Thursday, January 26, 2012

The House that vanished at Hillview !

Again at Hillview, there was yet another mystery concerning another house. Coincidently, just like the haunted Hillview Mansion, it was also known as the Green House. This time, the mystery was not that it was haunted, but that the Green House suddenly and completely disappeared overnight!

More precisely, it happened within Princess Elizabeth Estate School  around 1965 or 1966, the date which I have yet to verify. When it happened, it affected a lot of the PEES students. For me it was quite traumatic, the reason which I will explain shortly.

The house was known as TONG LIANG House, aka the Green House.
If you had read my earlier blogs, you might know that in Princess Elizabeth Estate School, all the children were assigned into a different sports team known as a Sports House.
Most students will know of the four houses named Gammon House, Guttas House, Hume House and Kiwi House. Each house had a differentiating color.

However, students who were there before 1965 will know of another house called Tong Liang House.
This was the original Green House. For some inexplicable reason, Tong Liang House disappeared from the radar screen one day when it was announced that there would only be four houses instead of five. Tong Liang House was dropped and all students were re-assigned into a new house.

Which sports house you were re-assigned to depended on your admission number. For this reason I was moved from Guttas House to Kiwi House. It was a traumatic thing for me because Guttas House was the 2nd best in sports, while Kiwi House was always last! It was like being relegated to the bottom of the league! It was depressing to be counted among the 'losers'.

I was reminded of this missing entity by my friend and reader, Brenda Phua. "Do you recall another house called Tong Liang?", she asked after reading my Malayan Guttas blog.

OMG! How could I have missed that!
Of all people, I should have been the one who would remember that fact!
Tong Liang House was named after MY grand uncle, Goh Tong Liang!

My grand uncle, Goh Tong Liang

Goh Tong Liang was a member of the Singapore Legislative Assembly. He was the elected Legislative Assemblyman for Bukit Panjang and was in the 1st Singapore government under Chief Minister Lim Yew Hock in 1955.

Goh Tong Liang was known as the champion of the rural folks and of farmers' causes.
He lived at Chua Chu Kang, was a successful businessman and owned a huge 8 acres rambutan estate.
He was very vocal in parliament and you can read a lot of his speeches in the legislative archives.

Goh Tong Liang was the elder 3rd brother of my grandfather, Goh Tong Siew.
This is a picture of my grandfather with his family. The brothers do look alike.
Goh Tong Liang was the 3rd son, while my grandfather was the 6th son in their family.

I do not know why the school dropped Tong Liang House and re-assigned the green sports colors to Gammon House. Maybe if some ex-PEES sportsmaster like Mr Venugopal, Mr Gabriel Lim or Mr Koshy might happened unto my blog, they can tell us the reason why the Green House of PEES suddenly disappeared!


  1. From Joyce Yong...

    I was a former student of PEES, 1981 to 1986 and I lived in Hill View for 20+ years.

    I read about your blog and am very delighted to relive my memories of the school there and the Tong Liang house.

    I am also curious about the Hill View House with a sad tale, as I used to wander there after school with my friends but I never knew it had another links to paranormal.
    Please let me know, if it is convenient. Thank you.

  2. Hi Joyce Yong,
    Thanks for visiting. Nice to hear from another ex-PEES person.
    The old Hillview Mansion, it is supposed to have been haunted and attracted lots of attention by ghost hunters / ghost busters over the years since it was abandoned. There were many cases of police being called in by the nearby residents due to the nuisances of these late night visits by paranormal enthusiasts.
    As I mentioned in my Haunted Mansion blog, I will email to you the reason for the house becoming haunted.
    Do send me your pictures of PEES and I will share it here.

  3. Thank you for the prompt response.
    I went on FB and found the facebook group you mentioned, and I just put in the request to join.
    My former classmates and I just got reconnected via facebook.
    One of them read your blog and recommended me to read it.

    I watched the video you put up on PEES and it brought many memories back.
    Thank you for doing the wonderful work of writing on Hill View Bridge, Old Jurong Road, and PEES.

    I lived there since I was born till I got married and saw the changes over my growing years.
    Many of my kampung friends have moved out after Primary School graduation, and I often wondered if there was anyone out there who felt so much for the place.

    My batch was the last batch of students to be in the old premise before it moved to Bukit Batok at end of 1985.
    We were the pioneer batch P6 for PEPS in Bukit Batok in 1986.

    I didn't know that Ms Kee married Mr Jimmy Tan.
    Ms Kee was the band mistress, wasn't she?
    Mr Jimmy Tan was the disciplinary master, right?

    Unfortunately, we did not have pictures of ourselves in the old school except for the photos in the school magazines, which we did not retain a copy.
    If any of my ex Primary classmates have any pictures, I will request for them to post it up.

  4. Hi Joyce,
    There' always some surprise and confusion whenever I mention that Jimmy Tan married Miss Kee.
    Yes, Mr Jimmy Tan did marry Miss Kee in 1967, but coincidentally, there was another teacher in the later years (ard 1980) who was also named Ms Kee. This was Ms Kee Bee Leng the band mistress and not Ms Irene Kee who married Jimmy Tan.
    Since you are from the later era, you would know only of Ms Kee the band mistress, not the one who married Jimmy Tan.
    Another mystery resolved at Princess Elizabeth. Hmmm seems to be full of mysteries there!

  5. I joined PEES in 1964 and by then, it was Gammon, Guttas, Everyready, Kiwi. So Tong Liang was probably dropped before 1964. I was in Gammon.

    YUM Shoen Liang

  6. The maternal grandfather of Mr Goh Tong Liang was the kangchu of Choa Chu Kang?

    1. Hi Anon. Is that a question? I am not sure about that actually. It's something I must try and explore.
      Goh Tong Liang's son (my mum's cousin) is still around so I'd better get on with this area of search.

    2. Yes, that's a question. Do you have Mr Goh's name in chinese?

    3. Hi Anon (would you care to leave a name?),
      I'll check up on your lead next week and hope to get more info on that.

    4. Oh, for those who may not be familiar with blogger, to leave your name select NAME/URL under the "Reply as:" option below the comment box. Then type in a name. Otherwise, the default is Anonymous.

    5. Hi,

      The Straits Times, 24 November 1951, Page 6

      has an acticle on Mr Goh Tong Liang


      his chinese name should be 吴忠良

      星洲日报 (Sin Chew Jit Poh), 8 October 1968, Page 2

    6. HI Maidi Lei,
      Thanks for the lead.
      I will try and pursue it in earnest knowing that.
      Goh Tong Liang was also featured in many articles in the newspapers of old and many of his photos are fund in the NHB PICAS website.

  7. Stephen Goh Gou seeSeptember 09, 2013

    Dear James,

    I will contribute to your blog later with a few old b&w photographs of old Chua (as it was spelled then) Chu Kang and my father's (Goh Tong Liang's) hunting trips for wild boars (pigs) and our old house at 25 Chua Chu Kang Road, Singapore 23, which is now occupied, I believe, by the MRT station.

    Yes, my father's Chinese name is correctly written. The Sin Chew Jit Poh article appeared two days after my father passed away on 6 Oct 1968. He was buried in Bidadari cemetery but his remains are now interred in a niche in the government columbarium in Lim Chu Kang (Lane 01-17, Niche 96; my sister Lily at Niche 97).

    We should get together one day and discuss these past family histories.
    Stephen Goh Gou See

  8. Hi James and Stephen,
    I was surfing around trying to remember my old neighbourhood Kampong Keat Hong.... and I stumbled upon Stephen mentioning that his late father was Goh Tong Liang. That name rings a bell and it took me a longtime to figure that the late Goh Tong Liang used to have a house in Kampong Keat Hong, I think. It was our family home for over ten years. Old run down colonial house.
    Sam (Canada)

    1. Hi Sam,
      I think you are probably right when you said you lived at Goh Tong Liang's old house. In that time, his was the only masonry colonial house found in Chua Chu Kang at Kg Keat Hong. It was a landmark in that area.
      The land where the house used to be is now the Choa Chu Kang MRT Station.
      Sam, would you have any old pictures of that house? We are now trying to compile a history of that area.

  9. Hi James,
    I checked my old photo album. Unfortunately there are a few photos of that house. All of which contain family and friends in addition to the fact that not much of the house was shown in these pics.
    It was a weird and unusual house in that large rooms were deep and long while the small rooms were narrow and short.
    I am curious about what you or others have learned about that house. I am also curious about the story behind the haunted house in HillView. Please send me the story. My email is
    thanks for sharing the info about the area from PE to Chua Chu Kang.