Dunman High School 1997 Yearbook

Welcome to my scan and commentary page of my Secondary 1 (1997) yearbook. I was in Dunman High School (Chinese: 德明政府中学 or Démíng Zhèngfǔ Zhōngxué — literally “Dunman Government Middle School”, even though the English name uses High School). This page is part of a larger project to catalogue my life story, my personal blog where I write endlessly about inconsequential but precious memories. See this Table of Contents page.

My family left Singapore at the end of 1998 after my Secondary 2 school year, and in some ways I’ve never moved on from that somewhat traumatic experience. It took me over 20 years to reach out to some of my former classmates over the Internet again, and I still dream about several of them (forever immortalized in their Secondary 2 body images) quite often. But you know what? Even though I was just here for two years, my two years at Dunman High are still the most precious school experiences of my life as of the time of writing. It’s a beautiful (and now apparently even more beautiful than ever, after renovations and upgrades) school full of rose-coloured memories for me.

I have three yearbooks from Dunman High, the 1997-1999 ones, and will be scanning and posting them (Late 2021 edit: 4 now, someone gifted me the 2000 one). Each will have a page like this, which will be just made up of thumbnails and the occasional tongue-in-cheek commentary. You can click on the image links to generate larger versions, and you can even change the filename of the larger version and take out the -scaled part of the URL to get a full sized JPG scan. However, to preserve the bandwidth of this site, if you plan on opening pretty much every photo or want an archived copy of it, then to save hosting bandwidth, instead consider downloading them as a .zip file from the following link, which also has raw scans:

Mega.nz folder link to JPG and TIF files here.

A couple of the scans in those folders are slightly better “version 2” scans too because I’m just an amateur scanner. If the links are broken, post a comment or email me at jesskitten at gmail. Thanks and enjoy!

Most of this page was written on May 11-12 2021.

Table of Contents

ට  Introduction (Page 1-12)
ට  Teaching Staff (Page 13-24)
ට  Secondary 4 Class Photos (Page 25-51)
ට  Secondary 1-3 Class Photos (Page 52-68)
ට  New School Campus (Page 69-82)
ට  Events (Page 83-107)
ට  Enrichment (Page 108-128)
ට  Extra Curricular Activities (Page 129-172)

Links to my other major Dunman High scans:
ට  Dunman Link Newsletter (Mar 1997)
ට  Dunman High School 1997 Yearbook (Dec 1997) (You are here)
ට  Dunmanian 21 Outcomes (1998)
ට  Dunman High School 1998 Yearbook (Dec 1998)
ට  Dunman High School 1999 Yearbook (Dec 1999)
ට  Dunman High School 2000 Yearbook (Dec 2000)

Links to some Dunman High-related diary entries:
ට  Some extra class photos (My Diary #019)
ට  Descriptions of my classmates (My Diary #059)
ට  Revisiting Dunman High 23 years later (Rose-Tinted Goggles, Singapore Day 6)

Links to some miscellaneous scans on archive.org.

Introduction (Page 1-12)

This section has some interesting-to-me things that I will touch on here. As you can see, our school was pretty much bilingual in both English and Chinese. A corollary of that was that there was pretty much no one at the school from any of the other ethnic races (Malay, Indian, or Caucasian).

Our school motto on Page 3 is 诚 信 勇 忠 or roughly Honesty, Trustworthiness, Moral Courage, and Loyalty (local). The characters are in calligraphic traditional Chinese (誠 信 勇 忠) and are read as chéng xìn yǒng zhōng. The words to the side of it are the signature of the calligrapher – the first three characters are his name, 陈人浩, Chén Rénhào (Jen Hao), a former principal of Dunman High. He’s also mentioned on page 4 in the paragraph about the crest. I don’t know the last two characters, but the first one is probably 款 (kuǎn), which implies the last two characters mean something close to inscription or signature or style.

Page 5 contains our school anthem — I don’t remember this at all. There’s Youtube videos of the song (pre-2011 | post-2011) and nothing about it sounds familiar, even though I remember, say, my Primary 4-6 one quite vividly still. Here’s an English translation for it I found in my stash of documents though, circa 1997 or 1998.

Teaching Staff (Page 13-24)

I had forgotten that we had a “Moral Education” class in addition to the Physical Education one. I don’t really remember an “Aesthetics and Craft” department or any music or art classes in secondary school at all, so not quite sure what that is about (although looking at my report card, there was a general “Art & Craft” subject that I don’t remember at all.

And.. library? Come to think of it, did we even have a library? We must have, especially since there’s a department for it, but I am mentally unable to place where the library would have been in the school. (Edit: I have since been yelled at that we did, indeed, have a library. That doesn’t help me mentally place it though! 😛 )

For Page 19, I do remember most of the Gifted Education Program (GEP) teachers as they were basically who taught all our classes, though I can’t 100% match them all to subjects. In picture order,

Mr Poh: Math (I think)
Mrs Low: Moral Ed (I think)
Mrs Tan: English
Mr Ng: I thought he was our Chinese teacher, but I’ve since been told he was our Math teacher. Did we have two separate Math teachers then? (Oct 2023 edit: Nope, found proof he was our Chinese teacher.)
Mdm Tan: Chinese (I think there was both a Higher Chinese and a regular/lower Chinese class, but I don’t remember how they were divided or who the other teacher was.)
Mrs Khoo: I don’t think this teacher taught us.
Ms Lim: History
Mrs Bok: Geography
Mrs Teo: English Literature
Mrs Shu: Science (she was also our form teacher. She’s “absent” here but she can be seen down on page 57 in our class shot.)

Secondary 4 Class Photos (Page 25-51)

In this yearbook, the graduating classes got a two-page spread for each of their classes. It’s too bad these pictures are all in black and white because the school apparently was a bit of a cheapskate back then.

We had two uniforms that you can see in various shots through the book — the ones with the white collars and dark blue skirts/shorts/pants were the proper school uniforms, and the ones with the dark (blue) collars were the PE uniforms. Pants were worn by male students in Sec 3 and 4, shorts in Sec 1 and 2. Ties are optional but mandated for prefects, on special occasions like this, and I think possibly mandated once a week on Monday or Friday or something anyway (I might be wrong, been a while).

I don’t actually know anyone in these lineups, except maybe some people from my Scouts troupe that I honestly didn’t care for. There were no GEP graduating classes either — the first GEP intake classes in Dunman High entered in 1996, so they were only in Secondary 2 at this point.

Secondary 1-3 Class Photos (Page 52-68)

Again, it’s a shame that these photos are in black and white, but at least we were individually given a coloured version of our own class photo. Here’s my class one — 1L. Detailed introductions to these precious friends will be made elsewhere in my blog.

1K and 1L (page 57) were the people I were closest with, as both classes together made up the 1997 batch of Gifted Education Program (GEP) students. Most of us were close to people in both classes because most of us came to Dunman High from the same four primary schools that offered GEP. We were basically one extended class split into two. We also knew a couple people in 2K/2L (page 63), they were basically the first batch of GEP students, the pioneers from the year before us. Basically our senpais.

New School Campus (Page 69-82)

So the students’ class pictures had to be black and white, but this opening ceremony was deemed more important and worthy of putting in colour in the yearbook. Tells you a lot about the administration’s priority, doesn’t it?

I kind of remember this, but I think I didn’t really understand the significance of the event and it didn’t stick with us, or at least me, afterwards. I mean, they had apparently moved from their old location to this Tanjong Rhu campus on May 27 1995, but according to this yearbook, they only did the opening ceremony for the place on Jul 26 1997. I don’t remember if I went to this event specifically. I must have, though, if not as a student then as part of my club (Scouts).

Events (Page 83-107)

It’s curious how little of these I remember. Especially something like that Lantern Festival (Page 104-105), which I would have loved. Some of these events were also from early 1996, I guess, and that’s peculiar that they’re in the 1997 yearbook instead of the 1996 one.

Enrichment (Page 108-128)

Notice the page numbers for this section on the Contents page (Page 1 up top) is wrong — it claims Events starts on Page 83 (correct) and Extra Curricular Activities starts on Page 129 (correct) but that Enrichment starts on Page 126 (wrong). Enrichment starts on Page 108.

I had no idea that there was ever a chance for an immersive exchange/trip to China (Page 109) or that there were ever visiting students from Japan (Page 128). Being a new program at the school, we GEP kids always felt a bit looked down upon and excluded by the rest of the staff and perhaps some students due to how boisterous and “troublemaking” we were compared to the average student. And how our grades were actually generally slightly worse than the average student’s, despite being in the “Gifted Education Program”, since admittance to that program was not just based on studying hard. Some of these events were probably year-restricted anyway, but I wonder if some of the others were just never offered or mentioned to us because we were treated like the black sheep class(es) of the school.

Extra Curricular Activities (Page 129-172)

This is the last section of the yearbook, dedicated to the various clubs at the school. It’s interesting again because as far as I know, we were told that ECAs were compulsary, and our options were either sports clubs (but only if they wanted/scouted us!), or we had to go for either the music/symphony clubs, the choir, St John‘s, National Police Cadets, or Scouts/Guides. At what point was there ever the option for us to join the Drama Club? Computer Club? Science Club? I don’t remember ever having the option. I feel like several of us would have gone to the Computer Club if we could, especially since about seven of us were even taking extra after-school programming classes at a University campus from a program that I’ll talk about elsewhere, but that didn’t get a mention here in the yearbook (cynically speaking, probably because it only involved some of us GEP kids and not the cream of the crop regular kids).

I did eventually hear from friends who stayed behind that some of them eventually moved to these other clubs in their 3rd and 4th year, though.

And that’s it! I also have the Dunman High 1998 and 1999 yearbooks, as well as various other interesting documents and photos and things to scan and upload sometime. I wish I had the 2000 one as well, as that would have been when my classmates would have been graduating and would have gotten a full page spread.

(Edit: An old friend is sending the 2000 yearbook to me as well, so I will hopefully soon have it and will scan it eventually!)

(Edit: I have scanned it! See the Table of Contents at the top for links.)

Document dated: December 1997.

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