Friday, August 24, 2007

Tiong Bahru Primary School

My thoughts are on my primary school tonight. I guess it has got something to do with the mini gathering my primary school friends has organised for this weekend. Yes! After more than 2 decades, some of us are still in touch!

Here's the history of how my primary school came about and disappear and then re-appear somewhere up north.

Class Photo taken while I was in Primary 4
The photo may be fading but I hope the memories stays

Founded in 1930, Quan Min Primary was the first Chinese School in Tiong Bahru.

Located at 337, Tiong Bahru Road, it had some 30 pupils in five classes in 1949. Headed by founder Liu Jinming, the school engaged six teachers. The school’s board of directors was headed by Liu Murong. The other school in the adjacent Bukit Ho Swee was Jie Gu School, which was founded by Li Qinghu in 1936. After a fire in 1961 which gutted many houses in the areas, Quan Min and Jie Gu was merged to become
Jiemin School.

Tiong Bahru Primary School (Under Construction)
Collection of Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts,
Courtesy of National Archives of Singapore

Now : A Power Station has replaced Tiong Bahru Primary School

Tiong Bahru Primary School (Assembly)
Collection of Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts,
Courtesy of National Archives of Singapore

Some things never change, children still do not pay attention
Collection of Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts,
Courtesy of National Archives of Singapore

My favourite place, The Tuck Shop
Collection of Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts,
Courtesy of National Archives of Singapore

Jiemin School was subsequently renamed Tiong Bahru Primary. Tiong Bahru Primary School closed down in 1990 following a steady decline in its enrolment. The Silat primary school in Jalan Bukit Merah also suffered the same fate. At present, the only surviving primary school in Tiong Bahru is Zhangde School. (Initally known as Chiang Teck School)

Note : (Jiemin Primary School was resurrected in 1985 and is now located in the Yishun area)

Looking at the 1st photo, I now realised that I had been deceived by the adults back then. I was told that my school was previously a morgue. I kinda believe that because our school was quite close to the Singapore General Hospital. While catching tadpoles in a drain behind my school one afternoon, an auntie told my friends and I that the water we were fishing in were water used for washing the dead bodies in a nearby morgue. That was so effective in getting us out of the drain immediately.

Memories are made of these


Anonymous said...

WOW!!!! All these memories!!
I'm from Tiong Bahru Primary School!!! Still remember the green report book!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I miss the school... So much has change around the area... This blog really bring me many memories...

Unknown said...

Good that you set up this blog site. Found it when I was googling for my primary school, Tiong Bahru Primary. Was there 1958-1963. Stayed in Boon Tiong Road area till 1974. Still revisit Tiong Bahru estate every now and then to eat at hawker centre and take in the nostalgic feeling.

Viewer's thoughts said...

Ming Song here :

I remember the building when I was there between 1972 to 1977. Also Miss Ng, the principal and Mr Lim, the form teacher in P6. Great Job

Anonymous said...

Yep, still remember the greenish uniform and the tuckshop. Does anyone still remember the fish ball(10cent for 2pcs) and lasak store(50cents). The monkey bar which located opposite principal office(2nd floor)...those were our childhood days.....

Anonymous said...

Laksa yes, but at my time (1958-63) it was only 10 cents per bowl. The monkey swing then, was at one corner near the 'jaga' Hassan's house, just next to the fence surrounding the school.

Anonymous said...

Hi All, same here, tried goggle TBPS and came accross this blog, great job! My time is during 1969 to 1997. I remember we have a Chinese teacher, tall guy, Mr. Wang (pardon my memories), he is fierce and use a ruler and hold it at its tip and when he hit hard, everyone scream. Hassan's daughter happens to be my classmate too. Oh, Mrs Dimmy (pardon my spelling) English form teacher, Ms Yip (P1 and P2 form teacher), what a long way back.

SGalf said...

Hi WK & SH,

Yes I remember Mr Wang. I think he lived in the Holland Village area.

When I was there, he was in charge of the PA system during the flag raising in the morning.

I still see Ms Ik at the Tiong Bahru Market at times.

By the way, how come you were in the school from 1969 till 1997?

That is a good 28 yrs in the school.

I kinda missed the laksa.

And thanks for reminding me about that monkey bar. I have clean forgotten about that until I read your comments.

When I was there, I think the 'jaga' had a pet bird (mynah) that respond to their whistle.

When they whistle, the mynah will fly and land on his palm or shoulder.

One day, a classmate of mine caught the bird and put it at our science exhibit corner. You can imagine how furious the jaga was when he march into the classroom to reclaim his feather pride. LOL.

SGalf said...

By the way, you might have some long lost friends hiding in facebook.

Take time to check out this Tiong Bahru Primary School group at

Viewer's thoughts said...

Yes , Mrs Dimmy - the woman who appeared to be very strict with everything. She was the senior assistant to the Principal (Ms Ng).

Ming Song

Anonymous said...

Thanks for refreshing my fading old memories. I was there from 1964-1969. Still remember the laksa at the tuckshop which cost ten cents per bowl and the lady who always give me extra "tua pok". Hassan was a very kind hearted jaga who always invited me to his house. My form teacher was Mr Tan in Pri 6B. Only remembered a girl classmate by the name of Koh Bee Hoon and another one whose hands and face was burned by a keroseone stove. Hope to meet up with some of the long lost friends again in the near future.

Siew Yean

yue meng said...

I was there from 1969 to 1976.My from teacher was Mrs Glady wong. She is fierce looking but very kind hearted. I remember when our PSLE exam is near, she scarfice all her weekend to coach us so that everyone can pass. I dont know where is she now but I really regret of not saying thank you for helping me to pass my PSLE

Anonymous said...

Does anyone here knows a teacher Mrs Gladys Wong??

moook said...

thanks for the post! i really miss the days..was there from from 82-88. seriously didnt know that it was founded so long ago. i vaguely remember taking a short-cut from bt merah/kimtian via a slope next to bobotan gardens. i also remember a large field behind the school with an eerie looking red bricked hut...and all the old terraced housings for SGH staff (all of which are gone when they built AYE i think)

foongsl said...

hi past n present lol. indeed v surprised to b able to find a link to tbps n i'm glad. i was there from 1966-71. yes i rembr mrs g wong. she was my form teachr when i was in p4. still rmbr she's got a big mole (i think on her chin?) most of the time wearing a cheongsam. nice lady lol. and mr wang - always a cane in hand to cane those who failed his 'tingxie' lol but i like him. must be qte old by now. he was my p6 ch tchr. there's also mr ng my p3 ch tchr. once he slapped a boy sitting next to me who did not do his work. the boy's mother came to the sch the next morning to complain to ms ng the principal. she said mr ng's slap left a palm print on her son's face. oh dear but i dont kno what happened in the end. too young to figure it out at that time. btw i'm also looking for a long lost classmate tan siew eng. we were staying in opp blks at that time separated by a canal. i stayed in kim pong rd while she in kim tian rd. she came to my wedding donkey yrs ago and we lost contact after i moved to jurong. so dear siew eng, if u happen to b reading this, i hope u will get in touch w/me via my email add: (remember me? i'm soon leng). so many fond memories of tbps. if any other of my sch/classmates can recall who i am, i wish to invite them to contact me via my email as well.

Unknown said...

Regarding slapping,beating etc of students--during those days it was common in TBPS (and other schools also I think). My Chinese lessons were filled with anxiety as the teacher punished naughty students by either asking them to slap each other hard or, using his thumb and pointing finger as a fork, lifts them off the ground for some seconds. There was also a teacher who asked the naughty boys to kiss the naughty girls.

Beloved said...

Anyone knows Bukit Merah North Primary?

Unknown said...

Thanks for this page. My time was 81-86. The pictures bring back nostalgia and even now I hv formed images of different parts of the school in my head and just smiling to myself. I remembered playing zero point behind the tuckshop before sch started, and yes the 20cent noodles, fishball stall and the 20-30 cent laksa which was qte gd. Then there was the eery girls toilet on the upper story for some reason rumors had it never to use the last cubicle... And I also can't forget the huge field ( at least in those days) adjacent to the school with some dilapidated house n abandoned basketball court. So too the row of red houses behind the sch where we heard glue sniffers hid out.... Haha. Loved those days... When I was innocent, curious and clueless....:)

Jeffrey G said...

Brings back many wonderful memories of Tiong Bahru Primary School and its estate. Life was so simple then. I remembered the tuckshop where the middle store sold the fishball noodles, follow by that Laksa(Curry noodle), the tidbits, drinks and Ice-cream(bread) store. Yes, that field is College Field (part of SGH) across from the school(now CTE).

Teachers were "good", I got punished and stand outside the classroom couple of times and hit on the knuckles with wooden ruler by the teachers. Well at least discipline works. Student from 1974-1979.

Jefferson said...

Wang Xiaoqiang(1983-1985), transferred over from another primary school during P3, 1/2 way through due to rumor that school would be demolished.

Things & happenings that I can still recall of the school:
- Huge college field where all the track & field's being held with a court at the far right hand corner, always flooded with puddles after heavy rain, and all the toads will start their concert;
- Green House, Yellow House, was ther a Red & Blue House too, form by other session?
- Basket ball court right smack in the centre of the school where the assemblies are held;
- AVA Room;
- All the TinTiin comics in the library next to principal office;
- Having to be given periodic injections by MOE nurses in one of the adjacent classrooms, and got to strip stark naked for them to inspect our bodies;
- The belt of garden, where there stands a Pong pong tree, & a Frangipani tree, that never stops shedding it's flowers. Area cleaning sweep until Siao;
- Flying exercise books being thrown out of the window on to the garden grass patch, for not following instructions like leaving spacing or drawing lines properly, etc;
- Tiong Bahru CC auditorium when the school needs a huge space to get all pupils from both session together for events such as educational movies, story telling competition;
- Playing marbles on the dusty/sandy small playground beside and behind the tuckshop;
- The makeshift shop opp the school main entrance, where an old lady peddles her "wares", like Sng Pao(ice pack) & Chilli Satay sticks of squids or smethg very chewy, some Tikam Tikam, for kids like us;
- lastly, always kena MARKED by Chinese teacher to read out extracts of the Chinese Text book, and I end up stuck most of the time, and being made to stand throughout the class due to my poor proficiency of the language. Did the punishment help me any single bit to improve? Guess not, up till now i cannot even handle a simple chinese newspaper article nor a story book when my boy ask me to read him one, but I try with my wife helping me when I'm stuck. Those punishments having to stand throughout didn't help me a single bit, infact it created a huge fear, building a resistance to engage the subjectleaves effectively leaving a permanent scar on me.....

Oh well, those were the days....

Give Up said...

I am there in 1969 to 1974, good old memories, thank you so much. My last visit to the site was more than 14 yrs ago when I visited Singapore, to my surprise, it wasnt a school but a power station. The only chinese teacher I can recall is Miss Tan, taught me in chinese when I was Primary 5. She was residing at Kim Tian Place. corner 2nd floor but lost contact with her when she moved out from her house. The next teacher that I can recall, cant remember her name, she is my music teacher, staying opposite the school, she is big in size.
My name is Peng Koon, if any of my classmate happen to be here, would like to keep in contact. I am currently residing in Canada. I can be contacted via e-mail
Hope to get intouch with some long lost friends.

Unknown said...

I was in TBPS 1972-1977 under Primary 6A. gald to know that so many students have fond memories of TBPS, tuckshop, noodle stall, principal whose favourite outfit is cheongsam, teachers, College Field (which is currently CTE), Music room, Jaga Hassan and my beloved Auntie (my school van driver).

In fact, we just had a gathering few weeks ago and 12 of us turned up.

Would love to keep in touch with more ex classmates which we lost touch(Class 6A and 6B)for our next gathering which someone reminded us that its our 35th anniversary since we graduated.

My email is

Unknown said...

Thanks Alfred for sharing this blog with me. I never know it existed.

Like the rest, I read the comments with great interest. Very nostalgic.

I also remember the noodle and laksa stall where the auntie kept her noodles in the drawer. It was 20 cents then. Also, clean forgotten about the jagar Hassan until I read about him. I remember the College Field, basketball court, the Music Room where Mrs Tang (Music Teacher) taught us singing when she played the piano. I miss Mrs Gladys Wong too. She taught me Science.

But, I have not found anyone from my year (1968 to 1973)!!! Should anyone be from my year, please do keep in touch. My email:

Unknown said...

Hi, I was in Tiong Bahru Primary from 1976 to 1981. I remembered that the field was filled with red sand and we used to play police and thief then. The game was pretty rough and I usually ended up with brown shirt with a few missing buttons and brown shoe. My form teacher was pretty upset with my personal hygiene and asked to meet my parent. My father is a stall holder and he sell raw "long tou fu" at the wet market. He turned up at noon to meet my form teacher...without changing and shower. What a sight when she saw father and son together....both smelled and look so dirty. My teacher was speechless. My father did not scold me that day....he told my mum and they had a good laugh. Those were the days when our parents worked hard and no time to watch the kids........ Passing our exams without red marks was already an achievement in itself. Miss the good times at Tiong Bahru Primary. Choon Peng
Class 1C, 2C, 3A, 4A, 5A & 6A