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24 Dec 2017 153 views
 
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photoblog image Bukit Brown Cemetery 5

Bukit Brown Cemetery 5

The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore announced in 2011 that an expressway will be built, cutting across Bukit Brown, which generated significant interest in this place and ignited passionate debate. No doubt, here many pioneers that contributed to building up of modern Singapore are buried here. Needless to say, there are those who do not mind this place seeing torn up, making way for urban development, and those who would want to see this area conserved as it is. Our guide also pointed out some decorative features among the graves of Singapore's more wealthy. Of particular interest to me, was the use of tiles. Objects that were at one point, used in the kitchen, then transferred to living rooms, to the facade of shophouses (which I have seen in pre-war houses of Singapore as well as Penang) and then, finally as decorative pieces at the final abode of Singapore's tycoons of the past decades. On noticing the remarkably healthy sheen of the colours on the tiles, we were informed that the tiles were manufactured out of a process that used heavy metals, not very environment friendly and therefore now banned, but that ensured the stability of colours over all these decades. 

 

Point of interest: the dead were not buried below these tiles, in fact body was consigned to the ground on the other side of the tombstone, with the feet directly below the tomstone and the head further beyond. So it is quite ok to step on these tiles without worrying of any signs of disrespect.

Bukit Brown Cemetery 5

The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore announced in 2011 that an expressway will be built, cutting across Bukit Brown, which generated significant interest in this place and ignited passionate debate. No doubt, here many pioneers that contributed to building up of modern Singapore are buried here. Needless to say, there are those who do not mind this place seeing torn up, making way for urban development, and those who would want to see this area conserved as it is. Our guide also pointed out some decorative features among the graves of Singapore's more wealthy. Of particular interest to me, was the use of tiles. Objects that were at one point, used in the kitchen, then transferred to living rooms, to the facade of shophouses (which I have seen in pre-war houses of Singapore as well as Penang) and then, finally as decorative pieces at the final abode of Singapore's tycoons of the past decades. On noticing the remarkably healthy sheen of the colours on the tiles, we were informed that the tiles were manufactured out of a process that used heavy metals, not very environment friendly and therefore now banned, but that ensured the stability of colours over all these decades. 

 

Point of interest: the dead were not buried below these tiles, in fact body was consigned to the ground on the other side of the tombstone, with the feet directly below the tomstone and the head further beyond. So it is quite ok to step on these tiles without worrying of any signs of disrespect.

comments (13)

I hope they move that expressway...
Ayush Basu: The expressway will go on as per plan but with as little disruption to the existing cemetery as planned, meaning that some graves will have to be exhumed and re-buried, but largely, the cemetery should remain as it is, Larry
  • Ray
  • Thailand
  • 24 Dec 2017, 02:01
Yes...I like these tiles, too, Ayush.
Ayush Basu: A relic from those times, Ray.
  • Chris
  • Not Nowhere
  • 24 Dec 2017, 07:46
Let us hope they don't disturb too many ghosts when they the rip the place up..
Ayush Basu: Despite all that is happening and planned ahead, there are a surprising number of superstitious people in Singapore actually, Chris.
It does seem wrong to rip up what is an important site Ayush
Ayush Basu: The expressway will go on as per plan but with as little disruption to the existing cemetery as planned, meaning that some graves will have to be exhumed and re-buried, but largely, the cemetery should remain as it is, Bill
This is quite some grave, interesting to learn about the burial process
Ayush Basu: It was a learning walk for me on this occasion, Martin.
All in all whith where the bodies are actually buried one of these graves takes up a lot of ground.
Ayush Basu: That cannot be disputed, Brian.
The grave position further convinces me that it was built as space for many at once to come to pay respects.
Ayush Basu: I think you are right, Mary, and for the ethnic Chinese, it is a sign of filial devotion for people to frequently visit and pray to their departed ancestors.
  • Alan
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 24 Dec 2017, 16:52
I especially like the colourful tiles plus the "guards" either side.
Ayush Basu: There were some English influences seen in the tiles from time to time, Alan, for example the rose made an appearance several times.
Again - such lovely color combinations. Interesting way to bury the folks.
Ayush Basu: The Chinese do have quite a lot of thought process behind how to do each step, Elizabeth
I LOVE the tiles, Ayush, and am quite happy that they can be walked on! Please update us when you are able on the decision about that expressway: yay or nay?!
Ayush Basu: The expressway will go on as per plan but with as little disruption to the existing cemetery as planned, meaning that some graves will have to be exhumed and re-buried, but largely, the cemetery should remain as it is, Ginnie. In fact we saw construction has started at some points already.
  • Astrid
  • Netherlands
  • 25 Dec 2017, 08:02
I love the mosaic hidden under the grass.
Ayush Basu: I was fascinated how they have lasted all these years, Astrid.
Looks like a pretty rampant weed!
Ayush Basu: People do visit but they tend only the graves they visit. General upkeep and maintenance is almost nil, Tom.
That is a really interesting read to go with the photo.
Ayush Basu: Thank you, Michael.

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