Changing styles: New book papers propagandize uniforms in Singapore

June 23, 2016 - School Uniform

SINGAPORE: A new book documenting a propagandize uniforms, badges and mottos of delegate propagandize uniforms has been published – a initial such collection archiving a stories behind uniforms in Singapore.

Called My School Uniform, a 365-page book facilities a uniforms of 142 delegate schools opposite Singapore. It also highlights some of a schools that have sealed down or joined with others, and a meanings behind several propagandize badges.

“School uniforms and badges are black of a propagandize lives that everybody once owned,” pronounced author Yix Quek. “Even after graduating, people still notice pointed changes to their uniforms and have large reactions over it, hence it’s something that’s really tighten to a hearts.”

Ms Quek, who is a techer during a Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, pronounced she was desirous by a story of her possess delegate school.

“History has always been one of my favourite subjects in school. My possess delegate school, Dunman High, was founded during a 1956 Chinese Middle School riots,” she said. “At a same time, we am really desirous by travel conform photography like Humans of New York and The Sartorialist.”

Author Yix Quek with her book, My School Uniform, published in May 2016. (Photo: Wendy Wong)

After receiving a S$42,000 extend from a National Heritage Board’s (NHB) Heritage Grant Scheme in 2014, Ms Quek set about operative on a plan over a camber of dual years. She roped in photographers Nicky Loh, ​Louis Kwok, Benny Loh and Soh Qiu Ling, and book engineer Yong Kam Ling, to assistance out with conceptualising a book.

The photography took around one and a half years, while a editorial and investigate work took around 9 months.

The book showcases a opposite uniforms of 142 delegate schools in Singapore. (Photo: Wendy Wong)

The organisation unclosed a few trends, such as a transitions from steel badges to sewn-on fabric ones, from tucked-in shirts to tucked-out ones, and from white propagandize boots to black ones. They also found that schools began to have ‘dress down’ attires, such as polo tees, ragged on Fridays, and a switch to dri-fit element for earthy practice attire.

They also enlisted a assistance of a delegate schools, that helped to shortlist tyro models who acted in their uniforms for them. Ms Quek and her organisation even managed to constraint a transition from aged to new uniforms in schools such as Guangyang Secondary.

The organisation managed to constraint a transition between uniforms during Guangyang Secondary School. (Photo: Wendy Wong)


Published in May this year, a book also includes a special territory on aged propagandize badges. The badges are owned by art executive Joseph Tay, who collects badges as a hobby.

The 53-year-old started collecting propagandize badges 10 years ago, following in a footsteps of his elder siblings.

Badge gourmet Joseph Tay with his collection of delegate propagandize badges. (Photo: Wendy Wong)

“It was as distant behind as we could remember, (as) a child flourishing up, looking during my comparison brothers and sisters, they collect a lot of badges. Mainly from Malaysian schools, all kinds of clubs and associations, and that was like 40 over years ago,” he said. “And usually recently, like 10 years ago, we started to think, since not we do a same for badges in Singapore schools?”

The badge of Tuan Mong High School, that was determined in 1906 by Teochew house leaders. The propagandize sealed in 1994 due to descending enrolment. (Photo: Wendy Wong)

Mr Tay has collected some-more than 200 delegate propagandize badges, and hopes to pierce on to collect badges from primary schools and football clubs next.

“You never know where, how or when we will get your subsequent badge. It is always astonishing and singular how we find your subsequent badge,” Mr Tay said. “But mostly we go to antique shops, by word of mouth – seeking friends, websites, generally these are a avenues. we even go to schools.”

The badge of Umar Pulavar Tamil High School, that was established in a shophouse in 1946. The propagandize was named after Umar Pulavar, a 17th century Tamil Muslim poet. It sealed in 1982 due to a dump in tyro enrolment. (Photo: Wendy Wong)

But Mr Tay laments a failing badge enlightenment in Singapore, generally as schools switch from steel ones to sewn-on fabric badges.

“I collect badges, generally propagandize badges, for Singapore… since in hindsight, we found out that Singapore does not have a clever badge culture, and a lot of propagandize badges are steel ones (which) are disintegrating – they’re relocating on to turn sewn-on badges. So we suspicion improved collect them before they disappear,” he said.

“It’s utterly sad, generally badges from UK, that we have utterly a few pieces, they’re really qualitative (sic), they’re done of brass, really perplexing in finish paint. They even engrave on a behind of a badge ‘made in Birmingham’, so there is a outrageous honour and prolonged years of enlightenment in that dimension,” Mr Tay said.

On a other hand, Mr Tay pronounced that propagandize badges in Singapore are mostly done of  a “simple steel and reserve pin.” “You can see in comparison it’s a low cost badge, compared to those in a UK and Australia,” he said.


One plea a organisation faced was carrying to juggle between a book plan on tip of their full-time jobs.

“As we were operative on this as a passion plan on tip of a day job, time government is something we have to juggle. Sometimes we even have to move a work out during holidays as passion plan doesn’t have bound operative hours,” she said.

There was also a plea of convincing schools to come on board, Ms Quek said. “It takes bid to remonstrate a propagandize to come on house initially. But once we have some print references, schools are utterly fervent to be featured.”

The mascot of Fuchun Secondary School, that is a alloy between a lion and eagle. (Photo: Wendy Wong)

However, a book usually managed to cover 85 per cent of all delegate schools in Singapore, as some schools did not respond to their requests.

“We sent 5 rounds of emails over dual years to all a schools in Singapore,” Ms Quek said. “But after a book was launched, some of a schools indeed wrote to us seeking to be featured.”


In a book, there is a shred on a new merging and shutting of schools, as good as engaging contribution on how propagandize uniforms have altered via a years.

“There are 30 propagandize mergers function from 2016 to 2018, of that we lonesome 24 schools,” Ms Quek said. “It will be engaging to see that schools are still around during SG100.”

While a organisation concluded that such mergers were unavoidable due to descending birth rates, this done their plan all a some-more meaningful.

A page in a book dedicated to aged propagandize badges. (Photo: Wendy Wong)

“Ex-students will knowledge a clarity of detriment of birthright and memories. My School Uniform wants to repository and request all these schools that once existed as they contributed severely to any particular tyro and also a nation’s development,” Ms Quek said.

Lead photographer Nicky Loh agreed. “We’re documenting this indicate in time in story that no one else is doing, and 50 years, 100 years down a road, people will see how propagandize uniforms did demeanour like,” he said.

“And this is something that is really unique, and maybe during SG100 this book will come out for people to see how lives – since when we see aged photos from a 60s and 70s we all feel really sentimental and they’re not really common, so we wish this book will prove this square of story that needs to be documented.”

The organisation visited adult to 5 schools each week to sketch a uniforms and a propagandize compounds. (Photo: Wendy Wong)


The Heritage Grant Scheme aims to support projects with a intensity to minister to Singapore’s birthright scene, and to inspire particular or organisation initiatives and village tenure of birthright projects.

“NHB is happy to support birthright enthusiasts like Yixian, who have stepped brazen and proactively contributed to a revelation of a Singapore story,” pronounced NHB Senior Assistant Director (Education Community Outreach) Asmah Alias.

“Many of us are have lustful memories of a drill years, and are unapproachable of a story and birthright of a schools we attended. School uniforms are a earthy essence of this common belonging and identity, and we are blissful that My School Uniform has paid reverence to this,” she said.

Since a launch in 2013, NHB’s Heritage Grant Scheme has upheld over 150 birthright projects, trimming from propagandize birthright corners and mobile applications, to documentaries and publications.

My School Uniform retails during S$28.50 from vital book stores such as Kinokuniya, Basheer Books and Times.


The book includes many engaging contribution about uniform styles and trends. Here are a few of them:

RAFFLES GIRLS’ FOLDED SLEEVES: “The initial collection of (Raffles Girls’ School) blouses had a sleeves extended all a approach to a elbows. Students started folding them for comfort. The propagandize realised students elite to wear it that way, and it eventually became a tradition.” – Ms Quek

5 PIGS FOR 3 BUNGALOWS: “Back in 1945, a colonize principal (of Sin Min Secondary School) Mr Yap Fun Fong sole 3 pigs to lease 5 bungalows to yield preparation for children who are located in Hougang and Serangoon.” – Ms Quek

FROM METAL TO FABRIC BADGES: “Speaking to people who run bookshops in schools and teachers, there are a lot of problems with propagandize badges. Students used to use them to blemish a table, and some of them would not put on a badge since they remove it or forget to bring. It comes with certain problems, so sewn on is we theory a unsentimental approach to do it.” – Mr Tay

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