A Y U S H

22 Dec 2017 59 views
 
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photoblog image Bukit Brown Cemetery 4

Bukit Brown Cemetery 4

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deceased will swing a sledgehammer on to the headstone, proclaiming the father/grandfather/so on to not to come to the superceded grave.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. 

Bukit Brown Cemetery 4

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. 

comments (20)

  • Ray
  • Thailand
  • 22 Dec 2017, 00:12
This is fascinating! Thank you, Ayush.
Ayush Basu: Once more, Ray, thank you for visiting and going through it all.
That looks like a nice place to photograph.
Ayush Basu: It will take a good few days to cover this place, Michael.
All sorts of interesting stories here...
Ayush Basu: Oh, you are very true about that, Larry.
i love the combination of colors. Thank you for the very interesting information!
Ayush Basu: You are very kind, as always, Elizabeth.
  • Martine
  • France
  • 22 Dec 2017, 05:52
Cela manque un peu d'entretien, dommage.
Ayush Basu: I think it would cost quite a bit for the upkeep of the tens of thousands buried here, Martine, but there are volunteer groups and of course descendants.
You are really giving us a lot of most interesting information with these posts, Ayush. WOW.
Ayush Basu: I am pleased you find it interesting. Being here all these years, I still found a lot of new bits, Ginnie!
  • Alan
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 22 Dec 2017, 07:14
Some fascinating facts there about the culture of the people.
Ayush Basu: Most of what I learned here was new to me, Alan.
  • Lisl
  • England
  • 22 Dec 2017, 07:39
Another fascinating commentary, Ayush. And it certainly sounds the place to be for birding
Ayush Basu: I am pleased you find it interesting, Lisl, and indeed, I myself learned some new things.
  • Chris
  • Not Nowhere
  • 22 Dec 2017, 07:52
Strange customs Ayush
Ayush Basu: Yes, I think one would feel quite odd to be smashing the headstone in a sanctioned manner, Chris.
Des rituels vraiment très interessants ..Merci pour les explications
Bonne journée
Ayush Basu: Merci, Claudine. I am pleased you find it interesting and indeed, I myself learned some new things.
  • gutteridge
  • Somewhere in deep space
  • 22 Dec 2017, 08:35
Fascinating stuff Ayush. At first I thought this was just a seat.
Ayush Basu: It could be a seat, a tad uncomfortable, but a seat nevertheless, Chad.
  • Elaine-
  • Canada
  • 22 Dec 2017, 09:20
as the late Jim Morrison once said 'People are strange' lalala thanks for the story, and the picture! i thought hell was a Christian concept
Ayush Basu: Once more, Elaine, thank you for visiting and going through it all. Oh, the Chinese have a very elaborate, bordering on disturbingly graphic, concepts of Hell and its various punishments.
A haven for wildlife, what an interesting story you tell us
Ayush Basu: It is a fascinating place, to be sure, Martin.
A fascinating insight into customs that are unknown to us. This series has been really interesting Ayush
Ayush Basu: Just a few more posts to go, Bill. To think I myself did not know quite some of this info!
What an interesting custom you explain.
Ayush Basu: I thought it interesting and amusing in some ways, Mary.
One wonders how all these strange beliefs started, it is the same the world over for those living away from the main-stream religions.
Ayush Basu: I wonder if someone came up with all of this to create some kind of money making scheme exploiting the filial descendants, Brian. I could be wrong though.
Oh I heard that if you don't pay the grave management guys who look after the lawn for you over the last year, they will knock the headstone off. Ha ha...
Ayush Basu: Haha, I like that theory, LC.
Funerary practices around the world are often very strange!
Ayush Basu: Oh yes, I saw quite a few cemeteries in Singapore and a couple in Penang and Hong Kong, Tom. The Chinese community do have a different way of attending to these things.
  • Louis
  • South Africa
  • 22 Dec 2017, 20:59
What I find interesting of your explanation, is that people that believe there are spirits flying around, also believe they can tell the spirit where to take a rest. In the meantime each of the spirits are assigned a place - so they wouldn't be flying around ... In their logic, the grave spirit will know the difference between the two graves because it was there when the grave got exhumed. All this makes me wonder ...
Ayush Basu: Good observation, Louis grin I suppose the grave is a kind of a resting place but in the spirit world, they have their other business to attend to. One over-analysing chap at some point probably came up with the question+solution what if a spirit was thus out of his designated tomb, which got dug up and re-positioned? Even though the remaining earth there would have caved in and showed the empty space, still there should be a more visual and vocal indication of the move of residence, therefore the chipped off tombstone.
  • CherryPie
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 23 Dec 2017, 00:19
Interesting information which I find a little disturbing...
Ayush Basu: This is the only instance of sanctioned vandalism, CP.

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