Did you know that you can find a Victorian Boy Statue in the headquarters of People’s Association (PA)?
As a proud Victorian, Mr Lim Eng Chong, who too was once a gregarious Victorian like us, decided to create a statue and anchor it there to preserve our memories and heritage from the Tyrwhitt Road campus (1932-1984).
“I conceived the idea to build, to plant a memorial landmark, a monument — to literally carve in stone and preserve the history and origin of that building — to commemorate that it was once the home of Victoria School.” mused Mr Lim.
Preserving the Victorian heritage
Why is heritage important? Heritage is our way of remembering our roots and origin, and understanding our identity. Stripped of our identity, we would be left without a vision for the future to work towards, and our uniqueness would be diluted. Victoria School’s heritage is critical in ensuring that it is, indeed, something more, as proudly proclaimed in its anthem.
Mr Lim felt a strong drive to take action and ensure that no matter how much time passes, the rich history that Victoria School left behind in the Tyrwhitt Road campus will never vanish.
Nil Sine Labore
The statue took a full year to design and craft, all the way from conception to the final casting. The process was by no means simple. Mr Lim went to interview several old Victorians who studied at Victoria School in the early Tyrwhitt era (the 1930s to 50s), seeking their views and feedback on his idea. The sculpture was designed with much attention to details, and was kept as close to historical fact as possible. These details include the hair, facial features, expression, as well as the finer details of the boy’s uniform, such as the length of the shorts, the design of the shirt, shoes, school bag and belt.
It was also no easy task getting this statue installed in a place that is no longer just a former VS campus but is instead a working space for our People’s Association.
“Credit must be given to many senior Old Victorians who helped me in various ways to finally and successfully make this Victorian Boy Statue stand tall and proud at his rightful home at Tyrwhitt,” Mr Lim asserts. These Old Victorians include
- Professor Emeritus Edwin Thumboo,
- Former Cabinet Minister S. Dhanabalan,
- Member of Parliament Teo Ser Luck,
- Former Chief of Armed Forces Ng Yat Chung,
- Former Chief of Armed Forces Neo Kian Hong,
- Singapore’s late former president, Mr S.R. Nathan
“Victoria, thy sons are we”
The statue is meant to evoke a sense of assurance in Old Victorians, particularly those from the Tyrwhitt era, by granting them confidence that the history of Victoria School in Tyrwhitt will never be erased by the unending passage of time, and that in the face of rapid development in our physical environment, capable of obliterating the school’s heritage and history, strides must be taken to preserve the school’s rich heritage for posterity. As for the present and future Victorians, Mr Lim wishes to evoke in them a sense of loyalty and gratitude to all of the Victorians whom they were preceded by. “I hope they will be inspired to perpetuate the Victorian Spirit,” said Mr Lim, “and I hope they will never neglect or abandon the VS Boy Statue or let it fall, but keep it standing tall and proud for many years and generations to come.” And finally, Mr Lim wishes to evoke a sense of admiration and envy of the Victorian Spirit in the general public, as well as impart the virtues of loyalty, gratitude and pride, which he regards as an essential part of true education.
The carefully-sculpted statue is more than an artistic feat; it is representative of our awe-inspiring heritage and its rich history as a school once located at what is now the PA Headquarters. Pay close attention to its details, and you may hear the voices of the Victorians who were once students themselves at Victoria School calling from the past in perfect unison: “Acknowledge and never forget the heritage we left behind.”