Update of news and articles on Bukit Brown

January 2015

It was around Sep 2006 when Charles and I was tipped off of a mysterious tomb in a carpark in Joo Chiat.

We went to investigate at that time.

What lies beneath a bush in a carpark in Joo Chiat?



It was a half buried tomb of a lady



From the tomb picture, one can see that the ancestral place mentioned in the grave is Kinmen.  there is also a surname Lee inscribed in the grave as well.



A closer look at the picture show the name Madam Koh Ngean Koo and the year inscribed as 1934.

She should be a nonya based on the jewellery she was wearing.  Why was her tombstone in a Joo Chiat carpark?



We asked those who lived nearby about this mysterious tombstone.  Some said that this used to be a Malay cemetery and Mdm Koh was related to a Malay family and so was buried there.

Some people would come here, gave offerings and ask for 4D.

There is a possibility raised by Charles that this tombstone may have been implanted and that there is no body buried there at all.

This is because the tomb appear to have been broken off along the ridges with the cement as seen here:



A 1958 map of the place show that the area is not a cemetery at that time.

As we could not get any more information,  I lighted up some candles and paid my respects to her.  Let us solve the mystery so you can rest in peace, I said to her at that time.

Sometime later Shin Min News,  Wan Bao and even TV On the beat showcased this mysterious tomb, but nobody knew the answer.

I would think of this mysterious tomb and the lady often,  as the photo was so clear that it quite imprinted on my mind .

It is now 2015,  8 years after we investigated the grave.

As typical of other years,  on New Year Day, I would give offering and thanks at the temples near my house.

This time,  I decided to go to a Buddhist temple.  After praying, I went to take a look at the columbarium.   There are thousands of urns there.

My eyes did a quick scan.  A picture on the urn looks familiar .



Yes, it is the mysterious lady on the Joo Chiat tomb.

The words on the urn mentioned that Mdm Koh Ngean Koo was exhumed from Bukit Brown Cemetery on 29 Oct 1982.

I did a quick check on the burial registry and quickly find the burial entry:



It confirmed the name of Koh Ngean Koo who died on 30 March 1934 at the age of 29 years.  She was the wife of Lee Keng Kee, confirming the Lee character on the tombstone.

So 6 years after I paid my respects to her tombstone in a carpark in Joo Chiat, I have solved the mystery. She was actually exhumed from Bukit Brown cemetery
in 1982, and a piece of her tombstone was not crushed but saved by somebody, who probably felt the heart not to destroy the headstone containing the nice picture.

There are other things housed together next to the tombstone, so it must be somebody, some karang guni perhaps who collected old discarded goods.





It is never too late to solve a mystery, and a good start to another great year ahead.

A happy and healthy new year to everyone for 2015.


Zaobao News Jan 1, 2015



郁达文写的“星洲书店”。(作者提供)
薛振传

拜读《联合早报》记者谢燕燕去年12月28日报道的《诗人冯蕉衣碑文出自郁达文手笔?》,个人认为冯蕉衣碑文出自郁达夫手笔的可能性不高。这几个字的书体神韵秀逸,严守帖派的运笔和造型,不太像郁达夫的字体。

日本投降后的新加坡,要找到郁达夫的书法或题字,几乎难上加难。他题写匾额的星洲书店,曾是大坡牛车水的著名地标。20年前,当这座建筑还没被拆掉之时,我曾赶去拍照作记录。两年前,又看到郁达夫两件作品的照片:一件是于丁丑年(1937年)元旦题赠广洽法师,另一件是在1939年冬送给报社友人石蕴真。第一件现藏在广洽纪念馆内。

虽然郁达夫不是位书法家,但其瘦长的字体却流露出了他的真情与才气。年长的读者应记得他的“各记兴亡家国恨,悲鸿作画我题诗”和“曾因酒醉鞭名马,生怕情多累美人”等名句。虎豹别墅内有数座牌坊遗留下他撰的楹联,分别由吴纬若和许允之等名书法家题。

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