Monday, 25 November 2013

CHIJ – A Blast From the Past

I paid a nostalgic visit to my old school – The Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ) on Victoria Street, Singapore. This school which I attended between 1955 and 1965 was moved to a new location in 1984. My mother had attended the same school too. The remaining old buildings which occupy a city block have been gazetted a national monument and have now been restored and turned into a tourist precinct called CHIJMES. Old classrooms are now shops and trendy restaurants. The old chapel has been renovated and is popular for weddings.
It was a particularly hot afternoon and I only managed 2 sketches, one done after taking refuge in the shade of one of the cafes and paying Sing$8 for a very dilute glass of apple juice. Perhaps this spot was where one of my old primary school friends lifted the back of a nun's cloak to see if she had any hair! (Colours added at home).
Front of chapel.
Back of chapel.
This is the side gate where unwanted babies were left (the school had an orphanage). These were female infants born out of wedlock or born in the Chinese lunar year of the tiger. In those days female "tiger babies" were considered unlucky. The orphans were put to work in the convent, cleaning or helping in the school tuckshop. I'm told that Catholic men could come and choose brides from among the grown orphans (who by then had undoubtedly been raised to make good Catholic wives).  

For more info on the school click here.

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