This photo taken in 1966 shows me and my brother, outside our home in Jalan Wijaya, waiting to go to school. The writing on the back of the photo says that it's 7.30 am. I certainly look more awake in this photo than I do today at 7.30am!
We went to the nearby school at Kebunteh which couldn't have been too far away from our house. There was a bus stop just down the road and we used to get the school bus in every morning. When we first started, they tied parcel labels to us, like evacuees in the Second World War, which carried details such as our names and address. They did manage to lose us a few times, I remember! I remember sitting on the bus looking out of the window and watching the large sun rising. It always seemed bigger and more orange over there.
We were always quite tidy for going to school and all of the Navy kids used to dress like this. I can see my brother has his RN Navy School badge on - I've still got mine. He also seems to have a prefect badge or something similar. Our cases, and all the kids had them, probably just contained our lunch, an exercise book and some pencils. Mum would always put a Cadbury's chocolate bar in there which I would share with the chubby boy in the class. One day, he decided he wanted it all and snatched it and ran off with it. I ran after him but he ate it before I could catch him! I wonder if he remembers that?
Lessons were only until 1pm because of the heat so we would have the whole afternoon to do what we wanted. I think dad would come home early somedays and we'd go across to Singapore or somewhere nearer like Jason's Bay, Johore Zoo or the Sultan's Gardens.
Everyone who went to school in Singapore and Malaya will remember the bottles of milk that they gave us in the morning. Where as you would only get ordinary milk in England, you would get a choice of chocolate, strawberry or plain at the Naval School! I always had chocolate. Some kids just had the ordinary milk which I never understood.
My memories of being at school are fading. I remember an incident where a girl ate poison berries off one of the bushes near the school, I think she was alright though. I also remember the Christmas Nativity plays, singing hymns in the main hall and various classes. We had a lovely teacher who I suppose was in the Navy, it's a pity that I can't remember her name. I remember the first book we were given to read which was called 'The Story of the Little Black Sambo' which is a title which would be frowned upon today but strangely the book is reprinted regularly and is still on sale today.
The infant and junior parts of the school were seperated at the back by a large fence and I would go and talk to Alan there sometimes during our breaks.
Parts of the school are still there though they're run down and look disused. There used to just be just barren land around about the school but now there's tall skyscrapers and modern shopping centres. It's probably hard for the locals to imagine what it once look liked.