Monday, October 26, 2009

yeung ching chinese school @ club street

b & w photos from national archives



my regular walking kaki told me that there was a school located at the end of club street in the 50s. he attended gan eng seng school nearby and that area was his playground. today, we wandered along club street and ang siang hill but found no evidence of the school. looking up the 1969 street directory, i found out that the school was called yeung ching chinese school.

yeung ching chinese school was set up by 8 cantonese businessmen in 1905. its first classes were held at park road. it was also around this time that the different dialect groups in s'pore set up their own schools. the hakkas set up yingxin and khee fatt; the hokkien, toh lam (tao nan); the teochew, tuan mong; and the hainanese, yoke eng.



because of the increasing enrolment, yeung ching went through a few extension and expansion programme until eventually it occupied a 5-storey bulding. in 1985, yeung ching merged with telok ayer and peck seah primary schools. it retained its name. the school celebrated its 60th anniversary in the 5-storey building with 48 classrooms.

it surprised me to learn that the school is still around today, in a different location and under a different name. in 1988, it moved to serangoon avenue 3 and became a government school. yangzheng primary school celebrated its 100 years of existence in 2005.

alumnis of this former cantonese school included the late story teller lee dai soh. victor koo blogged about it here. tang liang hong, who stood as a workers' party candidate in the 1997 general election and who now resides in australia, was also a pupil of this school.




although we could not be sure if any of the existing buildings was the former yeung ching chinese school, we came across a number of other interesting buildings and interesting people at club street. we found two barbers plying their trade in the backlane of club street.








club street got its name from the various chinese clubs sited on this street. some say the street got its name after the chinese weekly entertainment kee lam club, which was sited on this street at the end of ann siang road. the club was formed in 1891 and was the leading straits chinese club for several decades. others believe the street name was derived from the chui lan teng club which existed there for more than 90 years.



club street was predominantly a hokkien area. hokkiens living here came from three villages in the tong ann county in fujian province of china. club street was known for its sandalwood idols.

18 comments:

peter said...

All my uncles and my father attended this school. I think it was somewhere in the Chinatown area in the 1930s. I do remember my late father telling me he attended this Chinese school in the afternoon at the same time when he attended Outram School in the morning. He and my ucnles had to walk from Tras Street to the schools.

peter said...

If I am not wrong, when it was founded through the pre-WW2 era, the Yeung Cheng School was in Cantonment Road area.

yg said...

peter, the school started at park road, near the former majestic theatre.

Victor said...

My 2nd brother who is born in 1946 attended this primary school. During his time all the boys had to shave their heads bald.

peter said...

Had to keep pig-tail during my father's era.

YG - u are right at Park Road opposite the present-day Subordinate Courts. I just checked with my sole surviving uncle who is 1/2 1/2 if you understand what I mean.

Anonymous said...

Peter, you mean half his head is shaven bald. Which half? Left or right, front or back?

Cheerio and bye-bye,
"Sua Ku"

yg said...

peter, your surviving uncle must be in his 80s. some older people can remember what happened in the long past more clearly than what happened recently.

yg said...

victor, you are hokkien or cantonese?

peter said...

Victor is "Chee Keen Yan", "Heng Tai"

Victor said...

I am Chee Kei Yan, Heng Tai, Pang Yow, Guong Dong Yan.

Anonymous said...

Vic, you are a man of many identities (and talents?) How do you cope up?
As for myself, I have only one...anonymous. Haha!

professor said...

Victor = Lo Pan, Por Zi

nah said...

Most of us who were born in the 40’s or earlier, studied in Chinese schools, which you mentioned. I am no exception. Gradually, enrolment in Chinese schools dwindled, as parents felt that their children would be disadvantaged if they didn’t get an education in English. By the 80’s, all schools switched to English as the main language of instruction. With the closure of Nanyang University, it choked off the opportunities for further education for the Chinese-stream students. Chinese schools suffered a natural death. What remained, are these schools with only their Chinese names.

yg said...

nah, i didn't attend a chinese school. my parents, or rather my mother, registered me at dorset school but i ended up at owen school. now, you know why my chinese is 'half past six'.

nah said...

yg, you are only 'half past six' in your Chinese. I am 'half a pail of shit'(pua thang sai) in both.

Allaven said...

that's my primary school. Was there until primary five before they close it down and move to the new area.

5 Stars Day said...

An interesting part of history with photos displaying those old days!

Evelyn Ng said...

Hello, I'm now engegaed in a research project about a Chinese musician, Xian Xinhai, who used to study at Yeung Ching School during the period of early 20s of 20th century. I came across this chinese name 翠蘭崗 which describes the place the campus located on when it was at Club Street. But I can't find the official English name of it. After reading your article, I supppose it maight be "Chui Lan Hill". It would be so good if you know the detail about this. Thank you~