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History from the Hills - Episode 1




Bukit Brown Cemetery was the focus of attention when in 2012, the government announced that about 5,000 graves would be exhumed to make way for new roads. Facing public outcry, a month later in March 2012, the government reduced the number to 3,746 graves being removed.
Established on 1st January 1922, Bukit Brown Cemetery was a piece of land which used to belong to George Henry Brown (hence, Bukit Brown). After being taken over by the government, the land was converted into a cemetery following pressure from the Chinese public for a municipal cemetery. And by 1929, just barely 7 years after being established, Bukit Brown was the final resting place for over 40% of all Chinese burials.
Presently, Bukit Brown holds more than 100,000 graves, and many of them are unmarked or unclaimed. There is a ground level action, albeit slowly, to catalogue and link them back with families whose ancestors might be buried there. The government has announced that by 2040, the cemetery will be no longer, replaced by housing -- such is the necessity in land-scarce Singapore.

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