No one doubts that in Singapore to-day one of our greatest educational and social problems is that of our post-war youth. War has mowed down heads of families, it has created an over-age class among boys and, though existing schools and homes have displayed a magnificent and heroic effort to lend a helping hand to both parents and children, the problem still remains very acute and a solution must be found.
Furthermore even among the boys who are fortunate enough to find admission in schools, a fairly high percentage will never reach the higher standards because their talents are such that they soon attain the maximum curve of assimilation of knowledge which leaves them dragging behind brighter schoolmates. What chances are open to them in the future? Are they not liable to become a neglected and burdensome element in our youth?
Through no fault of their own, orphans, poor boys, averaged pupils, "problem" lads have but a bleak future ahead of them unless something is done now to come to their rescue. BOYS' TOWN aims at bringing a timely solution to that urgent problem: a TOWN for boys where under kindly guidance and competent instructors they can be educated, fed, cared for, and where they can learn a trade and become useful citizens.
But what is a BOYS' TOWN? It's a little city in which a boy finds all he requires: a sheltering home, an elementary school, a vocational training centre, every facility for sports and physical development, healthy surroundings, entertainments, and social training which makes him a loyal and reliable citizen of his country. It is meant primarily for boys whose conditions deny them most of these advantages, and who might grow up alongside more fortunate comrades without sharing the same promising future.
A picturesque site has been kindly presented to BOYS' TOWN by His Lordship, Bishop Olcomendy at the 9 ½ mls. Bukit Timah Road. The levelling, turfing and drainage necessary for the three terraces have been carried out. Funds are now being collected to start building. The Brothers of St. Gabriel, recently formed into a legal Corporation, will ensure perpetuity of staff and management and maintain the aims and traditions of BOYS' TOWN.
* * *
The TOWN will comprise at first the following: a Hostel with modern sanitation for approximately 400 boarders; a Trade School for 300 apprentices; commercial courses for 100 students; an Elementary English School for 250 boys; a Sick Bay, a hall, two pavilions for indoor sports and games, two full-size playing grounds, a gymnasium, a swimming pool, and a reasonable area for agricultural requirements and training.
The technical courses will include: general mechanics: fitting, forging, welding and motoring; carpentry and joinery, printing and book-binding, electricity, tailoring, shoemaking and other trades thought practicable. The commercial courses will cover book-keeping typewriting and shorthand. The Elementary English School will be a complement to the training given in the workshops. It will of course take time for these sections to come into operation, but as the scheme gradually develops, the sections will be started.
It is hoped that firms will come forward and find in BOYS' TOWN a nucleus of apprentices who will be suitable for employment and so may fall in with their requirements. They might even reserve a whole section of the school for their own use as skilled artisans.
On behalf of all the children who will join Boys' Town in years to come we wish to thank most sincerely all the people who have helped and are going to help to erect "this town". Just as we benefited from the kindness and support of many divers persons to build our lives as they stand, these lads will prepare and build their future on the rock of our charity, generosity and co-operation. Contributions can be sent to : THE TREASURER, SINGAPORE BOYS' TOWN, P.0.B. 730
The Malayan Catholic Newsletter, September 10, 1950