The Straits Times
Nov 18, 2017
By Lester Hio
The Singapore Heritage Society (SHS) launched the Bukit Brown Wayfinder trail on Nov 18, 2017. It provides detailed signs and write-ups of tombs along parts of the cemetery. ST PHOTO: RAKESH KUMAR
SINGAPORE - History buffs can now make their own way through a trail of 25 tombs at Bukit Brown Cemetery, as the first self-guided trail of the area opens to the public.
The Singapore Heritage Society (SHS) launched the Bukit Brown Wayfinder trail on Saturday morning (Nov 18). It provides detailed signs and write-ups of tombs along parts of the cemetery.
The tombs, located at Blocks 1 and 3 of Bukit Brown Cemetery, were specially chosen because they are easily accessed along well-worn paths and contain diverse bits of Singapore's history and heritage, said the society.
These include the tomb of prominent businessman Ong Sam Leong and his family, which is the largest one, spanning 600 sq m - about the size of seven four-room HDB flats.
Other tombs include that of Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation founder Tan Ean Kiam, and a mysterious "cemented tomb" with a mound made of cement, the reason for which still eludes researchers.
The trail can be accessed through Lorong Halwa, which lies at the portion of Bukit Brown Cemetery still unaffected by the construction of a major eight-lane road. The Land Transport Authority had razed parts of Bukit Brown to connect the MacRitchie Viaduct to Adam Flyover.
Visitors can download a 115-page online booklet from the SHS website which details the story and history of each tombstone, as well as walking maps of the trail and recommended routes to take.
The trail also contains information on the major rites and rituals still practised in Bukit Brown, as well as the flora and fauna that make up the cemetery's landscape.
The Wayfinder trail is the result of a multi-agency work group chaired by the Ministry of National Development, along with the Urban Redevelopment Authority, National Parks Board and the Land Transport Authority, together with volunteer groups SHS and All Things Bukit Brown.
Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee, who launched the trail, said the trail is another way for the public to access the history and heritage of Bukit Brown.
"This Wayfinder trail supplements the very intense volunteering work by the volunteers, who continue to lead regular walks to introduce Bukit Brown to Singaporeans and visitors," said Mr Lee, who is also Second Minister for National Development.
Said SHS president Jack Lee: "The Wayfinder brings to life - so to speak - the people resting in the cemetery." Added Dr Lee: "We are privileged and grateful that some of these people's descendants have shared with us precious family photographs and oral histories for the Wayfinder."
Download the Wayfinder here: