BUKIT BROWN CEMETERY - Protect what's left of cultural value

ST Forum

Jun 11, 2011

Protect what's left of cultural value

I AM deeply saddened to learn the fate of Bukit Brown cemetery ('Bukit Brown to make way for housing'; May 30) and would like to hope it would be preserved instead.

The place has never failed to inspire us with its natural beauty and sense of history. The weathered tombstones, with a few dating as far back as the mid-18th century, are some of the most enduring historical monuments that Singapore has. The names and faces engraved on the stones tell stories about men and women across more than a century of Singapore's history.

In recent years, we have seen the rapid construction of new parks, gardens, museums and heritage centres in an attempt to beautify and energise the city. The Gardens by the Bay and the Singapore ArtScience Museum are two recent additions to this national project.

At the same time though, our country needs to safeguard the things of beauty and history that it already has. No picture or artefact resting in a museum can offer an experience comparable to that of Bukit Brown.

We understand how land-scarce Singapore is and why many places, despite their environmental and historical significance, have been cleared. It is because we have lost much of our natural environment and cultural memories that we should try to protect what is left at Bukit Brown.

Once lost, it is lost forever.

Erika Lim (Ms)