College Green-Dunearn Road Hostels |

College Green-Dunearn Road Hostels

College Green comprises of 62 terraced-houses over a 35, 300 sqm estate.

Layout of the College Green

Today it is home to international graduate students from over 50 countries. Located at Dunearn Road, it is walking distance from the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Bukit Timah campus.

The 35,300 sqm estate contains 62 terraced-houses with 248 fully-equipped rooms. A community of students from more than 50 countries is staying in College Green at any one time. Its convenient location, coupled with well-equipped facilities and serene landscape have fostered a conducive living environment for NUS graduate students, especially students from the LKY School.

History

It was first opened as Dunearn Road Hostels (DRH) in 1952 for the undergraduates of the then University of Malaya.1 In 1981, DRH was closed as a result of the merger of University of Singapore and Nanyang University. 2

DRH was then leased out by the Singapore Land Authority as rental houses to the public. The Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy leased the site in 2009 and reopened it as College Green in 2010. 3

College Green is a site of historical significance for both Malaysia and Singapore especially during its early years. During the 29 years when it was known as the Dunearn Road Hostels, it saw the big floods of 1962. In the floods of 11 January 1962, when floodwaters reached up to 3 feet in the Bukit Timah and Dunearn Road area, DRH served as a relief site.4

DRH was also home to many illustrious men from both Singapore and Malaysia during their university days. In a 1982 National Day celebration speech by former Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Chua Sian Chin,5 recounted his times in DRH and the many outstanding individuals which came from his former hostel.

Prominent individuals such as former President of Singapore, S R Nathan (1999 – 2011), Malaysia’s Democratic Alliance Party’s third chairperson Karpal Singh (2004 – 2014)6  and former Malaysian minister of transport, Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik (1986 – 2003)7  were some of his former hostel mates.

Within the volatile political climate of the 60s and 70s, DRH was a hotbed of political activity. In the same speech, Mr Chua sketched out the turmoil during that period, highlighting the Malayan Emergency and the constitutional struggles that shaped the climate of student activities then.

Students including former Malaysian Police Chief Tun Haniff Omar recounted how the students from the hostel would ‘go to Fullerton Square listen to Lee Kuan Yew’s lunch-time public rallies’ 8. Others, such as James Puthucheary, M K Rajakumar, Lim Hock Siew and Singaporean poet Edwin Thumboo were directly involved in politics, participating actively in the University Socialist Club9 and its magazine, Fajar10.

In 1954, DRH was raided as some of its students ran an anti-colonial article entitled ‘Aggression in Asia’ in Fajar11. The article called for independence from the United Kingdom which resulted in a sedition charge from the authorities. Some of the editors and associates of the club, which lived in DRH, were brought in for questioning. The charges were ultimately overturned.12

Accounts by the former residents also gave a glimpse into the boisterous student lives. S R Nathan’s account in his book ‘An Unexpected Journey’ painted an intellectually stimulating and exciting student life.

Fittingly, DRH was reopened as College Green on the 9th of April 2010 by Mr Nathan himself.13

List of prominent Malaysian Political Figures/Businessmen/Civil Servants