I had the opportunity to visit the Bukit Brown Cemetery recently, in the company of a very knowledgeable and engaging guide. To set things straight, Bukit Brown is actually not one single cemetery, it is in fact two different cemeteries (Kopi Sua and Lau Sua), in use from 1872. Lau Sua was built by the Hokkiens. Kopi Sua, also a Hokkien cemetery, was onced owned by a Hokkien Kongsi (a clan association). In an estimated area of 390 acres, there are some 90,000 graves.
Here we are looking at a Hokkien grave. One can tell because of the closed, round almost horse hoof shaped, brick lined mound at the back. Hokkien graves usually will also have the names of husbands and wives inscribed, along with surviving children and even grand-children. A Teochew grave, by contrast, would have a slightly more open mound. Furthermore, for Teochew graves, a man's grave, in addition to the wife's name, should also include names of any women he may have had dalliances with.
In Singapore, Hokkien graves outnumber those of the Teochew.
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