Chung Cheng High celebrates its 75th birthday on July 10 with a gala dinner at its main campus at Goodman Road. On the same night, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will officiate and announce another milestone in the school's already rich history.
The school has played a vital role in Singapore's culture and history since its establishment in 1939. The iconic buildings belonging to its main campus - the Administration Building (Zhulin Building) and the Entrance Arch - will be gazetted as a National Monument by the National Heritage Board (NHB). The two buildings will form Singapore's 66th National Monument.
Here are eight things you need to know about the school:
1. It was named after Chiang Kai-shekThe school was named after Chiang Kai-shek, one of the 20th century's notable political figures. He was president of the Republic of China from 1948 to 1975.
While Chiang Kai-shek is a household name, few know that he was also known as Chiang Chung-cheng in Standard Chinese.
2. It began as an all-boys private schoolIt only started to admit girls after World War II in 1945.
3. It was founded by a businessman and helmed by a war heroDid you know that the school was founded by several businessmen, including the first Chairman of the School Management Board, Aw Boon Haw?
Aw is famous for not only introducing Tiger Balm to Singapore, but also the establishment of Haw Par Villa.
Chung Cheng's first school supervisor was Lim Bo Seng, a World War II hero. Lim established the Force 136 to fight against the Japanese, only to be tortured by the Japanese regime in 1944.
4. The original campus in Kim Yam Road was the site of several riotsIn 1954, the Kim Yam road campus was the site for demonstrations against compulsory national service where 2,500 male and female students locked themselves in Chung Cheng High School.
While the demonstration was quickly cleared, these actions did hamper the first big-scale attempt to recruit male youths for part-time national service.
In 1956, the school was also a hotbed for the leftist student movement under the influence of the communist underground.
As the Government began to clamp down more harshly on communism, students gathered and camped at Chung Cheng High School and The Chinese High School.
The police entered the schools and cleared the students using tear gas, forcing the students to head for the city. In total, 13 people were killed and more than 100 were injured.
5. It has two campusesChung Cheng High School is split into two branches, Chung Cheng High School (Main) and Chung Cheng High School (Yishun).
In August 1947, to cope with the increased student population, part of the school moved into a new school building in Goodman Road. The school located at 40-56 Goodman Road is named as Chung Cheng High School (Main).
The old school at Kim Yam road continued to function and was renamed Chung Cheng High School (Branch) and subsequently relocated to 11 Yishun Street 61 and became known as Chung Cheng High School (Yishun).
6. The gazetted buildings were designed by one of their ownThe buildings classified as Singapore's latest National Monument were designed by Mr Ho Beng Heng, a Chung Cheng alumnus.
7. The architecture bears symbolic significanceThe architectural style was the so-called Chinese National style. The Chinese National style was an architectural movement rooted in patriotism.
The Administration Building, which is constructed using reinforced concrete, follows a modern functional layout and displays Chinese architectural features such as the prominent double-tier roof with glazed Chinese tiles, and cloud and bat motifs.
The Entrance Arch sits on ornamented high stone pedestals and is decorated with stylised bat motifs, which are meant to represent good fortune and happiness.
Similarly, the path through the Entrance Arch towards the Administrative Building is symbolic of the students’ journey towards higher education and a promising future.
8. The school holds a Guiness World Record for Longest Can-Chaining Project In 2005, Chung Cheng made a mark in the Guinness Book of Records for the World’s Longest Can-Chaining Project for charity.
The Can-Chaining Project saw the school chaining together some 45,000 used drink cans to emphasise the importance of conservation and recycling as a means to conserve the environment.