Monday, November 26, 2012

Primary school gotong royong 1974.

Gotong Royong is a Malay phrase depicting the ideals of community self help and  neighbourly assistance. For example, everyone pitching in to help with the arrangements of a neighbourhood wedding, cooking, cleaning, entertainment, etc.

In 1974, the authorities started another one of their many campaigns. This was styled Gotong Royong with the aim of getting citizens interested in community work. Though the concept was borrowed from the Malay connotation of self help, it was more perceived as getting groups of people to maintain their own surroundings instead. I guess it didn't work out after all since the results today smack more of self interest kiasuism than any sense of community!

Anyway, the campaign in the Bukit Batok district was launched by the MP for Bukit Batok, Mr Chai Chong Yii on 17 March 1974.  The launch location was at Princess Elizabeth Estate School.

The following photos are from the National Heritage Board and shows the launching of the Gotong Royong campaign. If you were at P.E.E.S. in 1974, you might be in one of these pictures. Do drop me a comment if you remember the occasion.


  1. Hi James,

    It took me some time to recall this event but when I had a look at the date and some of the pictures, it slowly came back. In 1974, I was in Std 6.

    In the 1st picture, I recognize the girl standing behind MP Chai as my classmate. In the 4th and 5th pics, the teacher in the middle is Mary Sim (later Mrs Mary Koh). Very classic photos.

  2. just behind the Minister is my sister Khadijah khatoon and on her right is Tamilselvi our neighbour.

  3. Baz,

    Thanks for confirming that it's Khadijah in the 1st pic. Was she Std 6 in 1974? I seem to recall we were in the same class... but now I can't be so sure.

  4. AnonymousMay 21, 2013

    Khadijah's brother, Amir, was my classmate from P1 to P6!

  5. Tamilselvi was my classmate! The man on the extreme right in the first photo, wasn't he Mr Maniam, the principal? I may not have got his name right. I was In PEES from 1970-1975.

    1. Mr Pakir Maideen was the Principal's name.