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School History

 

Our humble beginnings . . . . .

Our humble beginnings . . . . .
A man once had a vision of a better life for the children living around the Upper Serangoon area and the one way he knew best was through education.   Chua Cheok San started a primary school with nothing more than a quest in the 1930s and today Xinghua is second home to over a thousand children. Here is the story of Xinghua and some of the students who have passed through the gates and moved on to greater dreams.

 

1930s

In 1930 Chua Cheok San founded Sing Hua Public School at Lim Tua Tow Road in Upper Serangoon. He had no financial resources but he had a dream to give the children in the village a better life through education.

The very first school building was a wood-and-thatch building he rented from the Four Seas Communications Bank (acquired by OCBC in 1972) for a mere $2.

During the first 50 years, the school moved at least four times along Lim Tua Tow Road which was once famous for its wet market and pre-war shop houses. Every move was due to an increase in enrolment.

In 1932 the school was officially registered and the first Board of Directors was then appointed, giving more direction to the school. 

 

1940s

World War II broke out in Singapore in 1942 and Sing Hua School stopped operating. All school records and docments were lost and some unfortunate members of the school died in the hands of the invaders.

After the war, Sing Hua School suffered a bigger setback when it was converted from an army camp to a factory that produced cheap bars of soap.

Chua Cheok San would not give up without a fight. He went around the village to get financial support from shopkeepers, hawkers and businessmen. After much effort he managed to re-open the school in 1946 with four classrooms and five teachers. A very large number of children returned to the school and Sing Hua’s Board of Directors saw the urgent need for a bigger school.

Well-wishers, supporters and sponsors were again very generous with their donations in helping the school and Sing Hua was able to expand.

In 1949, Founder Chua Cheok San passed away. His son, Chua Tiah Seng continued in his footsteps.

 

1950s and 1960s

In the little kampong school along Lim Tua Tow Road, Chua Tiah Seng created a family atmosphere. He gave the students a sense of belonging by composing a school song. He even moved the piano outdoors so that he could teach the entire school to sing. This song captures the spirit of the school emphasising the school motto of sincerity, diligence, love and courage.

Sing Hua School was full of activities. During the day, classes were conducted and in the evenings, students returned to the brightly-lit school grounds to play basketball with the teachers and principal. As Sing Hua was quite far from town, there were very few recreational activities and sports provided a healthy pastime for the young.

In 1957, Sing Hua became a government-aided school. With government grant, Principal Chua was able to make improvements to the school.

With Singapore becoming an independent nation, Sing Hua conducted its first national-standard exams, the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE).

 

1970s

On 17 January 1971, Mr LP Rodrigo, Member of Parliament for Serangoon Gardens and Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs, laid the foundation stone for a new school building in Lim Tua Tow Road.

The school became an integrated institution with Chinese and English as its medium of instruction in 1973. That year, there were about 500 pupils, and all Primary 3 pupils were streamed into Normal, Extended and Monolingual classes.

In 1976, Mr Chua Tiah Seng retired after 27 years of dedicated service and Mdm Ching Siew Chin became the next principal.

 

1980s

In 1985, several changes were instituted when the school moved to Hougang Ave 1. Its name Sing Hua was changed to its hanyu pinyin version,  Xinghua. The old all-white uniform was replaced with a new design.

English became the first language while Chinese, Malay and Tamil were offered as Second Languages. The school song originally written in Chinese, was replaced by an English version.

Throughout the 1980s, the pupil population increased steadily. In 1989, the total enrolment reached 1,500 and the school began functioning in two sessions.

 

                                                                                                         1990s

In 1991, pupils were streamed into  EM1,  EM2  or  EM3 based on their performance in their Primary 4 Examination. More co-cirricular activities were also introduced to provide a well-balanced education.

Throughout the 1990s, the performing arts groups did the school proud. Serveral awards were won at inter-school and national competitions. The Chinese Dance group won the Distinction Award at the 1992 Singapore Youth Festival Central Judging while the Chinese Orchestra received a Gold Award during the 1996 Singapore Youth Festival.

Towards the end of the 1990s, character development was seen as an important area for pupil development. The Community Involvment Programme was introduced and pupils regularly visited old folks’ homes to bring cheer to the elderly.

 

                                                                                                         2000s

At the end of 1990s, Xinghua was earmarked by the Ministry for rebuilding and improvement to spur it onto its next phase of development. In 2000, the school relocated to a holding school in Parry Estate while it underwent the Programme for Rebuilding and Improving Existing Schools (PRIME). After two years, the school moved to its new campus. It was officially declared open by Mdm Cynthia Phua, Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC, on 11 March 2005.

 

In 2001, the school introduced the robotics programme through the formation of the Robotics Club. The programme aims to stimulate the pupils’ imagination and creativity, as well as expose them to various competitions at local and international arenas. The club started with a group of Primary 5 pupils and as the pupils continued to excel, the club expanded to include pupils from the other levels. Till today, pupils from Xinghua continue to do the school proud by their various achievements in this area.

 

                                                              Merger with Charlton Primary and Parry Primary

In 2003, Xinghua merged with Charlton School and Ms Lim Poh Suan took over the helm as Principal until 2006. In 2002, Xinghua’s new premises were officially completed and the school returned to its original site at Hougang Ave 1.

Learning beyond the classroom became the focus of Xinghua with experiential learning introduced to engage pupils through real life experiences. Learning journeys and hands-on activities. Twinning programmes with schools in other countries were embarked on to provide opportunities for pupils and teachers to interact and learn from their counterparts. These collaborations not only allowed them to understand and appreciate cultural diversity, they also prepared the pupils for a global future.

In 2007, Xinghua entered a new phase of development. The staff and pupils of Parry Primary School were welcomed into the Xinghua family, and Mrs Loh Meng Har took over as the new principal.

 

                                                                                                         2010s

Throughout its history, Xinghua braved several difficult periods and emerged stronger each time. In fact, the spirit of Xinghua is best described in this translated verse of the old school song:
   
                                          “  Embrace the spirit of challenge,
                                             Nurture the passion for learning.
                                             We’ve good teachers to guide us,
                                             We’ve good friends to support us
                                             Onwards we will strive! ”


Today, Xinghua stands as an educational cornerstone in Hougang. Not only does the school offer a holistic education, it also provides a good foundation for its pupils to take on greater challenges in the future. As the future beckons, it continues to strive ahead with confidence to propel its tradition of good academic results and co-curricular programme to the next level.