If you asked for Leigh, you’ll probably be directed to the eight dozen “Lees” in school. Yes, Lees were a dime a dozen! You should ask for the sarong boy…I got this name very early in school.

PE or physical education was one of two high points of the school week. The other was ‘story time’ but that is another story. PE was the last subject on Wednesdays. I don’t know why they called it a ‘subject’ as we did not learn anything. We only played.

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Now you know why I came to be called the sarong boy! I suppose it’s a lot better than sarong party boy!

*** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2011 ***



  1. That is fascinating, this story. We did not have to wear school uniforms so I escaped that one. When I was six we lived in Texas, and like you, I do not remember any of the names of the teachers, or even the other students – my family moved out of that city shortly and so I lost the contacts. I don’t believe we had PE until we were older; our play time was called recess but I cannot remember a single recess. What we did instead was we would learn some dances. An American folk dance called the square dance, and a silly children’s dance called the Hokey Pokey.
    So you see, even not sharing your exact memories evoked equivalent ones for me. Thank you.

    1. When I embarked on the Mechanic Leigh series, I harboured several aims. One was to share a bygone era in Singapore and another was to elicit childhood memories from others – I very welcome your contribution.

      There are so many parallels in our childhood – no matter where we grow up, I reckon.

      We had ‘recess’ – a twenty minute break to hit the ‘tuck shop’ – cafeteria. Physical education was a separate subject, ostensibly to toughen children and ingrain in them a love of sports.

      I enjoyed your sharing. Dances and Hokey Pokey….Hmmm, that is interesting. Glad that my post evoked some memories for you 🙂

      Cheers, Eric

      (P/s Have you thought of posting the episodes in your life with regards to the challenges you faced with your name – only if it doesn’t rake up old hurts and you see the amusing aspect of it. Your experiences are probably quite unique and one never know what similar stories are floating out there in people’s lives)

      1. Hmmmm. I hadn’t thought about it, but I will. I am old enough now that the hurts of my childhood are healed, so it would not be a painful thing. Thank you for suggesting it.

  2. Yap, just like the one pair of shoes we have back in the old days and you use chalk to cover the stains. Nice to have such incidents recalled and recaptured those moment. Very memorable.

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