NB: This document was written towards the end of the 20th century, so the description of NYPS herein may not be accurate of today's NYPS, ergo the page title.
Previously, I came from Nanyang Primary School, a school which offers wholesome classic Chinese education to imbibe young people with wholesome values and morals, and also make them effectively billingual, to better prepare them for their future as the country's future masters. In their own words, the school mission is to produce morally upright pupils, who achieve excellence, develop a well-rounded personality and build a harmonious school. It seems to have succeeded beyond its wildest dreams. Just look at Timothy. (It must be noted that the school inspires a strong sense of loyalty. I have seen people 6 years gone who still return) It is affiliated with the School With The Most Indecent Uniform In Singapore Bar One (not to be confused with School With The Most Indecent Uniform In Singapore Bar None), where watch faces cannot be bigger than a 20 cent coin.
To achieve these noble aims, many fantastically effective measures are implemented.
1. The maximum hair length allowed is short, even for girls (something like not touching the shoulder) This rule is so hated that I have only seen 2 ex Nanyang girls who continue with short hair (at least for the first few months in JC). Worse, no hairbands are allowed even!
2. The School Song is filled with difficult chinese words that confuse
people as to their meaning.
Attempted translation of lyrics:
Verse 1: We move with the times [Ed: RIGHT], with a high voice we sing of harmony [Ed: ???]. Developing the 5 aspects of education [Ed: Spiritual, Intellectual, Physical, Social and Aesthetic] equally, solemnly we go to our doom [Ed: The line may also be translated: Solemnly, we become finished people]
Chorus: Working dilligently together chasing and hurrying glory and light, strenghtening the country's fundamentals and exercising/developing our body and heart.
Verse 2: My Nanyang's peaches and plums [pupils and disciples] become bright (?), my Nanyang gathers glory. At the west shore of the Pacific Ocean, at the east shore of the Indian Ocean.
Chorus: Working dilligently together raising our spirits, showing off our Nation and Society and exercising/developing our body and heart.
3. Girls are not allowed the use of earrings and/or hairbands
4. Almost all of the paper used there is low-quality recycled paper with the shit still on it. Why do I say this? The paper is rough and brown and occasionally, streaks of darker brown can be seen. And the paper tears quite easily if a hard eraser is used on it
5. Meanwhile, the paper used for some workbooks is soft and silky, making it horribly hard to write on with a pencil (and to erase too - you can't earse fully)
6. A stirring Chinese Communist war tune (China's Sports Day music, commissioned by Mao Zedong) is played to signal the end of recess time and spur the students on to greater heights, reviving their flagging spirits
7. The prefects there wear multi-coloured sashes, which indicate their duties. For example, green sashed prefects are Clean and Green prefects who pick up litter in the school compound (to inculcate responsibility in the students).
8. The School Bus Service swindles the pupils by charging them an exorbitant fee, to send the pupils to school and to pick them up, $90 per month in 1995, which is great considering that you have to pay during vacation months
9. Like in other Primary Schools, there is some program to encourage Science, with badges saying I am a Young (insert scientific profession here) awarded to students who perform simplistic experiments only vaguely related to the respective fields of Science. For example, the young zoologist needs to visit the Zoo
10. There is a free Dental Clinic in the school (a rarity in Singapore schools)
11. During music lessons, pupils are taught to play the school's chosen instrument, the Recorder, under a music teacher called Mr Chiew. Many come away traumatised after fingering the recorders for 3 years, and never touch music again.
12. During morning assemblies, a student "conducts" (actually, she [it is invariably a she] only keeps time) the whole school in the singing of the national anthem
13. To save money, paper given to students is actually low quality recycled toilet paper with the shit still on it - itis coarse and brown with streaks of darker brown
14. For some reason, pupils don't keep in touch after graduation. I only communicate with 2-3 ex-classmates (from 6 years of classes no less : 1F '90, 2B '91, 3/7 '92, 4/7 '93, 5/1 '94, 6A '95) and 1 school-bus mate.
15. "English Week" and "Chinese Week" alternate, with the school saying the pledge and doing pre-assembly reading in the respective languages during the appropriate week
15. a) Recalcitrant and wretched students are booked if they bring books to morning reading that are too easy (contributed item)
16. Students are forced to go down to the basketball court to read before Assembly (when school starts), and are punished if they stay in their classrooms, which is meant to inculcate a "love" (how can you love something you're forced to do?) of reading in them, but the dearth of light in the mornings counteracts the beneficial effects (if any) of the Ancient Chinese Eye Exercises (see below)
17. To maximise curriculum time, students are not allowed to go home after concerts celebrating public holidays (unlike in most schools in Singapore) (NB: This policy seems to alter according to the whim of the principal, though never under Mdm Ho)
18. The school bus rights are given exclusively to one company, which fleeces students with exorbitant rates, even charging them for "school bus services" during School Holidays!
19. Some Australian woman was called in to tell the whole school (or level) a story about Mr Smartypants, replete with a chair and some big white sheets of paper with drawings on them (storytelling is not meant to be done to a large audience)
20. Christian and dialect names are suppressed, leaving only the hanyu pinyin equivalent, as they are symbols of the decadent West and community unity must be promoted by destroying the dialects (Speak Mandarin!)
21. School bags are weighed, so students are forced to pack their bags everyday and leave essential materials at home to avoid getting caught
22. The drinks at the drinks stall are pre-filled with a lot of ice, filled with the soft drinks and left there for a few hours. This is done to reduce the sugar intake of the students, put them off soft drinks (due to the possibility of lizard droppings falling into the cups and the high price:amount ratio)
23. Only white canvas shoes are allowed, signifying the purity of Chinese morals, the uniformity that is craved and the simplicity that is desired of all students
24. The pond in the 'eco-garden' alternates every year between being a dead, stagnant mosquito-breeding cesspit, a dank, murky body of water with some emaciated weeds growing, and a dirty pool with some fish swimming in it
25. Muzak - cheesy rip-offed popular music jingles (like 'Edelweiss') - is played to signal the end of each period
26. If you are late, a teacher named Mrs Karen Wong would come up to the classrooms and 'catch' those people who were late, or even those loitering in class. She offered 2 choices of punishment - you either braced yourself against a wall and formed a 'chair' with your body (the half-squat position) and held it there for 3 minutes, or take the alternative punishment, which was to sit in a separate place at assembly - some sort of 'black sheep row' or "latecomers' gathering" thing. (Thanks to Tim for contributing this)
27. A songbook with many communist and community songs is a compulsory purchase for all students
28. Primary 6 students are banned from going to Coronation Plaza, the nearby shopping centre, to help them concentrate on their studies and so bring glory to their school and nation (contributed item)
The previous principal, who was in charge during my tenure there, was overly fond of making long speeches during which students killed time by taking time. The longest speech she made was timed at over 2 hrs. Isn't that marvellous? In despair, a large bloc of the pupils once tried clapping loudly during a speech to hint to her that she should end it, but she didn't get the hint. She wasn't good at either English or Mandarin either. To improve their studying abilities, the students have to do 5 minutes of ancient Chinese eye exercises every morning (Yan3 Bao3 Jian4 Cao1 or rather, Yan3 Mie4 Hai4 Cao1), which are supposed to improve eyesight. With this wondrous exercise, the Ancient Chinese Sages gained wondrous powers. Actually, the exercise seems to worsen eyesight. When we started doing them, my hitherto perfect eyesight deteriorated. Over ~2 years, it became a not-too-bad 125/125. Since I left the school, my eyesight has not become worse. 2 other people I know of have also had the same problem. The Ancient Chinese Gods show their displeasure thus.
Now however, decadence has set in. The evil winds of capitalistic change are spoiling the 75+ year old traditions (since 1917).
* The badges for boys are now... GASP! SEWN ON!!!
* Nametags are now worn by students. Now pedophiles can prey on them with greater ease.
* there is now a School Philosophy and School Vision, in addition to the previously exisiting School Mission, which all say the same thing. Doesn't this sound like new age management?
* The new PE T-Shirts no longer have the "Classic" Chinese Design
* there is now a house system, which encourages competition and discord, with the 4 houses named after the Ancient Chinese Moral Values that are in the school motto, namely Simplicity, Prudence, Diligence and Respectability (the four morals the school aims to inculcate in students) Is this better than Blue, Red, Orange and Green (the House colours corresponding to the four morals)? No comment.
* the old functional canteen tables, which were in somber shades of brown, have been replaced with bright fluorescent coloured ones, which distracts students from the pursuit of knowledge
* the Solar Powered Clock which used to stand in the garden to tell students the time has been... REMOVED! Now students will be LATE for lessons.
* graphs of books borrowed by each level are pasted outside the library to encourage them to read more (and study less)
* the bookstore has been moved to the canteen
* there are now many framed photographs on the walls of the library, for self-glorification, which goes against the Chinese Virtue of Humbleness
* the price of food has skyrocketed, and the Virtue of Thrift cannot be practised
* though the canteen has been serving Pepsico drinks since 1993 or 1994, students still ask for Coke and Sprite
* The hair standards seem to be relaxing (at least for girls). Hair far past the ears is now acceptable! When will they realise that this is not the way to bring up good virtuous Chinese girls (discount what you see in drama serials about Ancient China - that is all fake!). Everyone knows that proper Chinese girls must have bound feet and short hair and be demure.
* With the knocking down of the favoured neighbour - Nanyang Girls High School (aka The School With The Most Indecent Uniform In Singapore Bar One), the smell from the NYGH canteen that kills even Undead no longer wafts through the older wing of NYPS to motivate the students to study hard so they won't be retained and have to smell that awful smell for yet another year. The disappearance of NYGH means that students no longer have to wonder what is behind those locked doors
* Students (mostly girls) now hide in the toilets to escape morning reading (contributed item)
As alumni of the school, we are obliged to help our alma mater in any way, but what can we do against the Winds of Change?
Luckily, there have been some good changes
- more non-Chinese have been hired
- the library looks better
- there is a Muslim food stall for Muslim students (if any)
Though my primary school is a Chinese primary school, my own Chinese wasn't so good, and so I went to EM2. Most people went to EM2 because their English, Maths or Science was bad. For me, it was my Chinese.
Listen to the school song (with a twist) here! (262 KB)
Interesting things people did:
1. Climb up the 'mountain'
2. Create "concoctions" of drinks (often with unsavoury things inside)
3. Make 'caltrops' out of staples (though they still did that in Secondary School)
4. Wrestling on buses (Me and Yucheng with the Wrestling Sisters)
5. Ask people to spell out the short form of minutes letter by letter - mins (aM I aN asS) and replying 'Yes'.
6. Give out presents on their birthdays (shouldn't the birthday boy or girl -get- presents instead of giving them out?)
7. My primary 2 form teacher used to have a plasticine birthday cake which she'd take out on people's birthdays. This struck and still strikes me as extremely odd
8. Sucking the nectar from ixora flowers, which allegedly caused asthma when consumed in large quantities.
Someone's view on this wonderful school:
" no larhh tt place sucked"
Someone 9 years older than me, now a teacher, class of 86:
" Btw, just read your NYPS rant. I was a victim too. Mdm Ho Chin Geok was the P in my time [Ed: She was the first Principal of NYPS, from when it separated from NYGH in 1978, until she retired in 1997 or 1998]. *shudder*. And nothing to add. Sounds like you went through the same NYPS that I did... I have sworn never to give any alumni donations to NYPS. I was so upset with the school in Primary 6 that I refused to put it down in my secondary school choices, which caused my mother some distress... I really don't have pleasant memories of the place."
Someone on Madam Ho Chin Geok: "English not good, Chinese not good, don't know what [language?] she's good at"
"nyps was terrible
i vaguely remember someone telling us we weren't allowed any watch colours other than black & navy blue, & no hair accessories were allowed"
"i didn't noe mr chiew taught for that long at nyps.. but we're all convinced he's gay:p"
" Your NYPS article was really funny (though a bit inaccurate at parts- Mdm Ho retired at the end of 1997, I was there then, I don't recall hairbands being banned, the student conductor served little purpose actually, outdoor morning reading was more relaxing than being cramped up in a classroom and saved electricity too lol, Christian and dialect names weren't suppressed at all, but yes the discipline mistress was very strict and scared me to bits, Red House was really enthusiastic and united as it seemed then, and a major part about being in nyps was being surrounded by sex-crazed/deprived boys who were always punished by horribly strict teachers.)
Mr Chiew was a great choir conductor and improvising pianist, and was really good at getting a huge group of squawking children to keep quiet during practice and smile during the SYF performance."
"i came across your site and found the nyps post very entertaining. I was from nyps too and reading it gave me lots of memories. Perhaps thre's something you missed,
1) the thumb tack trap, whre students would place several of them on the floor and wait for a victim. i remember a few thumbtacks stuck in the sole of my us master school shoe..
2) giant steps, whre students plae catching
3) cleaning of the black board (duty)"
"another thing i remember of nyps: girls weren't allowed to wear metal hair accessories for fear that they would be struck by lightning."
" my friend says that NYPS has left an indelible mark on her life - she still has short hair"
"I really love your site, especially the "Tribute To Nanyang" page.
I must say as an ex-NYPS girl i've got this love-hate relationship with the whole Nanyang brand.
I love it, but I miss the people and the military-like atmosphere. It was really orderly.
I moved on to a Sec school not of the Nanyang brand and it was a huge shocker. You could say I wasn't used to the free spirited-ness (if that's a word. whatever.) of the students there of neighbourhood school stock and I definately wasn't prepared for the quirks, culture shock and freedom the secondary school offered me.
I could do pretty much whatever I want and it was eye-boggling and even, like a shocker, to see students talking the teachers down (you just don't do that in NYPS, it's a great taboo, isn't it?). I really miss the old school, and the sex-crazed boys in it (well I still am friends with a few NYPS students and the thing is - a few of the guys I know went on a huge sex rampage in their first year of secondary school. How do I know? Their very detailed description of their sexual endeavours to their buddy who happens to be female. The thing is, I DIDN'T need to know THAT much. LOL."
"I can't remember much more about my NYPS days, I think I have selective memory loss.
I do have a lot of memories of having the school gate closed in my face because I arrive at school 5 seconds after the morning assembly bell would go off. The school had a policy of locking students outside the gate until after the pledge or something.
And I'm not sure about this, but I remember that NYPS was also the school where you find your classroom moving up a level with each year. (or maybe just coincidentally mine did.) :D
NYPS was also one of the few schools who made (might still be) gymnastics mandatory/ part of PE lessons for lower primary students.
Oh, and you didn't mention the NYPS-brand 'light-weight' schoolbags they introduced in 1996. I heard from a friend (her brother is studying in NYPS now) that they've introduced those ergonomic bags recently too.
NYPS is probably the only primary school that had 2 separate campuses (until the new campus was completed 10 years later!) I still remember spending 1 miserable year in the 2nd campus. And it's quite disturbing how identical the new campus is to NYGH."
"the only people who become Clean and Green prefect are those unlucky soles that were caught by the Discipline Mistress. I remember because yours truly was a clean and green prefect like 5 or 6 times. DAMNIT. "
"Hi! U dun noe me, I dunno u. Nvm abt that though. I read ur tribute to NYPS and I found it EXTREMELY amusing and true. I was from NYPS (2001 to 2006) But now the school more lax abt hair and crap. But they added lots of other nonsense. For example: Morning exercise, a way to make the students wake up. Actually a method of making us tired so we wun make noise (their scheme failed miserably thou). Another one is the banning of ankle socks. Ankle socks are cool!
O thought u wanted to noe, the Ancient Chinese eye exercises STILL exist, *** is STILL teaching at NYPS (He's not only gay, he's a peadophile. He likes talking to this gay guy in my class) and Gymnastics is STILL compulsory for lower sec."
I agree wholeheartedly :) Most ex-Nanyang pupils are traumatised.
i loved nanyang. (Patch, but then he was in GEP)
Apart from him, no one else who schooled there in my era (or indeed, before it) has fond memories of Nanyang
And comments on me:
"no lar u were just this funny guy whole day ask me
wanna play dunno what game one
then u had those pencil case sewned by dunno ur mum or what.. ang ang pows at the corners of your books
dunno u'd write some game.. u know that kind like those mario game book.. they give u a situation u choose either a or b.. then flip to dunno what pge.. that sorta thing... ike rpg.. haha"