Home > Memories > 1981 to 1990

1981 to 1990

Chen Hwey Fang (Chen Huifang)
Class of 1990
Human Resource Officer


When I first stepped into the school in 1987, I was appalled by its facilities (or lack thereof). However I soon discovered that it was not the vastness of the compound or latest facilities that made a school. 

Our fashion-masterpiece uniform, the school gymnasium, the air-conditioned classrooms, teachers, friends and flood waters that came up to my knees are amongst some of my fondest memories. (My classmate who lived at Kingsmead Road claimed that she had to row to school in a rubber dinghy during a flood in 1988). I had a wonderful time! Happy 165th Birthday, St. Margaret's!

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Virginia Goh
Class of 1989

Director; University Lecturer and Author

I attended the school for ten years receiving the best education for my primary to secondary years. I have also gained many good and lifelong friends. It is a privilege to be associated with the school which is the oldest and one of the best girls' schools in Singapore.

My advice to the next generation of St. Margaret’s students; enjoy your school life, please continue the good traditions of our school and strive for the best. 

God bless.
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Karen Leong Wei-Li
Class of 1988

Commercial Properties Officer

Mrs George, my Principal, instilled in me a grounded sense of principle and integrity. Mrs Joseph, my favorite Physics teacher, ignited in me a strong and inspiring spirit of eagerness to learn. Mrs Theng, my Chemistry teacher-cum-disciplinary mistress, taught me to mind my manners and Mrs Chong, my Chinese language teacher kept me keen on the subject.

These were the special people in my life who had created the ambience of pure passionate educational pursuit where my classmates and I had bonded. 

The four school years in St. Margaret's had indeed been the best years of my school life.

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Tay You Leng (Zheng Youling)
Class of 1988

Pharmacist

It has been 19 years since I graduated from St. Margaret's Secondary School. 

Thinking back, I am really grateful to the teachers, my friends and classmates who helped to shape me to who I am today - from laying the critical foundation of learning the concepts of math, the intricacies of science, the wonders of geography, the beauty of languages to the sharing of smart learning methods, working towards the common goal of clearing our 'O's with flying colours, and, in the process, leaving behind a legacy of wonderful memories. 

Happy 165th anniversary alma mater! 

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Yolanda Drake
Class of 1985

Senior Contracts Manager

Looking at the yellowed photograph in the yearbook in my study in Virginia where I now live, my six-year-old son, Hoddy, pointed to a girl wearing polka-dots and asked, "Mummy, is that you?"

My mind races back to the '70s and '80s. Memories come flooding back of my 10 years in St. Margaret's - the old tuckshop and basketball courts, the gossip and the laughter, Most of all, I cannot forget my best friends with whom I found comfort in my difficult moments and the teachers who inspired me. 

The years in St. Margaret's have shaped my life through the principles imparted by my teachers.

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Cecilia Peralta-Lee
Class of 1985
Curriculum Planner


St. Margaret's is the place where I learned to be courageous. The teachers encouraged us to stretch beyond our limits in our studies and in the various co-curricular activities. They constantly challenged us to study smarter, to play harder and to dream bigger.

Today, I am a mother of five! My three daughters have followed my footsteps of being in St. Margaret's. Through interacting with their teachers and friends, my daughters are transformed into women with integrity, humility and tenacity. I know that they will grow up to be confident, creative and caring young ladies. 

To God Be the Glory!
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Yeo Shu Ling
Class of 1984


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The above class photograph was taken in 1984 when I was in Secondary 4. Behind us was the canteen and we were facing the ‘quadrangle’.   


Many of us who studied in the old building would fondly remember the quadrangle. It was a rectangular plot of land in the middle of the school compound.  This was where students from the uniformed groups would practise their drills. Surprisingly, as a student, we hardly had any morning or afternoon assemblies in the quadrangle (in those days, schools operated in 2 sessions). Morning and afternoon assemblies were held in the school hall, which is our present St. John’s Chapel. We had to bring our hymnals and Gideon bibles for assembly every day. Hence in those days, it was common to see a pile of hymnals and bibles neatly tucked away in a corner of every classroom.    


Every time I speak to my ex-classmates or schoolmates, many of us would remember fondly the hymn-singing days. Do not get me wrong, I do not want to bring back the singing of hymns because I feel that our present ‘Singspiration’ is good enough. 


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About 4 years ago, the class of 1984 had a reunion in school. By the way, there are 4 people in the first photograph who are also in the second. Not sure if you will be able to match them. 


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The old building only had 2 levels.  The above photograph was taken when I was already a teacher. The main focus in this photograph is not how young I looked, but the place where the picture was taken. We were outside the “Male Staffroom”! Yes, there was such a room! It was already there when I was still a student. In the past, all girls’ schools did not have many male teachers. Hence, the few we had were housed on the second level, and we called that place the ‘Male Staffroom’.  


Recently, I have students who asked me if I wore the pinafore uniform when I was a student. Excuse me, I am not that old! Anyway, my teachers in St. Margaret’s have become my colleagues and my students have also become my colleagues! 


Sabiha Shiraz

Class of 1984
Registrar

Life's best treasures, as some say, are the fond memories of one's past — of my days in St. Margaret's my wonderful class of Sec 3/2 and 4/2 and the fun and laughter that carried us through those years; Ms Chan, Ms Noraini and Mrs (Big) Pillai, my teachers who left a lasting impression; Home Economics classes where I discovered that I could survive on my cooking; and the most delicious chicken wings ever from the Malay canteen stall! 

Thanks St, Margaret's, for some of the best years of my life.

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Rachel Lim Cher Loon

Class of 1984
Senior Executive, Human Resource

A congregations of girls in green polka dots at the school hall, tuck shop and quadrangle; Vigilant prefects inspecting our attire and hair length during assembly; simulating science lab experiments; interesting baking and sewing lessons; the tiring annual 2.4km run; fun and games on the school sports field; playful moments when we sprung April Fool's tricks on our teachers; serious times when we were drilled for our 'O' level exams; and of course, inspiring teachers who shared meaningful experiences with us.

These are my memories of my early teen years at SMSS - I am indeed grateful for its nurturing environment.

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Corinne M Goh

Class of 1983
Chartered Financial Consultant

The Best Years
The years at St. Margaret's saw us morphed
From awkward children, young ladies brought forth
Geeks, tom-boys, wall flowers, wild children and all
Friendships were forged; with many special moments to recall.
Cheeky girls flip skirts as a common prank
Laughing at others' embarrassment, as they ran
So rabbits, flowers or Astro-boy prints thus exposed
Green shorts and bloomers were therefore imposed,
We played hard, sang loud, talked louder, sat with legs akimbo
We were fun-loving and active and never in limbo
We argued with the prefects; about the teachers we gossiped
There was excitement everywhere, even in the hall, now the chapel of worship.
Those good ol' days; those budding teenage years
We had our challenges and faced many fears

But we were blessed with wonderful teachers and friends.

To all who have touched our lives, a heartfelt THANKS!

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Julie Tok

Class of 1983
Lawyer

I chose to study in SMSS because I equated a mission school with being a "good school". In my four years I learnt that it was not just a good school, but one that would leave an indelible mark in my life. A well-rounded education with caring friends and teachers, I enjoyed a whole host of learning experiences from achieving academic excellence to harnessing the good values and principles of a lady. My vision had always been that if I were blessed with a daughter, then SMPS would be the choice for her and yes, I have been so blessed!!

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Lian Geok Ho
Class of 1981


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My lips curled into a smile when I saw the image. Kudos to the observant photographer with a good sense of humour. Maybe I should go munch on a Krispy Kreme doughnut after this. 

Even after I was offered a place in St Margaret’s, I had ABSOLUTELY no idea what the school uniform looked like. I opted for SMSS only because my best friend in primary school did so. Never did I imagine that the uniform would be like that.  

Donning the uniform for the first time, I felt good. It was unique. This school uniform has a “tie” that one need not tie; a badge that is pinned near the tip of the tie, not on one side of the chest; a “blouse” that is longer than the “skirt” to show off the figure (if there is one) and it is covered with green dots on a white background to match the all-green skirt. Really, is there another school in Singapore where its students/pupils wear an avant-garde uniform that defies the popular conception of what a school uniform should look like? And I would like to think that the colour was a statement of eco-friendliness long before “green” became a buzzword. Our pioneers had foresight. And fashion sense. 

The badge was the bane of my school life for the first two years; the white band of the crest was always scraped off by my desk whenever I got up from my chair suddenly. Buying a badge again and again ate into my weekly allowance (I did not dare ask Mummy for more money) until enough was enough. One new badge meant one less chicken wing during recess time. I decided to paint the band in with white poster paint. My first attempt was forgettable but I did a marvellous job over time. Which makes me wonder why I never did well in Mrs Wee’s art class….    

Wearing the uniform was made even sweeter as, except for the first two pieces, subsequent ones were made by Mummy with help from her trusty Singer sewing machine. Sad was I when the polka dots faded into light green towards the end of the year but happy was I when my new uniforms for another year had dark green dots again. What tickles me up to this day is that my Hokkien-speaking Mum still refers to my secondary school as that “tzeh diam eh orh dng” (“green dot school”). 

That white-and-green school uniform with green tie and polka dots still catches my attention every time I spot it. It has a name tag now and yes, the metal badge has been replaced with an embroidered version. What never fails to delight me is the sight of the little ones from SMPS wearing it. SO…. CUTE….! 

I never knew our school uniform could bring back memories for me. Perhaps it did because that is probably the only tangible thing that has not changed much since I left the gate of St Margaret’s Secondary School 36 years ago.  

Back then, I liked the uniform. Right now, I still love it.

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My last four SMSS badges – the “artwork” got better and better! 

I was stunned when Miss S.K. Low said that I would be meeting the Principal about my transfer from Sec 3/4 (Technical) to Sec 4/2 (Arts). I had no inkling that she had raised the subject with her. But I suppose Miss Low deemed it necessary when the colour of the page in my report book almost matched the Red Sea.  

Terrified, I stood outside the Principal’s Office. My legs turned to jelly when I walked in to see not only the Principal, but also the Vice-Principal. Judgement Day was short and not sweet. All Mrs George said was: “You either repeat 3/4 or go to 4/2”. The choice was obvious; I did not want to be the first and only one in my clan to repeat a year in school.

36 years later, as I recall that fateful day, and penning my thoughts now, there is only one word to describe how I felt towards Miss Low – GRATITUDE. For if she had not shown concern to a student who did so badly in her examinations, and had the foresight to realise that I would perform better in the Arts course, I would not have graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Arts degree six years later. 

And how could I forget Mrs Rosalind Khoo, my form teacher who taught my most-hated subject when I was in Sec 2/1? On the day we received our Math End-of-Year examination results, she called me out to her desk My legs turned to jelly (Gosh, this would happen again a year later!).  

What Mrs Khoo did after that made me remember her for life – she went through my examination paper page by page to “squeeze out” two marks so that I would pass Mathematics – 50/100.  

And 50 was written in BLUE in my report book.  

Why was that important? Because Mummy, being illiterate and the one who signed my report book in Sec 3 & 4, assessed my academic performance by two colours – red or blue. 

A good teacher does more than teach. It is caring teachers like Miss Low and Mrs Khoo that have added to my sweet memories of my school days at SMSS. What will I say to Miss Low if I meet her one day? Perhaps I should show her that page in my report book (Yes, I still have it). I still meet Mrs Khoo in school because of my work with SMESA. Maybe I should show her the other page in my report book. It will be a great conversational piece. After all, it was the only year I passed Mathematics….

                                                                                                                    Don't know much trigonometry

                                                                                                                    Don't know much about algebra 

                                                                                                                    Don't know what a slide rule is for

                                                                                                                    But I do know that one and one is two 

                                                                                                                    (Sam Cooke, Wonderful World) 

                                                                                                                    - My theme song in SMSS

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Miss S.K. Low and her basketball team

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Mrs Rosalind Khoo

Neoh Chong Eng

Class of 1981

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Dear friends, 

This is me. It was probably taken in 1980.  

It was promotion day for the Red Cross Society of our school.  This is the quadrangle where we used to march, and where flag raising and lowering ceremonies were held. In the background is the sports hall and towards the right was where the canteen used to be. I remember the very delicious 50 cents chicken rice, and the prawn noodle soup with the generous free flowing supply of soup. 

Besides being educated, school was for me, an interesting journey of self-discovery.  

Thank you for this platform to share our memories.

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Hi friends again, 

This picture was taken in 1979 in the school hall. 

Our class, Sec 2/2, was putting up a play based on the story of Cinderella for Teachers' Day concert. We somehow incorporated some tap dancing into the play which brought on much laughter. Memories are indeed made of these.  

I am the page boy, on the right. Choo Yue Ping, our very responsible class monitor is Cinderella (second from left). May Koh is the Prince and she can be seen in white pants in the background.  

I remember our class to be very fun loving and very united. We had a handsome form teacher too. He is Mr Chin.  

Our class photo is attached. Enjoy!

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Here's a class photo of my Secondary One class, Sec 1/3, taken in 1978. 

I remember feeling a great sense of trepidation in Secondary One, being in a new environment.  

However, the daily singing from our school hymnal was a great start to the school day. 

I was very encouraged, often, by one of my classmate, Amy Stebbings. Whenever we sing, she would turn around, smile widely and sing her heart out.  

In retrospect, the daily devotion and singing of choruses and hymns was one of the highlights for me. 

Thank you, St Margaret's, for the songs that still ring in my ears!


Ho Lian Geok
Class of 1981

Executive Corporate Secretary

My strongest SMSS memories are of my time as a member of the Red Cross Youth. Funnily, I remember the foot-drill sessions more than the first aid lessons, probably because of all the marching Red Cross cadets did on Saturday afternoons, combined with a lot of giggling (and scolding) whenever We turned in the wrong direction at the Malay commands. 

Even now, whenever I hear the National Day Parade Commander shouting “kiri”, “kenan" or "hormat” on TV, it carries me back more than 25 years to when I “commanded a squad" in the quadrangle, an area flanked by the school canteen and classrooms.

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