Foon Yew School

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Foon Yew School at its Silver Jubilee in 1938.

Foon Yew School is a Chinese school in Johor Bahru, founded in February 1, 1913 [1] by the Ngee Heng Kongsi of Johor, jointly with other Chinese. It presently consist of five primary schools with an enrolment of over 11,000 students and one high school with an enrolment of 6,900 students. Its first manager was Wong Ah Fook, with Lim Ah Siang as his deputy.


2.   Foon Yew School had its beginning as the Yok Choy School, established by the Kwong Siew Wai Kuan in 1907. Claases were held in the premises of the association and since lessons were taught in Cantonese, its pupils were drawn largely from the Cantonese community. Yok Choy School celebrated the first anniversary of the Republic of China in 1912 with a military style drill, a sports display, and a lantern procession.[1] These displays so impressed the other clan associations that their leaders came together to discuss the founding of a public school which would cater to the needs of the whole Chinese community and teach in standard Mandarin instead of dialect. Thus, Foon Yew School came into being.


3.   When the Ngee Heng Kongsi was dissolved with the implementation of the Societies Ordinance in Johor in 1916, its leader Lim Ah Siang's final duty for the Ngee Heng was to sign a bond for $30,000 for the winding up of the Kongsi which was required for the settlement of Ngee Heng’s liabilities and the disposal of its properties in the legalities of winding up. Lim Ah Siang died soon after executing the bond and it was his successor Lin Jin He who had to manage the disposal of Ngee Heng’s assets. A sum of $5,000 was spent on building a tomb on a site not far from their lodge into which the leaders of Ngee Heng deposited all their ritual and sacred objects including their ancestral tablets. The remaining balance of $30,000 was donated to Foon Yew School to establish an endowment fund, a substantial sum in those days and a windfall for the struggling school. A condition of the donation was that the school would perform the annual rituals of ancestor worship at the tomb during the two festivals of remembrance which are Qingming and Chongyang.