Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Final goodbye to BRS (my primary school)

Oh  no! Did you read this article in yesterday’s Straits Times? The day that I had dreaded has finally arrived. They are going to tear down the buildings that once housed my primary school, the Braddell Rise School. According to the report, a new six-storey Assissi Hospice will be built on the site where a few remaining blocks of BRS still stood. 

It’s quite ironic actually. During the 4 years that I spent in BRS, from 1960 to 1963, I actually saw the Mount Alvernia Hospital being built from scratch next door. After BRS moved out, the current Assissi Hospice was built on what was formerly our sports field. And now, our ‘neighbours’ have completed swallowed up what little remains of our beloved BRS. It would be even more ironic if someday, some of us ex-BRS boys and girls were to come back and spend our ‘sunset’ days in this very place.

Still, I am thankful that they had not done this earlier. When I first blogged about my memories of BRS in November 2005, I had speculated that, with the construction of the nearby Lornie Viaduct, they would surely tear down the old buildings soon. Since then I have had the opportunity to visit this place with two of my former classmates; and many former BRS students have also visited the site and shared their comments in my blog. Some have suggested that I write another book, collating memories of former BRS students. I told them I was too busy and it would be too much work. Perhaps that’s one project that we cannot postpone any more.

PS - Here are links to previous posts related to Braddell Rise School.


jade said...

While it is sad to see our old beloved BRS getting torn down, I am glad that a new hospice for old folks will take its place... and NOT some new condo, commercial building, shopping centre, road, etc..
Our school motto, 'Be Ready to Serve'...and we are still serving society!

Zen said...

Schools without iconic features like brs could not stand the slightest chance against development in land-scarce singapore. That is the reason why St Joseph institution gets a second lease of life whereas the famous Raffles Institution was totally 'wiped' off from the map - both schools situated in the bras basah area. I sincerely hope that either a hall or at least a room in the new hospice is named after brs so that in corner of our minds there is still something worthy to remember.

Lam Chun See said...

I think Zen's idea is excellent. How best to go about it? Write to press? Or perhaps approach ex-BRS old boys/girls who know people in high places?

Zen said...

I personally do not think the press is interested in the existence of this ordinary school. They probably like news which make people sit up and take notice, for example, scandals committed at high places, or news of sensational happenings. These are the spicy stuff that sell their papers. Perhaps you can approach Heritage Board people and sound them out of such an idea. I always believe that things may come and go, but the name will remain.

FL said...

Yes, the press is not interested as the school was not a well-known then. Pardon me for saying that and with due respect to all the former students. But if a Minister or a senior MP happens to bring it out by juz saying a few nice words about the school, the press will then be interested to report it. Then, there will be much hope. It's my opinion. Thanks

TheSounDOne said...

I m glad that my pri school building is still around but it had been modernised into a rather modern looking building for use by an oversa university. From the outside, one cant really tell the building had been around since the 60's. No feeling of nostalgia. So should I be glad?

Unknown said...

I am very thankful to Chun See & company for giving me a chance to visit BRS (our beloved primary school) in 2009. Frankly I think that the building would have to go one day. I really think the idea of Zen is super but how to go about it? Hope Chun See will find a way.

Anonymous said...


My name is Shirley Tan. I was a pupil at the school until it closed in 1985. I am saddened to hear that it is being torn down. Singapore has no feelings for those with memories. I suppose this is progress? Well, such is life, Singapore is just being Singapore - old buildings torn down to be made way for the new, no soul. Too bad.

I had many happy memories of BRS. Most pupils were from nearby Kampongs and Toa Payoh. Hey, any reunions?

Shirley Tan