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18 Dec 2017 171 views
 
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photoblog image Bukit Brown Cemetery 2

Bukit Brown Cemetery 2

George Henry Brown, a trader with the British East India company, in India, came to Singapore in 1847 and built his abode at Mount Pleasant, not far from Bukit Brown. I am not sure if he struck out successfully or whether he became a very influential person, but the name Bukit Brown caught on and stuck on. At some point of time, this land was purchased by Wee Hee and then by a Chettiar (originating from Chettinad area of India and mostly engaging as money lenders who typically lent money for mortgages). Then it was  eventually bought over by 3 brothers (they were not actual brothers, but they belonged to the same Ong clan). They created the Hokkien Ong clan in Singapore and their vision was to have a place where the living could reside and the departed ancestors could be buried, including those from the poorer sections of the Ong clan.

 

Things of interest to be seen here:

1. Cavity painted red: if you see closely, there is a small oval cavity on the (when viewed as seen) right, which contains a picture of the deceased. On the left, there is a vacant cavity. That implies that space was catered for his wife to join him eventually, but in the end she was not buried here.

 

2. Brace of Spirits: there are two moss covered figures, facing each other, said to be the Jade Maiden and the Golden Boy. It should be noted that, standing with the back to the grave, all males occupy the left and all females occupy the right. By the same distinction, the gentleman is buried to the left and space for his wife to the right (when imagining with the back to the grave).

 

3. Earth God: at the left, partly hidden by the lioness, is an altar dedicated to the Earth God. When descendants of the buried visit the grave, they typically light incense sticks to the Earth God, to denote gratitude that the deity allowed the grave to be tracked and accessed by the living.

 

4. Guardian Lions: again, the lioness will always occupy the position on the right (she is depicted with one paw over a cub) and the lion will always occupy the position on the left (he is depicted with a paw on a globe, representing the world). 

Bukit Brown Cemetery 2

George Henry Brown, a trader with the British East India company, in India, came to Singapore in 1847 and built his abode at Mount Pleasant, not far from Bukit Brown. I am not sure if he struck out successfully or whether he became a very influential person, but the name Bukit Brown caught on and stuck on. At some point of time, this land was purchased by Wee Hee and then by a Chettiar (originating from Chettinad area of India and mostly engaging as money lenders who typically lent money for mortgages). Then it was  eventually bought over by 3 brothers (they were not actual brothers, but they belonged to the same Ong clan). They created the Hokkien Ong clan in Singapore and their vision was to have a place where the living could reside and the departed ancestors could be buried, including those from the poorer sections of the Ong clan.

 

Things of interest to be seen here:

1. Cavity painted red: if you see closely, there is a small oval cavity on the (when viewed as seen) right, which contains a picture of the deceased. On the left, there is a vacant cavity. That implies that space was catered for his wife to join him eventually, but in the end she was not buried here.

 

2. Brace of Spirits: there are two moss covered figures, facing each other, said to be the Jade Maiden and the Golden Boy. It should be noted that, standing with the back to the grave, all males occupy the left and all females occupy the right. By the same distinction, the gentleman is buried to the left and space for his wife to the right (when imagining with the back to the grave).

 

3. Earth God: at the left, partly hidden by the lioness, is an altar dedicated to the Earth God. When descendants of the buried visit the grave, they typically light incense sticks to the Earth God, to denote gratitude that the deity allowed the grave to be tracked and accessed by the living.

 

4. Guardian Lions: again, the lioness will always occupy the position on the right (she is depicted with one paw over a cub) and the lion will always occupy the position on the left (he is depicted with a paw on a globe, representing the world). 

comments (19)

  • Ray
  • Thailand
  • 18 Dec 2017, 00:15
Thank you, Ayush...very informative and appreciated.
Ayush Basu: I am pleased I could share some info on cultural and social aspects, new even to me despite being here for a while now, Ray.
That is really interesting.
Ayush Basu: I found it very interesting to be honest, Michael.
This lovely green blends in nicely with the setting.
Ayush Basu: Either that or it is over saturated with greens again... darn my monitor! grin
  • Lisl
  • England
  • 18 Dec 2017, 06:38
A very interesting write-up to this unusual picture, Ayush
Ayush Basu: Much of this is new even to me despite being here in Singapore for a while now, Lisl.
So there really IS rhyme and reason to death, Ayush!?!
Ayush Basu: Well it would appear so, once all the backstories were explained to me, Ginnie.
  • Chris
  • Not Nowhere
  • 18 Dec 2017, 06:56
Amazing stuff..
Ayush Basu: Quite fascinating... for those who do not find the place eerie, Chris.
  • Astrid
  • Netherlands
  • 18 Dec 2017, 07:34
Amazing symbolism here and that is quite the burial place.
Ayush Basu: All thanks to the engaging and experienced leader of the walk, Astrid. Thank you.
Thanks for explaining all the symbolism Ayush
Ayush Basu: I am pleased I could share some info on cultural and social aspects, new even to me despite being here for a while now, Bill.
  • gutteridge
  • Somewhere in deep space
  • 18 Dec 2017, 08:32
The Brits were rather fond of conquering parts of the world and then finding a spot to call Mount Pleasant.
Ayush Basu: Yes, it had to be quite widely used in their vocabulary, Chad smile
  • Elaine-
  • Canada
  • 18 Dec 2017, 09:07
very interesting how people of different creeds and cultures interpret reality... thanks for the story!
Ayush Basu: Thank you for the kind appreciation, Elaine. I find the backstory fascinating.
Très belle composition et j'adore la végétation luxuriante en arrière plan.
Bonne journée
Ayush Basu: Merci, Pascale. I completely agree with your observation and I like it a lot too! TO my eyes, it was very soothing.
  • Louis
  • South Africa
  • 18 Dec 2017, 11:44
Very interesting stuff in your information write-up. It just emphasises what a multi-national (origin wise) group populates Singapore.
Ayush Basu: You are right, Louis. There are indeed several communities intertwined in the history of Singapore. I found it interesting myself because some things I knew, but many things not. The guide was really good in his delivery too.
As previously said, the design is very nice. It is inviting for relatives to spend time there.
Ayush Basu: It is slightly out of the way and for some, it could be a bit eerie, Mary. I am perfectly fine with it though.
This is so interesting, thanks for taking time out to explain this all.
Ayush Basu: Thank you for the kind appreciation, Brian.
  • Anne
  • United Kingdom
  • 18 Dec 2017, 15:31
What an intricate memorial, thank you for providing the interesting information.
Ayush Basu: I am pleased you like it, Anne.
Ha ha... We call this Fengshui. wink
Ayush Basu: I will take your word for it, LC.
  • Alan
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 19 Dec 2017, 16:52
Thanks for describing this and explaining the various elements.
Ayush Basu: It was enlightening for me too, Alan.
irealy enjoyed your history about Bukit Brown and the description of the monument Ayush...
OH1 and it's a great image as well....petersmile
Ayush Basu: Thank you as always, Peter. I am pleased you enjoyed it, just as I enjoyed writing about something that was new and the thought process behind it was explained to me.
Fascinating stuff, Ayush!
Ayush Basu: A few more coming up before this visit wraps up, Tom.

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