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Sang Nila Utama & Tun Seri Lanang: Singapore’s Last Malay Schools

Written by Hidayah Amin

As Singapore crossed into the 21st century, the education system had to evolve, moving in tandem with the changing needs of society, shifting attitudes, new mindsets and focus. With technological advancements, school infrastructure has been enhanced and redeveloped. Although many of our pre-independence schools are no more, the lived experiences of pupils who call them alma mater are by no means easily erased or diminished. Two of these schools were named in honour of Southeast Asia’s historic personalities: Sang Nila Utama (the founder of Singapura) and Tun Seri Lanang (Grand Vizier and literary figure). These premier secondary schools paved the way for pupils in the Malay stream to pursue a fulfilling secondary education, something which they would not otherwise have been able to do for want of resources. In fact, these schools were so outstanding that they attracted top students from Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei to study in Singapore. This is the story of Singapore’s last Malay schools.