Yeo Hock Yew
Retiree Hock Yew now pursues activities of his love. Daily it is the morning devotion of his faith. Then
he finds out what is going on in the world through the printed daily. Special attention is paid to football, a game he has played since 1960. Ruefully it’s now reduced to the weekend kickabout. But in walks into the great outdoors he finds rhythms of poetry and the frustration of not being able to
express them. There too he has been unable to sustain an urge for outdoor sketching. Art remains a hobbyist indoor foray of pen and wash or watercolour. A passion for the language, literature and elegant writing ensures that the shelves are laden with the classics. Permeating his mind is poetry in music: old gospel and country songs. And in his Indian summer the backdrop of his international shipping and port management years
fades into irrelevance.
THE BATU BERLAYAR I REMEMBER
About the memoir
Pasir Panjang has been entrenched in my life since 1955 when I first attended primary school there. I thought I should want to write a memoir for this three-mile stretch to make meaning of all the time there. But with all the memories it holds this canvas is too large for this NLB Local Ties workshop. An
integral element – the Pasir Panjang Christ Church years – may prove both sensitive and complex. But there is this building at the 4.5 milestone. Batu Berlayar Primary School (BBPS) has been standing there since the early 1950s. I spent most of my primary school years there. It closed in 1982.
Intermittently, it was occupied by the Montessori Centre and NTUC. But otherwise across the years it seems to be standing there waiting. Fancifully, I felt that it had been waiting for someone to record its existence before the Greater Southern Waterfront (GSW) project begins. It was time to
write, for now there is work afoot at the building. It is shrouded beyond recognition. Still the school is too big for me, of modest means, to write. I can only write about my time there. I
felt this obligation to write for all my BBPS schoolmates. I owe an untold story to our form teacher too. In those formative years they all helped make me love school life. Yet unwittingly, they featured in a desperate spell when I tried to re-unite the teacher and her students. This focus on a place, my Batu Berlayar story, seems more manageable. Surely the old school
deserves a more accomplished writer. Alas, how fast the years go; I cannot wait for him to arrive. The GSW may build around the precious mangrove Belayer Creek . But surely BBPS will not be spared. Then who will remember it?