追本溯源 (1906 至 1942年)
Our Roots (1906 to 1942)
In the early 20th Century, Singapore’s Chinese dialect groups began to set up schools for primary education. Tan Boo Liat, leader of the Hokkien community and Tan Tock Seng’s great-grandson, proposed founding a modern Hokkien school. The idea was received enthusiastically, and donations from the Hokkien community followed. Prominent businessmen and philanthropists such as Lee Cheng Yan, Low Kim Pong and Tan Kah Kee also donated to the cause which led to the school being founded on 18 November, 1906. The Hokkien Huay Kuan agreed to provide an annual subsidy to Daonan Xuetang or ‘Tao Nan Study Hall’, as named by Chen Baochen, a tutor of Puyi, last Emperor of the Qing Dynasty.
Tao Nan School was the first Hokkien modern school in the Straits Settlements and one of Singapore’s first modern Chinese schools. The early batches of students studied Mandarin, History, Geography and Confucian classics, and did three hours of weekly Physical Education – all of it in Hokkien.
In 1909, the school was the first Chinese school in Singapore to welcome students from every dialect group and new firsts were yet to come. Tan Kah Kee suggested that the school move to house the growing student population in 1909. He contributed $2,000 while sugar tycoon, Oei Tiong Ham, donated $10,000 to acquire the land for the new campus. With $40,000 raised by the Hokkien community, construction began in 1910, and Tao Nan School moved to 39 Armenian Street when construction was completed in 1912.
In 1916, Tao Nan School became Singapore’s and the Straits Settlements’ first Mandarin-medium school.
The school was closed during the Japanese Occupation from 1942 to 1945 when the Japanese took over the school.