No RIP for Bukit Brown

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A large portion of the Bukit Brown Cemetery is going to disappear to make way for a new road. After seeing the pictures and reading about the people who were buried there (http://bukitbrown.com), I was interested to take a first and last look at this graveyard.

It was easy getting there by bus (bus stop: Adam Road-.Bef SICC (B41141)). It's a 3-min walk from the road to the entrance of the cemetery. There were workers clearing the trees and other workers exhuming the graves. The tar roads in the cemetery appear to be well-maintained and suitable for jogging, cycling and roller-blading. I went there with my friend because I had read that there are snakes and the cell reception may not be good in certain areas so it would be safer not to go alone. We were there at 3.30pm. During our walk, we only saw several workers, a Singaporean couple who looked like they had finished their jog and a Caucasian couple walking their golden retriever.

There are so many graves which are architecturally beautiful or graves of important people that it would be impossible to visit all of them in a day. So I narrowed down my search to a third of the listing. But the most important grave I wanted to find was the "5 Cats Tomb". I was attracted by its name.

It wasn't easy finding any of the graves because the grass was overgrown and there are usually no signage to any of the graves (some graves have a signage). The 5 Cats Tomb was in the deeper part of the graveyard, high up on a hill, hidden behind some trees. If you're looking for it, look for the grave of "Lim Chong Pang" which is rather close to the road. Walk up till you see this Sikh guard statue.



The 5 Cats Tomb is to the right of it. The cats (lions) are mosaic sculptures. There are 4 lions, a pair of male attendants and a tableaux showing the 8 immortals. The architectural style of the mosaic is the "jian nian" (cut and paste) used in roofs of temples in the Fujian and Chaozhou regions.


As for the Sikh guard statue, as you walk along the road, you'll see many graves with Sikh guards. This special one has a dog! This statue can be found near the grave of Wong Chin Yoke, a man who started an underground resistance movement against the Japanese. He was betrayed, then canguth and killed by the Japanese.

Some of the graves are huge. Obviously, the larger the tomb, the richer the person. The ones just by the road that occupy "prime" real estate were also rich people. This one seemed to be recently maintained. The cravings are intricate and in very good condition. There are others with such cravings too.

This one looks like it's guarded by an advisor (on the left) and a terracotta warrior (on the right).
I found it interesting that there's a name but without a birth date and death date. Maybe the person is still alive or the person was buried somewhere else because burials were no longer allowed here.


There are many graves with beautiful tiles. In fact, there are so many that there's a tour all about tiles! You can read more about them here:
Art Nouveau Majolica Tiles
Peranakan Tiles

Here's one that I like with several different tile designs:



How people are buried says a great deal about their life, beliefs and culture. I feel sad that this wonderful piece of history will soon be gone. And why? For roads and cars, for efficiency and pollution! Modern day needs have stopped the living from getting rest during our rest times; modern day "needs" now put an end to resting in peace.

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