...

The tick tock came from hitting two bamboo sticks together. The boy also peddled his noodles in PEES. He would tick tock pass the staff room and class rooms. The teachers would placed their order with him. Later, another boy took over. He was helping the fat laksa lady in the 'new market. This short laksa boy later worked in one of the factories nearby. He was a casual crooner at the 7th Moon hungry ghost festival. He was also a photographer at community functions.

D, you mentioned Guan Hoe. He passed away some years ago while escaping arrest. He was Chuck's neighbour at 104.

Old Timer said...

There were two competing tau huay men at Blk 24. Same motorbike with the side attachments. The sold tau huay as well as the chin chow.

Anonymous said...

Old Timer

Guan Hoe died when was punched and fell with his head hitting the ground. The person who punched him is also one of PEE guy. It had something to do with drugs... he was jailed for several years over that incident.


Old Timer said...

I happened to withness a fight one evening at the bus terminus car park between Chuck's brothers their neighbour. Guan brothers end up kicking the escaping car.

Old Timer said...

Do you remember a putu-mayam Indian man wearing a white hard hat on a bicycle? He had a big rattan basket behind and rectangular aluminium box at the side storing yellow sugar and grated coconut. Real cheap and good snack.

James Tann said...

tock tick tick tock,
tock tick tock.
tock tick tick tock,
tock tick tock.

Memories are such a wonderful things. You can actually 'hear' the sounds in yr head as you remember the rhythms that he used to knock on his bamboo sticks as he wander around the estate.

Old Timer said...

Do you know that the blocks in PEE are not resting on piles? The ground below is solid rock.

If they ever build a condo just below the hill it is a sure good buy. You will be blessed by the morning dew and fresh air from the vegetation behind.

Old Timer said...

I remember seeing the roti pedlar on the bike with the brown wooden box along a dirt track behing the 7-storey blocks running parallel to Lorong Kemunchup. I had watched him slicing the bread and noted that he was generous with the margarine and yellow kaya.

About the other roti'pek' that D mentioned, he actually carried two large rattan baskets. He lives in the 'jungle' in Bukit Panjang and had a small provision shop. His wife tend to the shop while he do the rounds selling bread to feed his many children. He had a son who graduated from Nanyang University, big deal in those days. I admired this roti 'pek' for his entrepreneurship; he actually booked 5 units in popular estate and resold them! This roti 'pek''s wife is Ronald's dad's niece i.e Ronald's first cousin. By the way Ronald is the PEECC's secretary. Ronald's dad was a bus driver.

D said...

How sad to hear abt Guan Hoe. I remember he was picked on by a few teachers. He was a quiet boy and seemed confused most of the time in class.

I burst out laughing when Old Timer mentioned "jungle". The terms we used when we were kids sounds so funny today :) I now recall that my mum mentioned the bread Ah Pek had lots of children and that's why she chose to buy from him.

Do y'all remember there was also a "makoke" man…probably short form for mangkok kueh? He rode a tricycle and his kueh was in a large plastic container that had steam or something. I remember they were always piping hot served with orange sugar and grated coconut. The kuehs were pink, white, green…and they were huge! The pink was my favourite but I think there was no difference in flavour but just coloured to excite children like me. Or was it because my hands were tiny. They were light, fluffy and delicious. He usually parked behind blk 21 closer to Aunty Fat's block.

Lam Chun See said...

D. I remember this kueh that you described as 'arh kok kueh'. I too loved it; especially with the gula melaka. But like the ice ball, it does not taste that great to you when you are grown up. Goes to confirm what I have always believed. Kids know to to enjoy whatever life throws at them.

James Tann said...

As a kid, the whole world always seem larger than it is.
I remembered we used to call the football field the 'big field' as opposed to all the small fields in front of each block of flats.
It is a credit how many good footballers came from PEE when the estate field was actually not standard size for football.
I remember during our PEES sports day the 100m track was drawn diagonally across the field, where the botak worn path was. The field was not long enough to drawn the 100m along the length. The 400m race (or yards at that time) was ran 2 rounds around the track. Yet the field seem so huge when we were kids.

James Tann said...

Does anyone recall a Mr J R Denis, who was very active in the community? He lived at Blk 23 and had a daughter named Shirley.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, another one of my late father's friend. When I was staying there, he was staying at Jalan Zamrud, 2 or 3 houses from the end house which is near PEES.

Other personalities along Jalan Zamrud are Mr Ng Seng Hor, Tuan Hj Sukarman Mustaffa, Mr. Leong, Mr. Lopez, Mr Menon, Mr De Silva, etc.

PEES Old Boy

Old Timer said...

I recalled a pedlar selling soya sauce. He will shout "see yaw". You have to give him your bottle and he will bring it back to his vehicle (a small red van) parked near Blk 24 to refill. He carried a rattan basket. He also had a mole. A bottle in those days cost about $1.20 for the average grade type.

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone,

Found this Princess Elizabeth Estate School (Primary) Student Group on FB. Commentors are mostly from the younger generation, relatively speaking, that is. Quite a no of pictures in their album. The link is as follows:

Hoped it works.

PEES old boy

James Tann said...

Hi everyone,

I added a few old personal pictures of PEE.

Some of you will recall Ronald, the C.C. secretary who lived at Blk 23.

There's a picture showing the narrow Elizabeth Drive between blk 21 and PEES school. The road was so narrow that it was common for cars to exchange paintwork and also to have the car wheels drop into the uncovered side drain. I remember whenever this happened all the neighbours would come out and help lift the car out of the drain.

Other pictures show the car park where the 173 bus terminus was.
There's one with 3 PEES girls, anyone can identify them?
Behind them you can actually see some of the old market stalls that used to be beside the PEECC.

The pictures are at this link: (click to enlarge them)

James Tann said...

PEES Old Boy,

There is another fb group which is a bit more active than the link which you supplied above. But like yr link, this fb group also comprise mainly 'younger' alumnus from the 70s & 80s.

Here's the link:

By the way, D's younger brother Gregory seem very active there.

James Tann said...

Was on fb with some other alumnus from the old PEES and apparently there's some puzzling confusion over MS KEE. There appears to be 2 Ms Kee. The one I remember was back in 1967 got married to Jimmy Tan. But the 'younger' alumnus claimed Ms Kee (Kee Bee Leng) was single and taught in the band.
I am sure it's a different person 'cos in my time we didn't have the band.
Can Oldtimer, Debbie, Chuck or anyone clarify?
I believe the younger Ms Kee Bee Leng is from the 70s/80s. I call recall the full name of 'my' Ms Kee.

James Tann said...

Uploaded a few more interesting pictures of the old estate.
Here's the link:

Lowy said...

Janet Sim Hwee Hwang isn't in Perth, she's somewhere in Brisbane :)

There used to be a mobile library as well which came regularly into PEE for residents to borrow books. Can anyone remember that ? Then there was the man who sold the best durians. He shivered a lot and looking back on it now, I think he had Parkinsons but it didn't stop him smiling and selling his fabulous durians. when the Moss family was still living there, I remember the bigger boys used to camp out the back of their block and have great fun.

James Tann said...

I can't recall that myself but I used to go to the Lor Malai Community Centre at Bukit Panjang to borrow books from the mobile library there. That was my first introduction to the library card system.

Last Sunday I met a Michael Yeo, from the Peranakan family who used to live beside the football field (on the kampong side) and told him about this GMY website. He said his father used to own the charcoal shop at no. 1 Clarence Walk! I hope he can come up with some photos which he said he would try to dig out.

Old Timer said...

The surname of shivering man who sold fabulous durians is "Chung". He had many children and stayed in the "jungle" over the hill behind the seven storey blocks.

The shops at PEE are all on rental from HDB; so no individual owns any. The previous tenant of the charcoal shop is a Shandong family selling Chinese medicine, those self-concocted "tieh ta". The charcoal shop family appears to be Teochew or Hokkien; not Peranakan. The ladies wear traditional 'cheong-sum' blouse and pyjamas-type pants and sports black 'pony-tail' hairstyle; very country-like. One of the daughters probably married a guy staying in the single-storey block behind the row of shophouse (Block 2); arranged marriage, I believe. I am not too sure who Michael Yeo is.

A small library annex building was built next to PEECC in 1972/73.

Eagle said...

Princess was well known also for some of the best musicians in singapore and aboard, estate groups were the Blue Stars & Pest Infested, but band members from the Silap 5, Surfers, October Cherries, Sweet Charity, etc were estate boys.

Kum Sung said...

Wow! Great stuff.

James Tann said...

If Kum Sung lived at #107, you must be Kum Weng's kin. Are you at Mississauga? (Just wondering)

Chan Kum Sung said...

Hi James Tann,
Yes! We have lived at blk 18, 107 Prince Charles Rise even before I was born in 1953 and my younger brother is Kum Weng. I have been living in Brampton, Canada since 1987. Please let me know when and where the gathering is going to take place and I will try to come. Cheers!!! Chan Kum Sung

James Tann said...

Hello Kum Sung,
PEE School is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. D.'s bother Gregory seems to be part of the organizing for the event, but there's no details from him as yet. Keep in touch and we'll let u know once the details are finalized.

Lowy said...

Hi Kum Sung, were you from PEES too ? I did psle in 1965. So Chan Kum Fatt is your brother but a little older than us. I remember he worked for Sime Darby for a while and I think married a girl named Audrey ? How come I haven't heard of this gathering James ? btw how are your mum and sisters ?

James Tann said...

Hi Lowy,
Gregory is leading then push for the 6oth Anniversary of PEE School, or rather now it's PEPS, via his facebook page. Do a search for Princess Elizabeth Estate School on fb and you should find the details there.
I think Kum Sung is from yr batch of 1965. By the way were you in Kwan Peck Leng's batch too?

Lowy said...

James, can't remember this Kwan person, actually cannot remember Chan Kum Sung but I remember a family with lots of Chan Kum .... and Kum Fatt worked in Sime Darby :) I have pictures of my primary one class in PEES and some other pictures. How can I post it here ? Im a dinosaur when it comes to the computer

Chan Kum Sung said...

Hi Lowy,
I was in the same batch as you but different class. I sat in your class on the first day of primary 5A and got posted to 5B because of space. Yes! Kum Fatt is my brother whom just had celebrated his 70th birthday, and his wife is Audrey. There was a day in front of your class Mr. Tan asked me why I smelled of durian early in the morning when he called me over, your whole class laughed, actually we were eating durian brought in by Chwee Hoe (Chwee Hoe lived above James Tann unit), but i told Mr.Tan I had durian in the morning. LOL.
During those days I always hung out with your neighbour Ming Yoong & Ming Yan, and was in their house practically everyday other for coffee. Big smile!

James Tann said...

Lowy, sent the photo over to me at
I also want yr email address as I have am interesting picture to share with you. wink.

James Tann said...

Do you recall an Indian family living above me at 125A? Had 2 daughters, Tanga and Indira and a son Menon. They had an Indian 'professor' who came each week to teach them music. Tanga played the violin and Menon the guitar. I think Tanga would have been in Lowy's or Kum Sung's class.

The people at the estate were so close knit that you could walk into anyone's home at any time which I often did. I remember always going to this Indian family to watch them during their music lessons and also climbed over the partition at the verandah to the neighbour's house. I can't recall who the Chinese neighbours were now.

I also like to visit Lowy's home as the mom always had F&N cordial drinks ready to be poured from the jug for us. Lowy's was the only house that you could get this cordial drink! and I also remembered that for some reason or another, we were always helping Lowy's mom brush the carpet with those coconut fibre brushes. I think to fluff the fibres? I didnt know why we did that tho.

We seldom went into the chinese house that was on the ground floor below Lowy (Bu Jong's house) becuase the parents was always carrying a cane. They were strict with their daughters who always seem to be studying all the time.

Chan Kum Sung said...

James I don't know Tanga or anyone from that family. I could only remembered my friend Nahar at 124 and the See family at 124A.

Lam Chun See said...

Hey friends. Since your 'business' is transacted here in Good Morning Yesterday, can I request to have a copy of the photos. I just love such old photos, especially of places in the Spore that has disappeared forever. James; can I request a copy from you. Thanks.

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