Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Do you recognize this primary school? – Paul Warner

Paul Warner sent me this photo to challenge you guys. He wrote:

"I enjoy reading the submissions on your website a great deal and the old photographs are fantastic. It's great to remember what Singapore was like in the old days. Well, I'd like to share an old photograph of myself taken with my classmates in about 1978. Maybe you can pose it as a quiz question to your bloggers."

So here’s the question: “Which of these kids is Paul?

Answer and more details later.
"It's Parry Avenue Boys' School, off Yio Chu Kang Road, where I was a pupil between 1974 and 1979. It was then well and truly a rural part of Singapore.

There used to be a Chinese cemetery along Parry Avenue and if I remember correctly, the road on the other side of Yio Chu Kang, was Jalan Hwi Yoh which I recall had several garden centres and I remember watching men making clay pots with the old spinning wheels.

The school is still there, but it has since become Parry Primary School for boys and girls. But long gone are the coconut trees and kampongs which I was lucky enough to visit during my time there. And of course I was the only ang mo out of all the pupils from the morning and afternoon sessions - which must have been more than 1,500 children."

By the way, Paul is neither British nor Singaporean. In fact, he hailed from Kuching Sarawak. “Mum's Eurasian and dad English”.

“We moved to Singapore in 1972 and lived in Seletar Hills (I'm sure there were tobacco plantations there at the time) and then we relocated to Seletar Air Base at the end of Jalan Kayu in 1978 and lived there until 2006 when my parents made the move across the border.

Jalan Kayu then was a thriving Indian enclave, shame I never took any photos. I'm also fairly fluent in Malay having sat and passed O and A-levels in the subject. We'll be heading back to Singapore and JB later in the year and I'll try and dig out some more old photos which I'm sure still exist."


Anonymous said...

Lately, we had been hearing so much of Paul (the) Wonder octopus. The "Wise Old Owl" knows best! :p
Check his website....

Icemoon said...

So here’s the question: “Which of these kids is Paul?

let me guess .. third from right? lol

Victor said...

This is a difficult quiz. All the schools built in the 1950s-1960s looked quite alike.

peter said...

Paul is ang mo, has to be bcos the rest are Malays and Indians. School somewhere in Serangoon Gardens area.

Lam Chun See said...

Peter. What make you think that it was in the Gardens area? Anyway, you are right. It IS is the SG area. Looks like even such a tough question cannot stump you.

Ang Sar Lee said...

The school is probably Serangoon Garden North School.

Unk Dicko said...

Yes, the school was either Serangoon Gardens North Primary School or Serangoon Gardens South Primary School. Both the schools are no longer operating today though SGS building still around.
More than a decade ago, I was invited to play badminton on Sundays at SGS. The 2 badminton courts in that old hall were of the old type ...hard concrete, easy to slip up!

Anonymous said...

The school I went to also look like this (Mountbatten English Sch). Walking to school from Geylang, I have to pass through this small road with a church on one side and the (old) Mountbatten CC on the other. Behind the CC is a creche. Behind the creche are 6 schools. Guillemard English, Malay, Integrated, Kallang English and Kallang Government Chinese. Except for Guillemard Integrated, the rest are all of the same design as the pic. There's also a school for the deaf at one corner. I hope somebody can do a take of this area.

Lam Chun See said...

The school still exists today and it is not Serangoon North. It is near to Serangoon Gardens.

peter said...


The church u refer down at Guillemard Road is now a Korean church today. I think the road next to it leads to a CC - cant remember what cc name it was.

yg said...

if it is not (a), then it must be (b). is the answer is serangoon garden south? both schools were along kesington park.

Lam Chun See said...

Not surprised that he is fluent in Malay seeing that his buddies are mostly Malay boys.

Anonymous said...

Yes like what Victor have said, those days school are all built alike. It looks like my Primary school Kim Seng Primary. If not for the coconut tress by right I think most of us would clueless : )

jean said...

So can we see what Paul (& maybe all or some of the kids too) looks like today?

Dogcom said...

And on the subject of old school buildings. During the Bukit Ho Swee fire my school Kim Seng Primary (see earlier comment) was used to shelter the victims of the disaster.

Lam Chun See said...

Incidentally, speaking of Bt Ho Swee, I think next Tue Channel 8 will be screening a documentary on Bt Ho Swee. Hope I remember to record it. It's under the series Tuesday Special Report (星期二特写)

Unknown said...

dear sirs,

i think the cemetery in question is the one and only Japanese cemetery...?

i see it in my gps maps bounded by chuan hoe avenue/parry terrace/parry rd...

Mel Siebel said...

hey there were some ang moh's at parry boys, william barker attended there ... little fellow with a mop of blond hair and blue eyes, he is my cousin-and i attended the girls school parry girls in back, with my other cousin, susan barker. loved parry school...graduated primary six in 1974. william and susan moved to Oz a year before that....next to parry boys was parry chinese school, instruction there was entirely in mandarin. so three schools in all. i grew up on parry avenue and we'd often play at the japanese cemetary on chuan hoe....there were so many kampongs behind the school and behind parry avenue, and every ghost month, we had the wayangs...and if you hiked even further back, there were old factories that used to process latex for tires etc. you could hike back thru there and follow the storm drains (moonsoon drains?) all the way out to my aunties house over near robey crescent. william and i had great fun hiking around back there -- i was a tomboy and so the two of us would wander all over ...

Lam Chun See said...

Mel. Thanks for enlightening us about the 3 'Parry' schools. I am not too familiar with that area; but at one time, my Christian friends invited me to their church called Bethel Assembly of God which was located somewhere near Flower Road. That was in 1970 or thereabouts. We would walk in from Rosyth Road and after the service walk out to the bus stop near Sirat Road where there was a market. Recently I explored the area (by car) and simply could not identify any old landmarks.

Unk Dicko said...

Chun See and Mel,
This area is my kampong for over 25 years.
It's full of heritage and history.
Parry Primary and the former Rosyth Primary have been converted to a students' hostel for foreign sstudents...now run by a commercial org.
The Japanese cemetery at Chuan Hoe Ave is a 'must visit' site for Japanese tourists daily. It's a most unique place in Sg for various reasons.

Btw, dear kawan...what happened to your cute rocking head at my Blogface...
Haha. Pl check.

Unknown said...

Hi Lam, i had fun memories when came across your page. I was from Parry Girls Primary 1967 to 1972. Then there was Parry Boys,Parry Girls, Parry Chinese (Co-ed)) and Parry Secondary (Co-ed). It was common for students to have siblings among the schools. The Girls and Boys school buildings were near enough to allow us to taunt each other when we see the other gets punishment by being made to stand on chairs. School assembly was held in open area ,cement pavement. The cemetry mentioned is a Japanese one not Chinese. I used to go school at earlier hours so that my ang mo friend (younger) could bring me to play there. Got chased by dogs etc. The ang mo friend was Susan Barker from the Edward Baker family. There is a class photo of our Pri 6 girls at my facebook Gek Sim. My primary classmates are quite in touch and we are all 50 this year.

Unknown said...

we knew your mum and dad in kuching in 1966

anomaziz said...

I think i know this Paul Warner. My wild guess is that he was fm Woodsville Pre-u center. I know cos I was from the same school.

Alex said...

I never thought that there is so much love for Parry Primary school...I was there from 1981 to 1988...I remember there is a Japanese Cemetery very near to our school at Parry Ave road...

Time files

Rosh said...

PABS school motto was "Perserverance Always Brings Success".

Principal was Mrs Kang, Head Master was Mr Rao and Library Teacher In-Charge was Mrs Ding. There was also a very strict and fierce teacher Mrs Chow.

It's really been a long time but PABS gave me a real good head start with their emphasis on language education.

If I've not mistaken, Paul Warner was my classmate but can't remember which year we were together. One thing I definitely remember was that we were in "A" classes all the while and we used to play football together.

Anonymous said...

Yup, I remember Paul as the only caucasian back then. As I was the only foreign student from Indonesia. I attended PABS 1974 (primary 4) to 1976 ( PSLE). Mrs.Kang is very nice back the she once give me aride home when i fell sick in school. Mr. Rao is very racist. He hated foreign student. My favourite teacher is Mr. Sim Swee Kun. He was incharge of the PABS Soccer Team. I was in the team in 1976. He brought us to be the School Distric Champion in 1976. Does anyone know the whereabout Mr. Sim Swee Kun.

Steve Chia said...

I was from Parry Avenue Boys School from 1977 to 1980, and then Parry Primary School (1981-1982).

The 3 schools were merged in 1981 when I was in Primary 5. For the 1st time in our life, we had girls in our class -- and the boys sure had adjustment problems.

We were out teasing the girls in and out of class; snatching their things and passing monkeys among the boys in class for a long while -- before we finally settled down to cooperate as a class in Primary 6.

Beautiful memories there. The big field in front is where we play police-catch thieves, ham-tam-bo-lar, zero-points, and soccer etc.

Every morning, I will take a short-cut from my house at Jalan Hwi Yoh through Jalan Lim Bok, pass the eerie Japanese Cemetry, pass the rubber latex factory, then pass the kampongs and enter by the school side gate.

One of my girl classmate from Primary 5-6 is the radio DJ Violet FenYing.


Anonymous said...

It's Parry Avenue Boys' School.
The school motto:"Perserverance Always Bring Success" using the Ancronym: PABS

In 1981, this school merged with the other 2 neighbor schools (Parry Avenue Girls' School & Parry School). The school was renamed Parry Primary School until it merged with Xinghua Primary School in 2007. There were 3 main blocks:
Block A: Former Parry Avenue Boys' school (hosted P3 & 6 classes)
Block B: Former Parry Avenue Girls' School (hosting P1 & 2 classes)
Block C: Former Parry School (hosting P 4 & 5 classes)

Parry Primary is the first in Singapore that started as single session full day school. The first School Principal was Mrs Kang.

Why do I know so much about the school?
I am a former students (P1-3: PABS; P4-6: PPS)

Some teachers whom I could still remember:
1. Mrs Ding (My O1 form teacher)
2. Miss Koh ( My P2 form teacher as well as CL tr)
3. Miss Hah Lee Wah (My P3 form teacher & she's now in North Spring Pri)
4. Mrs Lee Sok (My P4 form teacher)
5. Mr Tan Soi Tee (My P5 form teacher who joined MOE as inspector)
6. Mrs Subra (My P6 form teacher who introduced fountain pen to us)

1. Mrs Yeo- Music teacher
2. Mr Sim Mong Hiang (DM)
3. Mr Yeo - Art teacher who became the P of Teck Ghee Pri
4. Mr Salleh- PE teacher
5. Mrs Tay - VP
6. Mr Francis Joseph - P who took over Mrs Kang
7. Mr Rou (Senior Assistant)
8. Mdm Ng- CL teacher
9. Miss Yeoh - Maths teacher
10. Mr Clifford Tan (Senior Assistant)
11. Mrs Paul - Maths teacher
12. Mrs Chew- My health education teacher

noorazi said...

I was in Parry Pri in the mid 90s. I remembered the 3 blocks, A, B and C. I remembered the Japanese cemetery too. Of course, the long walk to and from school just to take the public bus service 147. My fav, was playing around the big tree near the back gate. Plenty of memories...

Unknown said...

I'm from Mountbatten English school . Anyone from this school ? Year1967 - 1973

Anonymous said...

Anyone knows who to contact Keith Warner?
He's my class mate from 6N1, we used to play soccer together with a bunch of guys from our class. It was the best year of my childhood life

cch5899 at yahoo dot com