Old Tao Nan School

Old Tao Nan School

Old Tao Nan School

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The Old Tao Nan School (Chinese: 旧道南学校) is a historic building in Singapore, located along Armenian Street in the Museum Planning Area, within the Central Area in Singapore's central business district. The building was a wing of the Asian Civilisations Museum. The other wing of the museum is located at the Empress Place Building on the north bank of the Singapore River. It is now the Peranakan Museum.


Tao Nan School was set up by three local Chinese philanthropists of the Singapore Hokkien Association (Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan) in 1906 and founded the ideal of preserving Chinese culture and heritage. It had premises first at Siam House on North Bridge Road. When it relocated to Armenian Street in 1912, the school switched its medium of education from Hokkien to Mandarin, an unprecedented event in Singapore at that time.

Tan Kah Kee, a wealthy Chinese leader, was one of the 110 founding members of the school. He served for 12 years as the school's president. He received a good amount of his funding from Oei Tiong Ham, a sugar tycoon, whose donation of $10,000 paid for the plot of land on which Tao Nan School was built. Tan Kah Kee himself contributed much money to the school as well as other Chinese schools.

Tao Nan School has produced many remarkable Chinese leaders, among them Lee Kong Chian, a prominent businessman, philanthropist and patron of education.

During the Japanese Occupation (1942–1945), the school was closed. It reopened in October 1945...
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