Thursday, May 24, 2007
Sigh. What does it mean when a fairly new school building (I believe it was completed around 1990 or so) is demolished so it can be built up bigger and higher? Way back in 1930, Katong Convent started in an old house by the sea, on this very spot. Taking students from kindergarten all the way up to 'O' levels, many generations of school girls passed through its doors, played in its fields and prayed by the little grotto in the corner of the garden. The sea by the fence went when the land was reclaimed and the new Marine Parade town was built. My mother spent her schooldays here. The school expanded, new wings were erected. I spent four years - my secondary school years here. Well do I remember standing beneath those flagpoles and singing the National Anthem and School Song. Well do I also remember the times when I had to run around the field preparing for my 2.4km physical fitness test. As for my classrooms, these were generally placed around the quadrangle in the middle of the school. The few steps leading down to the quadrangle from the classrooms were depressed in the middle because of the many years girls had stood or sat on them. At the beginning of each year, we would walk to the Holy Family church for mass to mark the start of school. But enough of these happy schoolgirl memories.
In 1987 much of the building was torn down. Both the primary and secondary sections moved to a new building meant to house the secondary school. My sister started her primary school there. This lovely new school was then built for the primary school. I think it a beautiful building. Much of the architecture of this front block reflects the old house the school started off in. The details of the architecture reflect the peranakan culture so prevalent in Katong.
Today, our education system is taking new directions. Smaller class sizes, more IT in the classroom. Although the school building is still so new, it is not enough to accomodate these changes. So go it must. And as an Aided School, the community must raise the money to pay our 5% (or is it 10%?) of the building costs. So the school shifted out at the beginning of the year to an old school building in Bedok. Today, I saw that the demolition team has started its work. I can only think what a waste of a beautiful building it is.
Unfortunately, the building of the new school has been affected by the Indonesian ban on sand exports to Singapore. So it will be a while more before the merry sounds of girls laughing and calling to each other float through the air in this little corner of Katong.