Update of news and articles on Bukit Brown

July 2013

Tedx Talk

How I found my home and heart in our Bukit Brown: Claire Leow 

Driven by a fascination with heritage, Claire Leow founded All Things Bukit Brown that became an integral part of her life and brought together a group of volunteers passionate about the Heritage, Habitat, History of Bukit Brown. Together, they raise awareness of this oldest Chinese cemetery in Singapore that is also the largest outside China. Claire has been a journalist for over 21 years and loves photography, community projects, travel and visiting historic sites. She has visited all the world's continents, including Antarctica.

About TEDxSingapore
TEDxSingapore celebrated its 4rd anniversary by curating our 21st TEDx event since our launch on 15 April 2009. "Our Future, We Will Make" asked What shall we strive for? What makes us successful? ...as a country, as a community, as a family, as individuals. What does success mean? What Singapore would we be proud to build for Singaporeans who will come after us? What deeply matters to you? What are our possibilities? Watch more talks and see photos from this event here: https://www.ted.com/tedx/events/8943

Zaobao forum
18 Jul 13

将武吉布朗发展为历史旅游景点

 新加坡是一个年轻的国家,有特色的历史遗迹不多。

 武吉布朗记载着新加坡从开埠至今的深远及丰厚的历史,且具有独特的南洋风味,是其他地方少见的,可说是新加坡一个少有、既珍贵又具有特色的历史遗迹,具有发展成为一个另类的历史旅游景点的条件。

 世界各国的帝皇将相陵墓,菲律宾的华人坟场,台湾一些大富大贵人士安葬的金宝山等等,都是闻名的旅游景点。

 虽然武吉布朗埋葬的不是帝王将相(当中有一些是满清时代中国的爱国志士以及曾为加坡做出重大贡献的人士);坟墓的建造并不宏伟壮观;或极尽奢华,令人惊叹,但由于新加坡当时特殊的历史背景,整个墓场的格式多彩缤纷,各异其趣。

 除了大部分不同方言族群不同格式的中式坟墓外,也可见到一些西式和日式的坟墓。而墓铭除了中文外,也有一些英文、荷兰文、日文、泰文的墓铭,甚至一些土生华人将口语罗马化或汉化的特殊文字刻为墓铭。这是其他地方所罕见的,对喜爱历史的本地及外地人士,具有一定的魅力。

 新加坡是一个多元种族的国家,如果能在坟场旁建造一个博物馆,以“坟山文化”为主题,集中介绍及展示有关新加坡各族坟山的历史;各族人士的丧葬文化(在中国看过以动画简单扼要地介绍帝皇陵墓的修建过程及丧葬仪式,生动有趣,很受游客喜爱);具有代表性的出土文物等等,展现新加坡这个多元种族国家这方面的历史文化,为这片历史遗迹注入新的生命力,也可作为国人,尤其是年轻一代新加坡人认识他族文化的历史教室,使坟山的存在更加有意义。

 新加坡不乏有才干的人士,希望有关当局能重新策划(至少能保留大部分重要的地段) ,别把这块有着丰富历史底蕴又深具特色的宝地给毁了。

 梁舒朗

AsiaOne
Jul 9, 2013

No plans to nominate Bukit Brown for World Heritage site

All attention is now focussed on the bid for the Singapore Botanical Gardens to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, said Mr Lawrence Wong. -AsiaOne

SINGAPORE - Government agencies are working to document and commemorate the memories of the Bukit Brown cemetery for future generations, Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Mr Lawrence Wong, said in a written Parliamentary reply on Tuesday.

Mr Wong was responding to a query by Ms Janice Koh on whether the Bukit Brown cemetery would qualify as a UNESCO Heritage Site.

While Mr Wong acknowledged that "there is heritage value in the Bukit Brown municipal cemetery," he added that all efforts are now focussed on the bid for the Singapore Botanical Gardens to be listed.

Below is the parliamentary reply, in full:

Ms Janice Koh:

To ask the Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (a) whether the Bukit Brown Municipal Cemetery meets the "Outstanding Universal Values" criteria to qualify as a UNESCO World Heritage site;(b) whether the Government will conduct a study to ascertain if the Bukit Brown cemetery meets these criteria; and (c) whether the Government will consider gazetting a portion of the Bukit Brown cemetery that is not designated for future residential development.

Mr Lawrence Wong:

We recognise that there is heritage value in the Bukit Brown municipal cemetery. This is why government agencies, including the National Heritage Board (NHB), have been working with experts and stakeholders on various efforts to document and commemorate the memories of Bukit Brown for future generations.

The NHB is also studying how the heritage of Bukit Brown can be preserved, taking into account future development plans for the area.

Not all sites with local heritage value will qualify as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The standards required by UNESCO are very stringent, especially to meet the criteria of “outstanding universal value”. This was why when the Ministry first explored the possibility of a UNESCO listing, it had engaged a technical expert to do a thorough and in-depth assessment to determine the site with the best chance of meeting the UNESCO criteria. As part of this process, we had done a consultation on possible sites that could be put up for the UNESCO bid.

At that time, none of our stakeholders had surfaced the Bukit Brown cemetery as a candidate for consideration. As I had mentioned previously in Parliament, having worked through an extensive process of identifying the Singapore Botanic Gardens as our first nomination for the UNESCO World Heritage Site, our efforts are now focussed on this bid.

This will also give us an opportunity to better understand UNESCO’s requirements and processes, before exploring other possibilities in the future. 

ST News

Jul 08, 2013

Bringing Bt Brown's history to life for the young

Efforts by volunteers, educators help students appreciate historical site


Overseas students from a three-week programme at the Future Cities Laboratory exploring Bukit Brown cemetery last month. Since the historical site popped up on the public radar in 2011, it has been attracting a younger crowd, with more than 20 schools organising trips there for their students. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG


By Amelia Teng


ONCE upon a time, it was only heritage and nature buffs who visited. But in recent years, Bukit Brown cemetery has been attracting a younger crowd.

The historical site popped up on the public radar after plans to build a highway cutting through it were announced in 2011.

Since then, more than 20 secondary schools, junior colleges and polytechnics have organised trips for students, guided by tomb explorer Raymond Goh and other volunteers.

In March, 450 Raffles Girls' School students visited the cemetery. "We wanted them to experience Bukit Brown, rather than hear and read about it," said teacher Regina Lee, 46.

Student Angelia Lau, 16, who was there for the first time, said: "The number of enthusiasts in Singapore who would go out of their way to educate others about what they are passionate about heartens me."

Temasek Junior College took 54 young people to the cemetery in May. Vice-principal Samuell Ang said the tour was an opportunity for students to "see the connections between issues discussed in lessons and the on-going preservation efforts of Bukit Brown".

In language arts and humanities classes, students learn about the effects of urbanisation on the environment through literary texts. After the tour, they are encouraged to write poems about history and memories.

"The learning journey really taught me how to appreciate our culture and roots as I never knew there was so much significance behind every tombstone," said student Caleb Chia, 16.

The cemetery has also attracted people from outside Singapore. Last month, Mr Goh gave a tour to 30 students who were here for a three-week summer programme at the Future Cities Laboratory, which researches urban planning.

Among them was 30-year-old Tomas Janusas, an architecture and city planning graduate from the University of California, Berkeley, who is doing his master's in the same subject in September. "It is one of the most emotionally, spiritually and historically charged places in Singapore I have visited so far," he said.

Some students have chosen to "document" the cemetery through projects.

For instance, Mr Goh was one of the interviewees in an 18-minute documentary produced last year by three former Nanyang Technological University students from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information - Mr Pedro Shiu, Ms Janie Chee and Ms Siti Nurbaya Rameh.

Mr Goh, 49, a regional director of a health-care company, has been conducting tours at the cemetery for the public since 2007.

He said he is glad younger people are showing an interest in the site. "It is where they learn things in an authentic setting, things that history textbooks don't say."

ateng@sph.com.sg

Schools interested in arranging tours can e-mail a.t.bukitbrown@gmail.com

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