Pulau Tekong - Rocky Hill

Rocky Hill Camp - June 2008

“Hey I got posted to Rocky Hill!”

“Wah you suay ah! So ulu! I heard that place very haunted some more!”


You got Posted to Rocky Hill!

This would be the kind of response an individual might get from his friends if he got posted to Rocky Hill Camp as a recruit, a trainee, a specialist or an officer.

Rocky Hill is a place in Pulau Tekong. Today, it is the home to Rocky Hill Camp where recruits from Yankee, Quebec and Zulu stayed (this might change in the future).

The Specialist Tower

Rocky Hill Camp used to be the home of the Specialists, the School of Infantry Specialists* (SISPEC) from 1999/2000 to 2006 until they moved back to Pasir Laba Camp. Today, the Specialist Tower still stands on the field in front of Rocky Hill Camp. (army guys still call it the “SISPEC Football Field”)

Sergeant Rocky

The statue that stood between and the Chevron Square in Pasir Laba Camp today was unveiled in Pulau Tekong in 2001.

An official Article about the Sergeant Rocky Statue which was unveiled in SISPEC (Tekong) in 2001, the statue was later moved to Pasir Laba together with SISPEC:

"Standing at 2.3m tall and made of solid bronze, the new Army Specialists' landmark stands guard over the School of Infantry Specialists (SISPEC) at Rocky Hill Camp on Pulau Tekong.

The towering statue was unveiled by Chief of Army, Major-General Ng Yat Chung, on 26 Sep.

The new landmark serves as an official monument that signifies public recognition of the confidence, determination, leadership and fighting spirit of the Army's Specialists.

It is a proud symbol of the Specialist Corps in the Army that will enhance the image of all specialists as committed frontline commanders of the Singapore Armed Forces."

-26 Sep 2001 "SISPEC Gets New Landmark" by Shawn Balakrishnan (Back Issues)"

The name, “Rocky Hill” is probably a result of Army talk in the past as a key feature on their maps, similar to the term “Chicken Feet” was being used to describe a junction that stretched out into four tracks in the shape of a chicken feet in Pulau Ubin. Another possibility is that it was Sergeant Rocky whom the name was derived from, but it could also be Rocky Hill, the statue, which was unveiled in 2001, got its name from. A road leading towards Chia Tong Quah Estate and the reservoir was named Rocky Road after the place.

Sergeant Rocky Sketches - 2008

More Sketches of Sergeant Rocky in Pasir Laba 2008.

Regardless, the name was more of a modern invention than a historical one, as it was not mentioned in the printed Map of Pulau Tekong in 1966 by the Directorate of National Mapping in 1964.

The area that is Rocky Hill today was still known as Kg. Batu Koyok, it is still being used in the maps of Tekong today, even though the kampong no longer exist. If you compare the 2008 Google Earth Map of Tekong and the 1964 Map, you will realize that Rocky Hill used to have a temple and Muslim cemetery on its grounds.

Map-made hills can be spotted at Batu Koyok today as a result of land reclamation and probably an effort to provide a variety of training grounds for our army. The process can be observed via Google Earth "Historical Images" feature.

The area south of Batu Koyok or rather below the old coastline is now a huge reclaimed land area. (Unsurprisingly referred to as “the Reclaimed Land” by army personnel) In between the Reclaimed Land and Batu Koyok is a canal that has formed after the reclamation.

Sphinx Bridge

A bridge named after the Sphinx Battery allows vehicles and soldiers to cross the canal. The Sphinx Battery was part of the 1942 Changi Fire Command.

It is not uncommon to spot wild boars crossing the tracks leading to the bridge as you make your way to the other side via tonner or rover. The bridge has been a favourite spot for the older uncles and soldiers who love fishing. Crabs and prawns are quite common. At certain periods of the day, there would be low tide and high tide. It is also a nice spot to observe the sunrise and sunset.

To know more about the Sphinx Battery, you can refer to http://www.fortsiloso.com/batteries/batteries.htm

*070410 UPDATE!

After submitting a question about Rocky Hill to ASK by NLB. I got a reply that showed another possiblity on how the name "Rocky Hill" came about.

The earliest mention of the name Rocky Hill from the press was a tragic one. It came from "a Coroner's Enquiry into the death of a recruit which mentioned the recruits started their run "from the pumphouse on top of Rocky Hill" (Chan Charmaine. NS Recruit died after running an extra 300m. The Straits Times, 25 July, 1984, Page 13)

Botak Hill, a hill is within the proximity of rocky hill with a height around 150m. Botak Hill could be a descriptive name that resulted from the rocky terrain around the area. "Batu" means rock or stone and the nearby Kg.Batu Koyok seemed to be named after a rock as well.

As time passes, Rocky Hill was adopted probably due a habit by army personnel to describe prominent features according in a descriptive manner. The rocky terrain around the area probably led the army personnel to call Rocky Hill during their trainings and exercises like how E-Shaped Knoll and Elephant Hill got their names.

Finally there are two books that might have content about Rocky Hill and Kg. Batu Koyok. They are:

History Pulau Tekong & Tian Kong Buddhist Temple by He Jin Huang. Published in 1993. RSING Chinese 959.57 HJH -[HIS], available in Lee Kong Chian Reference Library - Reference Singapore.

Yi Ge Xiao Shi De Ju Luo : Chong Gou Xin Jia Po De Guang Dao Zou Guo De Li Shi Dao Lu by Li Liang Shi. Published in 2009. RSING Chinese 959.57 LLS -[HIS]. Available in Lee Kong Chian Reference Library - Reference Singapore.

Many thanks to:

Pwee Kok Ann Timothy, Senior Reference Librarian of Lee Kong Chian Reference Library & A.S.K.


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