Started as a village school in January 1946 with 200 students housed in borrowed premises in Bukit Timah area, Lianhua Primary School was then known as Lian Wah Public School. The school catered to children who did not have the opportunity to attend school due to the Second World War.
In the subsequent years, the school's board of directors raised funds and bought a piece of land in Duchess Road where a permanent building for the school was built. The first Principal, Mr Huang Liang Chen served the school for 19 years till 1964. Mr Ding Cha Yee took over in 1964 as the second Principal and during his tenure the school progressed significantly both academically and in extra curricular activities and became a premier school in Bukit Timah. Mr Ding headed the school for 23 years till 1987 after which it became a government school and was renamed as Lianhua Primary School.
With 547 students in 19 classes and a staff of 27 teachers, a clerk and school attendant, Lianhua Primary School functioned temporarily at Dazhong Primary School before moving to its own building at 2 Bukit Batok Street 52 in January 1988. The school was officially declared open on 8 Sep 1990 by Dr Seet Ai Mee, then Acting Minister of State for Education and Member of Parliament for Bukit Gombak. Mr Ong Kian Hin was Principal during the school's initial years as a government school, heading it from 1987 to 1995.
1. Hello Sir, You Speak English?
Mr Lim Chee Ning, a teacher of Lian Wah Public School from 1958 to 1989 was only 19 years old when he was invited by Hwa Chong Institution’s (HCI) Principal to be an English teacher in Lian Wah Public School.
“After World War II, there was an urgent need for schools, especially in the Duchess Road area. Hwa Chong Institution was the only school there that provided secondary level education. At the time, HCI’s Vice-Principal was approached to find a suitable candidate to run the newly set up Lian Wah Public School and also to find teachers to conduct the lessons.
As he was from the Fuzhou clan, like I was, he recommended me for the job. Like that, I became the first English teacher in Lian Wah Public School from 1958 to 1959.
I had to teach English from P3 to P6 with about 40 students in each class. As the children mainly came from the nearby villages, I had to use Mandarin and dialects to teach English. As I was effectively bilingual, it was not difficult for me to teach them.”
2. Lianhua Pride
Mr Tan Tiang June, a former student from the Lian Wah Public School, graduated in 1972, felt a sense of belonging when he sees Lianhua Primary School still exists.
“I was very touched when Lianhua invited me back to share my memories. I came to the school with my Primary School Leaving Certificate that was signed by the first Principal, Mr Ding Cha Yee, to show how proud I am that I am part of the Lian Wah Public School. I remember clearly the school values, 礼义廉耻, that were displayed at the assembly area. These values had guided the students of Lian Wah to become good and useful citizens.
Everyone took education very seriously then. Even when the school was flooded, lessons continued.
The teachers would sit on the tables to teach while the students squatted on the benches. Students today must learn to appreciate what they have.”
3. Loyalty, Excellence & Service
“In 1961, it was with great pride that I returned to my (母校) alma mater to continue the school’s legacy to educate students of future generations. I became a TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) teacher in Lian Wah Public School. It was truly my honour to be able to work under the same principal whom I had when I was a student.
I am still very much attached to Lian Wah. For the many years that I have contributed to the school, the school has in turn taught me many important life lessons. It was in Lian Wah that I experienced the true meaning of Loyalty, Excellence and Service.”
Mr Cheng Lian Seah
Student of Lian Wah Public School 1947 – 1951
TESL Teacher of Lian Wah Public School 1962 – 1978
4. My School, My Family, My Home
“As a student, I remember clearly the “Kampong Spirit” of teachers in Lian Wah Public. I have witnessed the close bond among teachers and felt that they were “just like family”, always there for each other, even if it meant volunteering to work overtime. I am glad to have been a part of this warm family. I will never forget my teacher Mr Koh who was my beacon and mentor. I will also never forget the pride that filled me when our new school building had the luxury of installing 2 fans in each classroom.
As a teacher, I have fond memories of designing the school gardens with my principal, Mr Ong Kian Hin. From sketching the design and layout, to actual planting, or even breeding of the fauna, the team worked hard, together will a few student volunteers to build our dream. This experience inspired some of our students, who would have otherwise dropped out of school, to continue learning and contribute where they could.”
Mr Goh Kian Tiong
Student of Lian Wah Public School, 1963 – 1969
Alumni of Lianhua Primary School, 1987 – present
5. Noodle Soup Recipe
Mdm Yeo Ah Kiang started her journey in Lian Wah Public School as a Primary 1 students in 1968. During her time in Lian Wah Public School, Mdm Yeo forged strong bonds with her classmates and teachers. As she was especially petite, her teachers could still remember her even after she had graduated.
“Recess time was the most anticipated period of the day for me. During recess, I would play games such as rubber bands, five stones and kuti-kuti with my classmates. I also had meals with my friends in the school canteen. The canteen back then was very different from the canteen these days. During my time, there was only 1 stall selling food and drinks.
Since young, I had to prepare meals for my family. As such, I have cultivated a keen eye for food preparation. While queuing in line, I always observed how the auntie prepared the food. This is a good way to pick up new cooking skills. I noticed that it was quite easy to prepare noodle soup so I went home to try it out. It was a success. The noodles I made were yummy.
After that I started preparing my own noodle soup every morning to bring to school. Even though I was young, I understood the virtue of thrift. I was very happy that I could save some pocket money!”
Mdm Yeo Ah Kang
Student of Lian Wah Public School 1968 -1973