Update of news and articles on Bukit Brown

June 2017

Published by Kyle Malinda - White in Culture on Jun 24, 2017

The largest Chinese cemetery complex outside of China with over 200,000 bodies is right here in Singapore, and if you zoom past Lornie Road, you won’t even get a chance to see it because of all the greenery that has overgrown on the complex.



It was only when the Singapore government announced plans to construct a dual four-lane cutting through Bukit Brown Cemetery that Bianca Polak, a project manager from Germany, saw in the newspapers that heritage enthusiasts were promoting conservation efforts to preserve the area.



Her intrigue led her to join in a tour of the cemetery and her experience learning how to read grave inscriptions led her to keep coming back for more tours and joining the volunteer tour guides for lunch.

“All the people that come for our tours three times, and join us for lunch three times – they have to start guiding,” interjected Catherine Lim in jest.

Catherine, and now Bianca, are part of the Brownies – a loosely-knit organic group of volunteers concerned with the heritage and standing of the Bukit Brown Cemetery. Their Facebook page and website, All Things Bukit Brown, is a convenient banner to use whenever they organise activities, said Catherine to Popspoken.



However, when these enthusiasts bandied to ask the government to reconsider their development plans to demolish Bukit Brown Cemetery and turn it into a housing estate, they were branded as naysayers despite sending a joint letter in 2012.

“So, shot down. Never mind,” said Catherine.

The enthusiasts then decided to go for a one-weekend crash course by researcher and tomb hunter Raymond Goh and started to walk the grounds with enough information to be able to relate the stories of the tombs to one another.

Now, the tours are listed as a must-do in Singapore on TripAdvisor, with weekly guided tours held by the Brownies for free and a steady stream of information constantly being unearthed by researchers and descendants of those who lay in Bukit Brown.

“It’s not just a grave,” said Catherine. “It’s a story of a person’s life, his contributions and the other spaces connected with this life.”



Among those buried in Bukit Brown include Dr Lee Choo Neo, one of the first female Chinese doctors in Singapore, as well as Khoo Seok Wan, a major fund contributor to the formation of the Singapore Chinese Girls School.

One of the stories collated was from a descendant in England whose father grew up in Singapore. Falling ill from old age, her father couldn’t find the grave of his father when they returned once in Singapore to look around the Bukit Brown complex.

An email from the descendant to the Brownies and some searching later, the grave was found and the descendant’s father was gratified at seeing photos of the grave.

“She kept on stressing that it’s good for the father to have some closure,” said Catherine.



Despite the challenging terrain, Bianca gets a sense of gratification when young Singaporeans begin taking an interest in the place, from the history of their ancestors to customs and practices that relate to their upbringing.

“I hope that at least people get to know about it before it’s completely gone, and at least some of it can be kept or preserved in some form for future generations to learn about this place because it is a world heritage that is on the verge of extinction,” she said.

Signs of this are beginning to emerge, with self-guided trails on the cemetery complex to be launched this October in partnership with the Brownies and the Singapore Heritage Society. Interested parties can sign up here.



Signs are being put up on the Bukit Brown complex as part of new self-guided trails (Photo: Singapore Heritage Society/Facebook)

The National Heritage Board also began working with the Brownies two years after the petition to preserve the complex was sent, with the Brownies being asked to do guided walks during the commemoration ceremony for World War II.

The Brownies are hopeful the government will give due consideration to the cemetery but in the meantime, they continue with their work, said Catherine.

“The more people know about Bukit Brown, the more they feel for Bukit Brown not as just a place of history, but as a place that is important for their identity,” she said, while suggesting maybe re-looking the cemetery’s future as a park.

“Who knows?”


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Bukit Brown Cemetery is on the World Monuments Watch - a cemetery where Singapore's pioneers lay to rest, with centuries of history soon to be demolished for a new highway and a housing estate.
But one group is determined to save it for its rich history and stories of identity. Find out what the Brownies in all things Bukit Brown are doing here:

https://www.facebook.com/all-things-Bukit-Brown-290489694353282/?fref=mentions

View the photos of Bukit Brown on our Instagram page. Follow All Things Bukit Brown on Facebook here and join the Bukit Brown Facebook group here to find out more about weekly trails conducted free-of-charge.

 All other images from Popspoken

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Source : http://popspoken.com/culture/2017/06/bukit-brown

Zaobao  Jun 22, 2017



吴安全(53岁)在新加坡小有名气,因为他有一个很特别的嗜好——寻墓。

他和弟弟吴安龙(48岁)创办亚洲超自然侦探协会,专门清理并找寻老旧的坟碑,并从中探究与新加坡相关联的建国历史,也曾因此被英国广播公司(BBC)列为2016年“全球50位最具启发性的人物”名单其中一员。

他最近在武吉布朗找到了一座164年历史的古墓,除了年份久远之外,更意外的发现是此墓属于相信是新加坡第一代华人领袖之— —— 梁瓚元的墓碑。据了解,梁瓚元是当初庆德会的创始人之一,与天福宫的建立也非常有关系,属于陈笃生那一代的重要华社领袖。

武吉布朗虽然很大,但我也不是从来没有来过这个区域。但由于清明节时会有专人来清理一些墓碑,所以我意外在被清理的其中一座墓碑旁,发现了这座古老墓碑”,吴安全受访时兴奋地表示。他也说到,一切似乎是冥冥中注定,他最近也刚好看到一些相关梁瓚元的资料,所以印象深刻。于是当“凤坡”、“敦厚”、“梁瑞鹏”和“梁芳兰”等字眼出现在墓碑上是,他知道他终于找到了。

那下一步是什么呢?

吴安全说,他做那么多年的寻墓工作,最大的心愿其实是能够帮先辈与后代做一个联系。所以当他找到这位对新加坡贡献良多的先辈的墓碑时,他问自己的第一个问题就是,“他的后代在哪里?”

庆德会、天福宫,还有后代子孙的名字都是我们的线索,但以年代来计算,梁瓚元的后代应该已开支散叶到第八、九代了。为了扩大搜索范围,我们通过《新明日报》刊登新闻,希望梁瓚元的后代能看见。另外,毕竟是创会人之一,庆德会也许会有线索。

于是,zaobao.sg数码记者再次展开了圆梦之旅,希望能为梁瓚元和吴安全,找回遗失的最后一块拼图。

若你有梦想希望《完成一个梦》制作团队帮忙实现,可电邮至zbevents@sph.com.sg。

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