SingaporeScene

Golden Jubilee for Margaret Drive Primary School class of ’62

This article is written by Wong Kok Leong, a banking consultant and former student of Margaret Drive Primary School.

Margaret Drive Primary School students in 1962

A Golden Jubilee is usually celebrated 50 years after a wedding or the founding of a nation, or when a person turns 50.

We rejoice when we're invited to a Golden Jubilee wedding because it's so rare for marriages to last that long.

Schoolmates reuniting 50 years after taking their Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE)? That's almost unheard of!

When the idea of organizing a reunion was mooted, I had doubts that we could even round up 10 ex-schoolmates of the now defunct (since the 1980s) Margaret Drive Primary School. After all, most of us had lost contact with each other after leaving the school.

To my surprise, in less than two weeks we were able to get in touch with 30 ex-schoolmates, thanks to the power of social media. The Golden Jubilee dinner is now set for 1 December 2012.

We're going to work hard to round up at least 50 people for this event.

What will the gathering be like? Will this bunch of 62-year-olds even remember each other's names?

Past "enemies" will recall the number of times they beat each other up—all without the knowledge of their teachers or parents.

Even when teachers and parents did find out about this type of behaviour, they were slow in meting out any form of punishment, because squabbles and fights were thought to be part and parcel of an 'all-round' education.

Nations were in the rebuilding process after the devastation of World War 2, and toughness was a necessary ingredient for survival.

Back then, no one seemed stressed over their studies. None of us enrolled in any tuition classes—I don't think such a thing even existed!

We were just neighbourhood, working class children who went to the same school together. Given that schooling wasn't compulsory, it's fortunate that our parents even considered registering us for primary school.

Parents were happy for their children to get into a school—any school. It was unheard of for parents to scheme or jostle to get their children into 'prestigious' schools.

Outside of school, we merrily created our own entertainment. We engaged in spider fighting, glass marble competitions and kite flying contests. We played "Police and Thief", rounders, hantam bola and soccer throughout the year.

Homework and studying—those were things we did 15 minutes before going to bed.

Getting a 10% score on a test wasn't the end of the world, especially because parents weren't required to sign off on anything except the end-of-year report card.

I'm sure this gathering in three weeks' time will bring us back to those good ol' days. Although we didn't have any luxuries to speak of—and the future seemed bleak in many ways—we were much happier compared to the generations that have come after us.

Most of us have since become parents, and some even grandparents.

If I were to pose this question to the group, 'Would you rather be born today than in the 1950s?', I'm sure the unanimous answer would be a resounding "no".

If you went to Margaret Drive Primary School and completed your PSLE in 1962, and would like to attend the Margaret Drive Primary School Golden Jubilee Celebration on 1 December 2012, please contact:

Wong Kok Leong (97806457)

Iris Yeo Siew Choon (81025275)

Benedict Lee Khee Chong (96377076)

OTHER POSTS BY DANIEL WONG
Are too many Singaporeans expecting 'an easy life'?

15 parenting mistakes you don't know you're making

Are Singapore schools producing 'losers'?

Why do Singaporeans complain so much?

The myth of education

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