Bukit Brown also happens to be near the McRitchie Reservoir, which is part of a water catchment and supplies vital water to Singapore. Therefore, there were also public health concerns about rain water run off from the hill to the reservoir. The last burial here was in 1973, after which the area has remained untouched for decades. The main streets were still maintained by the municipal authorities, but most of the interior lanes, ornamental features such as gates and a fair bit of the graves themselves, were reclaimed by nature. A lot of birds of the region come here and it is home to many of the endangered species. Bird watching is therefore a big hit among nature buffs. Horse riders, from a nearby equestrian club, come over once in a while, mounted on their horses. Those who are not so faint hearted and desiring a bit of exercise, come out here too, for lengthy walks in air that is untouched by the hustle of central Singapore.
Point of interest here: it may be noticed that the headstone on the right has been chipped off, rather deliberately. The reason for this somewhat elaborate. I was told that the Chinese believe, every human has 3 spirits. After death, one goes to the burial grave, the second goes to the family tablets (usually stored in an ancestral altar or at a temple in more recent times) and the third goes to the "Court" to be judged for actions in life and therefore to be consigned to heaven or hell. But every now and then, a grave may need to be exhumed (for whatever reason) and the remains re-buried elsewhere. In such instances, the first born direct male descendant of the deceased will swing a sledgehammer on to the headstone, proclaiming the father/grandfather/so on to not to come to the superceded grave. Whether they choose to completely smash the headstone or chip off the top, is their preference. In this case, the second option has been considered.
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