Friday, 16 December 2016

The Westlands boys

When one mentions the Westlands boys, it can only mean the boys that passed through Westlands Primary School and NOT Westlands Secondary School. The Westlands Primary School was originally called Westlands School and in my book, Let the Aisles Proclaim, I had written in the notes:
The Straits Times of 30th September 1930 had reported that “In Penang a new English boys’ school at Perak Road, the Francis Light School, accommodating 500 boys was opened in January.” The earliest reference to Westlands School was in the 31st July 1934 edition of The Straits Times when Mohamed Rouse spoke in the Legislative Council of “the new Westlands School in Penang is to be opened shortly.” On 25th May 1937, the same newspaper wrote of “the Westlands School Boy Scout Troop (Third Penang) repeated their 1934 victory in a competition for junior troops for the Victoria Shield on the Empire Day sports and rally.” The three feeder schools – Hutchings School, Francis Light School and Westlands School – in turn received their intake of boys from the Wellesley Primary School. The New Straits Times of 30th May 1990 quoted a former Wellesley Primary School teacher as saying that the school started in 1929, but the school was known earlier as the Hillview Government School (Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser, 9th December 1930). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser of 7th October 1924 had reported that “In Penang the temporary Hillview School has been opened.”  The Straits Times of 8th December 1928 referred to “the Free School, Hutchings School and Hillview School at the present time corresponded to the upper, middle and preparatory schools of an English public school.”
When we had our pre- and post-bicentenary reunions of the Sesqui boys in Penang, we made it a point to gather round for a group picture only those old school mates who were also from Westlands School from 1960 to 1965. Our Headmaster then was K Balram and our school hall was named Cheeseman Hall. Sadly, the Westlands School in Victoria Green Road was converted into the Westlands Sports Training Centre several decades ago. Here are the two pictures.

This one was photographed at the pre-bicentenary reunion on 20 October 2016. The ones in the picture are Ling Heong, Chye Chye, Teik Wah, myself, Oon Hup, Seng Oo, Kar Keat and Kah Kheng.

This picture was taken at the school. More people turned up and consequently, more old Westlands School friends surfaced. From left, Kah Kheng, Chye Chye, Sugumaran, Siang Jin, Oon Hup, Ewe Leong, Subramaniam, Hean Guan and Teik Kooi. From right, Ling Heong, myself, Seng Oo, Teik Wah, Mokzani and Kumaraveloo. I can't recall the other two in the photograph.

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