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OBITUARY: CHAN SIEW JIANG (July 5, 1903 – Aug 23, 2005)

He moulded many generations of ACSians

homepage10-Oct 2005-feature

BORN on July 5 1903, Mr Chan Siew Jiang, who passed away on Aug 23, was 102 years old.

Completing his Junior and Senior Cambridge years at Anglo-Chinese School (ACS), and Normal training class, he became a qualified teacher of Standard 4 at ACS on Feb 1, 1922 – when the Rev J. S. Nagle was Principal and Bishop Bickley Resident Bishop.

Forty-five years later, he retired as Deputy Education Secretary for Methodist Schools in Singapore in 1967. During his long innings, he taught and influenced many generations of ACS students.

He pursued his profession actively in and out of the classroom and being recognised for his abilities, was transferred to the Secondary School in Cairnhill at the end of 1931 and appointed Sports Secretary. It was a position he served with distinction, coaching teams of very successful school athletes until the Japanese Occupation in 1942.

In the ensuing time of troubles, he spent two years in Java, and returned as Acting Principal of ACS from Nov 2 to June 22, 1946, a role in which he showed great energy, ability and tact during a period of reconstruction. The quick recovery of ACS was due to his fine work — the rehabilitation of the Coleman Street building and ensuring that the Cairnhill building was safe for occupation. Possessing a fine turn of phrase, he thanked the teachers and heads of the ACS units:

“Heroes have their feats sung and their merits recognised by citations.

Though faithfulness and goodwill be unsung heroes, and virtue be its own reward, I should be slow indeed, were I to allow this occasion to pass without recording my appreciation and devotion of the Heads and staff of the three schools. During a period of acute shortage … their tolerance and ésprit-de-corps were the more appreciated.”

Mr Chan was next appointed Headmaster of the ACS Primary/Junior School at Coleman Street in 1952 and served until 1958, then Headmaster, Oldham Methodist School from January 1960 until he was appointed Deputy Education Secretary for Singapore Methodist Schools in 1964.

When he retired in April 1967, Dr Thio Chan Bee, then Education Secretary, paid tribute to his 45 years of faithful, conscientious and efficient service, a real pillar of strength. Throughout his professional career, Mr Chan was noted for his dependability and careful attention to detail in carrying through any given task from the beginning to the end.