Founded in 1912 by philanthropists Lai Fat Fur, Venpin and Ng Cheng Hin, the Chinese Middle School (Shing Fah), now situated at Dr Joseph Rivière street, Chinatown, Port-Louis, has indelibly played a major role in the integration of the Chinese Diaspora into the rainbow nation of the island. Between abacus and chopsticks, its primary evocation was to inculcate ‘Chineseness’among the sons and daughters of the early immigrants ; it had coincidentally the same social and educational function as the baitka for the Hindu community. It was served as transmitter of Chinese learning and culture. To mark its 99th year of its existence, a grand dinner will be organized at Heen Foh Hall on 12th November 2011. This celebration is important to remind our youth that against all odds the Chinese Learning and Culture were implanted and watered and eventually flowered. We must cherish the idea of preserving this learning and culture. The role of the Chinese Middle School is determinant in such an epic struggle.
The Chinese Middle School has weathered many an ideological storm when China was in the throes of political turmoil. Decried by Le Cernéen and NMU as the “Centre d’endoctrination” during colonial domination, it has stood the test of time and has nevertheless become the watershed for the Chinese community. It has upheld the Chinese Culture steadfastly. Up to the early sixties, the Chinese Middle School was run on a daily basis with approximately a student-population of 1200. It became the Alma Mater of the majority of Chinese. It dispensed predominantly Chinese education. It was unique on African continent. It had pupils even from Reunion Island to be imbued with Chinese learning and culture.
By the early 1960s, however, enrolment in Chinese-medium school had declined significantly. Many have opted for western type of education. However, in spite of such handicap many students of Chinese medium school have outshone in various sectors of the economy. In 2009 the Chinese Middle School was awarded the medal of the City of Port Louis in recognition for its work done in the field of education. Besides education, the basket-ball pitch became the playing ground for the rising youth of the swinging 60s during their leisure hours before the advent of television on the island. Thrilling basket ball matches became crowd pullers. We nostalgically yearned for the glorious past of this institution. The Chinese Middle School even had a football team in the l940s ; they played a match at Line Barracks playground against the Muslim Scouts and won it by 2-1.
Today the Chinese Middle School is run on a weekly basis conducting classes on Saturday in the teaching of Mandarin and administered by a board of directors with Mr Tan Yung Shing GOSK as Chairman. “The celebration for this year is only a prelude. Next year it willl be more grandiose”, said Mr. Tang. Many old boys and girls have expressed their ardent wish to come to their Alma Mater next year to celebrate such a great event.