The St. Andrew’s Family has a very special announcement list called “Saints Do You Know?” Authored by old boy Yee Teck Peng, this veteran recalls the school’s heritage, points out alumni in the news and shares urgent news.
You can see him leading songs and toting a camera at school events and he also features current news from the St. Andrew’s family, including sporting, academic and special events.
Now in its 13th year, the newsletter has connected Saints with their beloved school and has brought joy to hearts of readers young and old, near and far.
“Thank you for all these years of dedication to St. Andrew’s School. I have always thoroughly enjoyed your articles and photos in the DYK list, especially the ones about the history of our School. Keep up the great work!” – Yew Chee Chien (SAS ’82)
- Simply send an empty email to: saintsDYKfirstname.lastname@example.org
- Or visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/saintsdyk/ to join and access the archives dating back to 1998
I’ve been managing this announcement list by Mr Yee Teck Peng, an old boy and former teacher of my alma mater St. Andrew’s School, for 13 years now. The effort began on 12 December 1998 when he was prompted by a report in The Straits Times about the fate of the Seafood Restaurant in The National Library compound – that same restaurant was the location of the St. Andrew’s School’s canteen when the school was in Stamford Road before we shifted over to Woodsville.
You see the school had shifted many times, and Mr Yee chronicled this in the second issue (he suggested further research at the time, and since 1998, there have been some updates):
Year – Institution, SITE
- 1862 – St Andrew’s Church Of England Mission School, CHIN CHEW STREET
- 1863 – St Andrew’s Church Of England Mission School, UPPER HOKKIEN STREET
- 1872 – St Andrew’s Church Of England Mission School, VICTORIA STREET
- 1875 – St Andrew’s School (Grant-in-Aid), STAMFORD ROAD
- 1940 – St Andrew’s School (Grant-in-Aid), WOODSVILLE
- 1978 – St Andrew’s Junior College, MALAN ROAD
- 1986 – St Andrew’s Secondary School, POTONG PASIR
- 1996 – St Andrew’s Junior School, FRANCIS THOMAS DRIVE
I did not know Mr Yee myself when this all started, but his nephew, Benjamin Yap, was my classmate and we had graduated from the secondary school in 1982 (I went on to the JC). We were still in touch 16 years later and Ben alerted me to his uncle’s newsletter that December 1998.
At the time, Mr Yee was sending the newsletter out by fax as well as email and I was delighted by the content of the issues. At the time, I had begun to actively use OneList to initiate the natural history newsletters Habitatnews and EcoTax after spending five months, experiencing and observing its use in the local macintosh list, MUGS.
So I emailed Mr Yee to offer to manage his subscribers and 13 years later, the list is still going strong. Mr Yee still posts regularly and I understand it goes to all the school staff now. The school is an integral part of who he is – was playing rugby with prowess for the school before I was born and went on to teach there, was housemaster and lived nearby. Actively engaged, he attends major school functions, leads the feisty singing of the school song and even chips in with relief teaching (see this tribute in The Village Online). Indeed in a recent email, the principal of St. Andrew’s Secondary School, Lucy Tay, aptly calls him the school’s “Town Cryer”.
So my job has been to iron out IT problems, and manage subscriptions. Onelist was taken over by Yahoogroups and with spam mechanisms kicking in, inexperienced users and email migrations, the job regularly drove me nuts with bouncing accounts and spam folder misdirection. With greater email literacy, I now leave it to the Yahoogroups mechanism to reactivate bouncing email accounts which makes it more manageable for me.
Three years ago, in the 10th year of the list, I emailed subscribers to invite their congratulations for Mr Yee. I just did so again last week n the occasion of the 13th anniversary of the inception of the “Saints Do You Know?” newsletter in 1999. I reproduced the ten earliest issues and responses streamed in from many Commonwealth corners of the globe as well as from young and old ones locally. Mr Yee told me he read those comments with tears in his eyes and I felt happy he had received these acknowledgements directly. Teachers sow seeds but do not always witness fruition.
13 years of the SaintsDYK newsletter by Mr Yee
(number of messages per month)
In the early years, the list was private as Mr Yee cautiously posted the newsletters out. With time and demand, more have become comfortable and with the younger ones, there is a desire for better public access to archives and better presentation; however changing anything would be painful as there are more than 1,600 messages in the archives! I’ll let others try their hand at converting that (and provide encouragement) while focusing on ensuring Mr Yee keeps chugging along while blocking tackles that might appear his way.
Many Saints who might want to receive news about the school still are unaware the list exists. In the meantime, the St. Andrew’s family has a Facebook page with more than 3.500 subscribers. So recently we have begun to advertise the list to members there and in our own circles. I penned the blurb above and added a quote from my buddy Yew Chee Chien from the 10th anniversary congratulatory messages and this was posted to the Saints Alumni webpage and the St. Andrew’s Family Facebook page by Ho Koon Leong who manages those.
Right now, there are at least two projects to chronicle some of the school’s history. And a growing effort to flesh out Mr Yee’s articles and post them to the web. If all fails, the archives in yahoogroups will provide the raw material for anyone who comes along in future to tackle specific topics. In the meantime, I look forward to my next issue of the Saints DYK newsletter.
Mr Yee and I at Mandai Crematorium
there to pay our last respects to Mrs Priscilla Krempl, RIP
N . Sivasothi
SAJS ’78, SASS ’82, SAJC ’84
List Manager for Mr Yee Teck Peng’s
Saints “Do You Know?” mailing list