Researched by Ang Yik Han

Hou Xiu Xi at Hill 1 (photo Yik Han)

Hou Xiu Xi at Hill 1 (photo Yik Han)

Died in the year of the Horse, 19 July 1942 and survived by one son named Kah Bo (嘉謀),  Hou Xiu Xi ( 侯秀西 )located at Hill 1 was said to be a good orator and a staunch supporter of the China Relief Fund led by Tan Kah Kee.

He spoke at public rallies and occasions such as  temple celebrations to exhort the local Chinese to support the anti-Japanese cause. According to an account, he was beaten to death during the Japanese Occupation for refusing to cooperate with the Japanese authorities.

 

 

 

Darren Koh 2_ Mr. Foo

Darren Koh at the tomb of Chew Geok Leong (photo Mr. Foo)

It has been a long time coming, 3 years in gestation but Darren Koh – a pioneer member and solid contributor of the FB group community Singapore Heritage Bukit Brown Cemetery - has finally joined the ranks of Brownies who conduct guided walks. All Things Bukit Brown (atBB) caught up with Darren – whose day job is lecturing  on taxation in a tertiary institution – and asks why now and what took him so long?

atBB : You have been following and contributing to the community online for a number of years, why have you now decided to join the ranks of brownies who conduct guided walks?

Darren I blame Chew Keng Kiat!  Some time ago, we were chatting and I asked him if he recalled when the “brownies” came into being.  He dated the Brownies back to one evening in Sago Lane – in fact the funeral of Raymond Goh’s father.   Keng Kiat mentioned there was this group of people at a table at the end of the tentage. I reminded him I was there too – I was sitting with Mil, Su-Min and Vicky at one end. Keng Kiat mentioned that everyone at the table agreed that the Goh brothers could not possibly hunt down tombs and spread the knowledge of Bukit Brown all on their own.  Plans for the 8 lane highway  had just been announced and time was short.  That was about when everyone at the table agreed to take on the guiding so that Raymond and Charles could focus on the tomb hunting.  “Teach us.  Let us do this for you.”   And so – to the memory of Keng Kiat at least, the Brownies were born.  Unfortunately for me, my asking when the Brownies was born also pencilled in his memory that I had not guided any walks.  Since my conversation with him about that evening, he has often taken the opportunity to ask when I would actually guide.  Even as recently as this year’s Chinese New Year dinner, Keng Kiat nudged me again and said “Look around you – everyone at that table so many years ago has gone on to guide. You are the only one who hasn’t. When are you going to do so?”

Truth of the matter was that it was always going to be a matter of time. I was in the midst of getting a new programme running at the university, and that was just soaking up my time.  I did not have many people helping me teach then, and I was teaching many of the courses myself.  And the courses took place at the weekends.  So I really could not go out to the hills as often as everyone did. As you point out, I have been keeping in touch with the Brownies and following the discoveries, the developments, the joys and the lows.  But always once removed.  I must say, the Brownies were kind enough to include me in many of the offsite events (read – dinner!, etc) and it was at one event when one of our guests asked if I was a Brownie that I sort of blurted out “Not really – I have helped out in some walks but have not guided one myself.  I do not think I can wear the title until I have done that.” And that I think was when Catherine jumped in an said, “He’s an Associate Brownie!” So yay!  I had a place!

Now that the programme at the university is more settled, I can breathe again, and I was looking to get out of the air-conditioned world, and maybe get more exercise, and do something I like…. I realised why not just guide walks.  It ticks all the right boxes – it’s in the midst of  nature, it’s out of the artificial world of the office, I will walk a lot, and I will get to do what I like – tell stories.  A perfect fit. And so, after a couple of weekends of doing my homework (i.e. walking the hills, trying to find the tombs, getting lost amongst the stones), I started guiding.

atBB  Share what has been your experience like so far after 3 guided walks.

Darren  It’s been great! Each one has been different: the routing, the tombs we visited and therefore the story that was told was different. And in the last walk, I even had to abort a visit to two tombs and think of rapid replacements as the tombs I had wanted to visit were inaccessible.

It is usually good to have people ask questions – although sometimes that is scary as you never know which angle they will come from.  But the good thing about being a volunteer guide is that I can say “I don’t know – will have to get back to you on that.” A bit more difficult to say that in my normal classes!

The one thing I am reminded of, is a piece of advice shared with me by a good friend Tony Oldham, whom I got know well while we were travelling on the Trans-Siberian Railway.  He was an archaeologist and anthropologist, and was also a tour guide in Europe. He said, “Never let a few facts stand in the way of a good story.”  Something which I have since learnt is very true:  the people who come for the walks are not here for a history lesson, or a degree in decorative arts.  The finer details therefore do not exactly matter.  What matters however, is the story of the person we are calling upon:  we bring that person to life when we relate their life and times.  Even more so if we can weave a line from the person we are calling upon, to the visitors today.  You can see for instance, the change in people when I reveal that we know so much about how Soh Koon Eng died because the daughter of the boy Koon Eng shielded with her body told us the story.  Or when they realise the man in the small grave I am talking about was none other than Lee Kuan Yew’s grandfather … All links from the past to the present that they know.

The one regret to date?  I wish I had more time to share more with the visitors, but we have 3 hours before we tire.  There is only so much we can share in each session.  The only problem is when there are certain expectations – just as Frances Yip will never be allowed to have a concert where she does not sing the theme song from the Bund/Shanghai Beach, there are certain tombs that visitors ask for.  Then you are stuck in who else to call upon with the time you have left in the walk after up have visited those “top tombs to visit”.  I think I will have to be a bit more creative in routing my walks, or just learn to say “Not this time.”

atBB What would you say is your main interest in Bukit Brown?

Darren It’s  the transmission of culture and the understanding of history!  There is much to be told from the stones: they tell of the person.  From the research we get the story to enable us to link the person from the past to what it means today.  That is the job of the storyteller – that’s why I love it when people get the stories!  Personally – I’m not the greatest fan of bush bashing – the effort undertaken to find the tombs of people.  I think my mechanical-pencil hands were not meant for hacking through forests with machettes.  But give me the facts, and let me tell the story – that is my forte.  Right now, we need to tell as many as possible the wealth of history and culture that lies in Bukit Brown.

atBB notes: bush bashing does not involve machettes as such, more walking sticks and some Brownies carry a small cutter to help them clear vines.

atBB Tell us a little something about yourself.

I have been telling stories since I was young – I even won a school prize and represented the school in a story telling competition when I was in primary school!   I think the best way to tell an idea is to put it in a story that the listener gets.  The question is how the listener gets it:  and I have to tailor the story to the listener.

Darren In many ways, all my past I have been a story-teller: as a lawyer and a chartered accountant who specialises in taxation, I have learnt to use the skill to help in negotiations, in drafting documents, in preparing defence files and in tax audits.  Since I switched to academia – it is all about telling stories again, although this time I tell them to students, in the hope they will learn to tell their own stories themselves.

Having dissected a snake in school, I am not that worried about them.  But I do fear cockroaches – don’t ask me why – so thank goodness they are not one of the worries i have out in Bukit Brown.

I used to be able to say that I have worked in all the northern continents except where the polar bears roam – but the bears are now roaming further down south into North America so I will probably have to revise that statement now.

atbb observes : As you can tell from his interview, Darren is quite a wit and most diligent, the bonus is  he  comes with a wealth of knowledge about Chinese culture and temples and is also one of the pioneer membersof the yahoo heritage news group. His next guiding session is at the first regular first weekend guided walks, atBB is launching,  starting in June on the morning of Saturday 6 June, 2015, so please register here if you want to “experience” him in person.

Darren Koh 1_ Raymond Goh

Darren Koh at the tomb of Chew Geok Leong (photo Raymond Goh)

For more photos of Darren, the brownie in action please click here and note that you need to have a facebook account to view these photos.

 

 

It’s All Things Peranakan for this guided walk  in a nod to the exhibition at the Peranakan Museum’s exhibition on “Great Peranakans”

Join Catherine and Bianca as they take you to tombs of well known Peranankans and not so well known.

Known as the “King’s Chinese”, the Peranakans straddled the challenges of twin loyalties to their ancestral roots and their colonial masters, expressed in the” fusion” or some might argue the “confusion”  of their customs, traditions and thinking and what emerges is a unique culture which still have experts debating just what makes one a Peranakan?

But rising above the debate, there is no doubt, they led remarkable lives and their contributions to the political and social landscape of  Singapore and the region have earned them a place in  history, and a place  in Bukit Brown which is also known as The Peranakan Cemetery.

This guided walk  starts at 4.00pm and ends at 6.30pm

Please note: Disclaimer: By agreeing to take this walking tour of Bukit Brown Cemetery, I understand and accept that I must be physically fit and able to do so.To the extent permissible by law, I agree to assume any and all risk of injury or bodily harm to myself and persons in my care (including child or ward)

Meeting point is within the cemetery, just beyond the gates of Bukit Brown as you enter on the left where the site offices are located.

Please register at Peatix.

Places available are capped at 30 for better engagement.

—————————————————————————
Difficulty: Average, some trekking required
Please bring umbrella or poncho / sun block / mosquito repellent.
Please wear covered footwear.

 A great granddaughter remembers her great grandfather (photo: Catherine Lim)

The tomb of Tan Boo Liat, great grandson of Tan Tock Seng, sketcher is Stella Kon, great granddaughter of Tan Boo Liat (photo: Catherine Lim)

 

 

 

 

In response to requests for forward planning from interested participants, atBB will commit  to conducting  regular guided walks at set time slot every first Saturday and Sunday of the month.

Saturday 9 am – 11.30am

Sunday 4 pm – 6.30pm

Meeting place until further notice: Within the gates of Bukit Brown where there is a site construction office as you enter about 100 meters on your left.

Please note: Disclaimer: By agreeing to take this walking tour of Bukit Brown Cemetery, I understand and accept that I must be physically fit and able to do so.To the extent permissible by law, I agree to assume any and all risk of injury or bodily harm to myself and persons in my care (including child or ward)

We will cap attendance at 30 pax for 2 volunteers for better engagement. Event information and registration will be up on a weekly basis on the Heritage Singapore Bukit Brown FB group page https://www.facebook.com/groups/bukitbrown/ and all  interested participants are encouraged to register for a place   through  Peatix ticketing which will be set up.

If you have a group of between 15 and 30,  you may also request for a private guided walk subject to availability of volunteers by writing to a.t.bukitbrown@gmail.com. Please include an introduction to yourself and your organization if applicable.

Other useful information for first timers:

Bukit Brown. More than a cemetery. More than a Chinese cemetery. Come discover our habitat, heritage, history. Exhumations have started. Many areas have been cordoned off.

How to get there and handy tips here: http://bukitbrown.com/main/?p=7250

http://goo.gl/maps/qgKL8

http://bukitbrown.com/main/?p=1170

http://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=16/1.3354/103.8224

Brownie Code: We guide rain or shine.

Please take note:
1. We will be walking through the undergrowth so dress appropriately, especially your footwear.
2. Wear light breathable clothing. Long pants and long sleeves if you are prone to insect bites or sunburn. Bring sunblock and natural insect repellent.
3. Wear comfortable non-slip shoes as safety is important. Walking sticks are recommended.
4. Do read up on Bukit Brown before going so you have a better understanding of the place (e.g. BukitBrown.com)
5. Do bring water, light snacks, poncho/umbrella, sunhat and waterproof your electronics.
6. Please go to the toilet before coming. There are NO facilities anywhere there or nearby.
=======================================

How to get there by MRT / Bus:

Bus services available: 52, 74, 93, 157, 165, 852, 855.

From North: Go to Marymount MRT and walk to bus-stop #53019 along Upper Thomson Road. Take Buses 52, 74, 165, 852, 855
Alight 6 stops later at bus-stop, #41149, opposite Singapore Island Country Club (SICC), Adam Road. Walk towards Sime Road in the direction of Kheam Hock Road until you see Lorong Halwa.

From South: Go to Farrer Road MRT and walk to bus-stop #11111 at Farrer Road, in front of Blocks 2 & 3. Take Buses 93, 165, 852, 855. Alight 5 stops later at bus-stop, #41141, just before Singapore Island Country Club (SICC), Adam Road. Cross the bridge, walk towards Sime Road, follow the road until you see Lorong Halwa.

By car:
Turn in from Lornie Road, to Sime Road. Then, turn left into Lorong Halwa, where parking is limited. Try to use public transport to get there.

Bukit Brown 16 May 2015 Anza Tour Claire Leow

Participants at the tombs of Mr and Mrs Chia Hood Theam (photo Claire Leow)

 

Group Photo Mr. Foo

Group Photo ( Mr. Foo)

Due to  overwhelming signups beyond the recommended 30 participants, Brownie reinforcements were called in to help out with this guided walk conducted by our resident tile expert Victor Lim and co guided by Jonathan Siew.

Victor n Jonathan Photo Mr, Foo

Brownies Victor and Jonathan (photo Mr. Foo)

Victor Lim in action  4  Photo Mr. Foo

A study in intensity as he describes how the tiles are made (photo Mr. Foo)

A shout out to Brownies Bianca , Darren and Keng Kiat for stepping up and special thanks to Mr. Foo for photo documenting this visit which saw over 50 participants turning up.

Some remarks from participants on  the FB Group of Bukit Brown:

Qx Qx: Thank you for all the priceless knowledge that you guys are passing down.. Great experience.. Singapore is so rich in history. So hungry to know more..

Julia d’ Silva : When I went home and checked some sites, I discovered that there are many more beautiful tiles we have not seen! Thank you for a most interesting walk! Thank you, Victor Lim! And all the Brownies who helped make this possible.

We share some of Julia’s photos with her permission:

Peranakan tiles at THK

Tiles at Thian Hock Keng Temple (source: http://peranakantiles.com/)

Tiles 1 seen also at Thian Hock Keng

Found also at Bukit Brown (photo Julia d’ Silva)

Tiles 2 Julie d'Silva

(photo Julia d’Silva)

Tiles 4 Julie d'Silva

(photo Julia d’Silva)

Tiles 6 Julie d'Silva

(photo Julia d Silva)

Victor Lim  3 Photo Mr. Foo

Victor Lim (photo Mr. Foo)

Check here for more of Mr. Foo’s photo album on Facebook

 

***********************

This Vesak day holiday, join Victor Lim & Jonathan on a tour through the cemetery where they will focus on the various tiles used in the tomb designs. 

Learn more about “Peranakan” or majolica tiles from our tiles expert! 

Meeting Point: Bukit Brown entrance gates at Lorong Halwa

Tour starts at 9am and ends at 12pm.

—————————————————————————
Difficulty: Average, some trekking required
Please bring umbrella or poncho / sun block / mosquito repellent.
Please wear covered footwear.
—————————————————————————

sign up here:

Bukit Brown is on the World Monuments Watch list 2014 . Find out what makes this a heritage site worthy of preserving. http://bukitbrown.com/main/?p=7930

“We guide rain, shine or exhumations”
======================================

Bukit Brown. More than a cemetery. More than a Chinese cemetery. Come discover our habitat, heritage, history. Exhumations have started. Many areas have been cordoned off.

How to get there and handy tips here: http://bukitbrown.com/main/?p=7250

http://goo.gl/maps/qgKL8

http://bukitbrown.com/main/?p=1170

http://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=16/1.3354/103.8224

Disclaimer: By agreeing to take this walking tour of Bukit Brown Cemetery, I understand and accept that I must be physically fit and able to do so.To the extent permissible by law, I agree to assume any and all risk of injury or bodily harm to myself and persons in my care (including child or ward)

Registration: Our weekend public tours are FREE …
Optimally the group size is 30 participants (15 individuals/guide).

Please click ‘Join’ on the FB event page to let us know you are coming, how many pax are turning up. Or just meet us at the starting point at 9am.

Brownie Code: We guide rain or shine.

Please take note:
1. We will be walking through the undergrowth so dress appropriately, especially your footwear.
2. Wear light breathable clothing. Long pants and long sleeves if you are prone to insect bites or sunburn. Bring sunblock and natural insect repellent.
3. Wear comfortable non-slip shoes as safety is important. Walking sticks are recommended.
4. Do read up on Bukit Brown before going so you have a better understanding of the place (e.g. BukitBrown.com)
5. Do bring water, light snacks, poncho/umbrella, sunhat and waterproof your electronics.
6. Please go to the toilet before coming. There are NO facilities anywhere there or nearby.
=======================================

How to get there by MRT / Bus:

Bus services available: 52, 74, 93, 157, 165, 852, 855.

From North: Go to Marymount MRT and walk to bus-stop #53019 along Upper Thomson Road. Take Buses 52, 74, 165, 852, 855
Alight 6 stops later at bus-stop, #41149, opposite Singapore Island Country Club (SICC), Adam Road. Walk towards Sime Road in the direction of Kheam Hock Road until you see Lorong Halwa.

From South: Go to Farrer Road MRT and walk to bus-stop #11111 at Farrer Road, in front of Blocks 2 & 3. Take Buses 93, 165, 852, 855. Alight 5 stops later at bus-stop, #41141, just before Singapore Island Country Club (SICC), Adam Road. Cross the bridge, walk towards Sime Road, follow the road until you see Lorong Halwa.

By car:
Turn in from Lornie Road, to Sime Road. Then, turn left into Lorong Halwa, where parking is limited. Try to use public transport to get there.

 

Another inspirational  guided walk by Jon Cooper, tracing the landmarks of war, and the battle lines, reflecting on where the fallen are now.

Thank you all for coming and for those who missed it, the battlefield walks are conducted the last Sunday of every month. Please look out for the event blog and register only when it is up.

From Christine Sheehan ” What An awesome tour.

A word of thanks from Shin Kian Chong ” Thanks Jon and all for the morning’s visit” who also contributed these 2 photos of the group.

Battlefield 31 May 2015 2 Shin Kian Chong

The group of 31 May 2015 (photo Shin Kian Chong – a participant)

Battlefield 31 May 2015 Shin Kian Chong

Walking single file towards as advised along the battle route taken by the Japanese (photo Shin Kian Chong)

From your safety marshals on this route march, thanks for being such troopers in the  heat!

Battlefield 31 May 2015  Catherine Lim

Defining the “battlescape”off the pre-war golf course from the Japanese perspective where , when and how the Japanese soldiers launched their attack on the Suffolk soldiers who had hunkered down on a defence line which was marked by tombstones (photo Catherine Lim)

Battlefield 31 May 2015 2  Claire Leow

Reading maps just outside no number 67 Sime Rd, Japense HQ and also prison quarters for civilian pows at Sime Road (photo Claire Leow)

Battlefield 31 May 2015 2 Claire Leow

On a Macritchie trail looking for foxholes (photo Claire Leow)

Battlefield 31 May 2015 3  Claire Leow

Where they fell, lost but not forgotten, lest we forget (photo Claire Leow)

  xxxxxxx

Latest: All spaces for this guided walk has been fully taken up!

As we prepare for Liberation’70, the anniversary of end of Japanese Occupation of Singapore, join Jon Cooper, historian and archaeologist on the Adam Road Project for :

The Battlefield tour

Sunday 31 May ’15, 9.30am – 12.00pm

Meeting point is at the pedestrian bridge on Sime Road entering Bukit Brown, opposite the SICC traffic light. Tour ends at 12 pm in the grounds of Bukit Brown.

Please bring umbrella or poncho / sun block / mosquito repellent.
Please wear covered footwear.

REGISTRATION: You may register for up to 2 pax via PEATIX. Please note as spaces are limited to 20, please make sure you and your companions can attend and inform us early for cancellations as this tour is highly popular. It is suitable for children from 4 years upwards.

The size is kept small for safety reasons and for ideal interaction as Jon shares the maps, photos and stories of the battles. All things Bukit Brown is only the organizer as we support the work that Jon and his team are doing out of respect for our common heritage.

Disclaimer: By agreeing to take this walking tour of Bukit Brown Cemetery, I understand and accept that I must be physically fit and able to do so.To the extent permissible by law, I agree to assume any and all risk of injury or bodily harm to myself and persons in my care (including child or ward). The route is not difficult, still good hardy footwear is highly recommended and depending on the weather it can be hot, so please wear sunscreen, a hat is advisable and plenty of drinking water. Be prepared as well for rain, bring umbrella and ponchos and Jon will assess whether the tour will continue should it get too heavy and there is lightning.

****

About WW 2 at Bukit Brown

On Feb 15, 1942, Singapore fell just one week after Japanese forces landed. As they headed down south, fierce battles were fought in the Adam Park area and the fighting extended to Bukit Brown, then known as Cemetery Hill.

“On the evening of 14th February 1942, the rolling hills of the Bukit Brown Cemetery were suddenly engulfed in a barrage of flame and fire. It appeared like scene from Dante’s ‘Inferno’. ”

Jon Cooper, the battlefield archaeologist behind The Adam Park Project, wrote this gripping account as he retraced the battle ground route with all things Bukit Brown.

This is your chance to brush up on your history. Jon Cooper will take you through the paces. Don’t miss his energetic retracing of the movements on both sides, as we commemorate the fallen. You will be expected to do some walking in the sun, so wear good walking shoes and bring snacks and water. The tour ends at the Bukit Brown Cemetery, where you will see the graves among which the soldiers sheltered and fought.

Jon’s post on his interest in Bukit Brown and the missing soldiers is here.

For a visual guide to your route, cartographer Mok Ly Ying has done this wonderful guide map for you.

Previous tour reports here:

Oct 26 2014 tour

Sep 28 2014 tour

July 28 2013 tour

May 26 2013 tour

Oct 21 2012 tour

July 22 2012 tour here and here 

June 17 2012 Father’s Day Special

*****

To help you plan your Sunday morning and enjoy the tour, you can follow this map of a previous one: https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=208524362450694978161.0004cc9d065f2a171893d&msa=0&ll=1.336901,103.817351&spn=0.003566,0.005681

Jon conducts the Battlefield Tour when time permits. For other war-related stories, you can join tours by All Things Bukit Brown on the heritage tours.

‘Then and Now’ with Simone and Genine

Singapore has seen vast changes over the years. Take a walk with us at Bukit Brown as Simone share some stories of life in the past and the contrast to what we are familiar with today. Guest starring Genine will be sharing a special segment of this walk featuring the New World Amusement Park in conjunction of the exhibition on this legendary park at City Square Mall.

Simone is a volunteer at the Bukit Brown Cemetery. Specialising in themed walks such as ‘Ladies of the Straits Settlements’ and ‘Back-to-Schools’, she is part of an informal group of volunteers and heritage enthusiasts, affectionately known as the Brownies.

Genine is a curator and researcher who works locally and regionally on themes in visual arts and heritage. She takes an-almost masochistic delight in sifting through stacks of musty archival material in search of the weird and wonderful.

Bukit Brown is more than a cemetery. Come discover our habitat, heritage, history. Exhumations have started. Many areas have been cordoned off.

Bukit Brown is also on the World Monuments Watch list 2014 . Find out what makes this a heritage site worthy of preserving. http://bukitbrown.com/main/?p=7930

———————————————————————

Difficulty: Average, some trekking requiredPlease bring umbrella or poncho.Please wear covered footwear.

“We guide rain, shine or exhumations”

———————————————————————

Tour starts at 4pm and ends at 6.30pm.

Registration: Our weekend walks are FREE!

Please  sign up via Peatix: http://peatix.com/event/85773

and the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/888541011210581/

so that we can allocate enough Brownies for this walk (Optimally 1 volunteers to 15 participants).

*Disclaimer: By agreeing to take this walking tour of Bukit Brown Cemetery, I understand and accept that I must be physically fit and able to do so.To the extent permissible by law, I agree to assume any and all risk of injury or bodily harm to myself and persons in my care (including child or ward)
* Please take note:
1. We will be walking through the undergrowth so dress appropriately, especially your footwear.

2. Wear light breathable clothing. Long pants and long sleeves if you are prone to insect bites or sunburn. Bring sunblock and natural insect repellent.

3. Wear comfortable non-slip shoes as safety is important. Walking sticks are recommended.

4. Do read up on Bukit Brown before going so you have a better understanding of the place (e.g. BukitBrown.com)

5. Do bring water, light snacks, poncho/umbrella, sunhat and waterproof your electronics.

6. Please go to the toilet before coming. There are NO facilities anywhere there or nearby.

———————————————————————

Meeting Point: Main entrance gate into Bukit Brown at Lorong Halwa

How to get there by MRT / Bus:

Bus services available: 52, 74, 93, 157, 165, 852, 855.

From North: Go to Marymount MRT and walk to bus-stop #53019 along Upper Thomson Road. Take Buses 52, 74, 165, 852, 855 Alight 6 stops later at bus-stop, #41149, opposite Singapore Island Country Club (SICC), Adam Road. Walk towards Sime Road in the direction of Kheam Hock Road until you see Lorong Halwa.

From South: Go to Farrer Road MRT and walk to bus-stop #11111 at Farrer Road, in front of Blocks 2 & 3. Take Buses 93, 165, 852, 855. Alight 5 stops later at bus-stop, #41141, just before Singapore Island Country Club (SICC), Adam Road. Cross the bridge, walk towards Sime Road, follow the road until you see Lorong Halwa.

By car:Turn in from Lornie Road, to Sime Road. Then, turn left into Lorong Halwa, where parking is limited.

Try to use public transport to get there.

How to get there and handy tips here:

http://bukitbrown.com/main/?p=7250

http://goo.gl/maps/qgKL8http://bukitbrown.com/main/?p=1170

http://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=16/1.3354/103.8224

 

Photo by Franck

Photo courtesy of the Bukit Brown Documentation team

Remembering Yeo Bian Chuan

by Simone Lee

Qingming or Tomb-Sweeping Day is a traditional festival on the Chinese  calendar in remembrance and respect of ancestors. Families visit their ancestors’ ‘home’ – the grave,  for a ‘spring clean’ and replenish their needs by leaving ‘worldly’ offerings. This year, the festival fell on the 5th of April and 10 days before and 10 days after is the period where rituals are conducted.

Smoke from burning incense sticks blankets the fauna at Bukit Brown Cemetery

Smoke from burning incense sticks blankets the flora  at Bukit Brown Cemetery (photo Simone Lee)

Bukit Brown is busiest at this time of the year. Jams are not uncommon.  Throngs of people drive around the historic cemetery to look for their ancestors’ tomb. They carry with them bags of offerings and cleaning tools. Yet, for another year, Yeo Bian Chuan’s grave laid forgotten.

Almost a miss, Yeo Bian Chuan's tomb has been neglected

Almost a miss, Yeo Bian Chuan’s tomb has been neglected (phone Simone Lee)

In February 1915, during the Indian Mutiny in Singapore, Yeo Bian Chuan saved 17 Europeans’ lives by hiding them in their home from a bloody massacre. For this he was awarded a commemorative gold medal but died before receiving it.

The headstone of Yeo Bian Chuan's dilapidated tomb

The headstone of Yeo Bian Chuan’s  tomb

Today, Yeo Bian Chuan’s tomb is in a state of neglect, not what a hero deserves. We can only hope that soon a descendant would identify him and restore the glory of his ‘home’, one which he deserves.

The loyal guardian of Yeo Bian Chuan's tomb

The loyal guardian of Yeo Bian Chuan’s tomb (photo Simone Lee)

Read more on Yeo Bian Chuan’s story at Peter Pak’s blog here.

 

 

We are participating in Jane’s walk again this year – with 2 walks featuring Bukit Brown, both on Sat 2 May’15.
Heritage Walk from Botanic Gardens to Bukit Brown – guides: Claire & Bianca (08.00 – 11.30am) http://peatix.com/event/83079/

An Evening Stroll into the Past – guides: Andrew & Beng (6.30 – 8.30pm)
http://peatix.com/event/83088

More info on Jane’s Walk: http://janeswalk.org/ and here

 

 

janeswalk

As we prepare for Liberation’70, the anniversary of end of Japanese Occupation of Singapore, join Jon Cooper, historian and archaeologist on the Adam Road Project for :

The Battlefield tour

Sunday 29 Mar’15, 9.30am – 12.00pm

Meeting point is at the pedestrian bridge on Sime Road entering Bukit Brown, opposite the SICC traffic light. Tour ends at 12 pm in the grounds of Bukit Brown.

REGISTRATION: You may register for up to 2 pax via PEATIX. Please note as spaces are limited to 20, please make sure you and your companions can attend and inform us early for cancellations as this tour is highly popular. It is suitable for children from 4 years upwards.

The size is kept small for safety reasons and for ideal interaction as Jon shares the maps, photos and stories of the battles. All things Bukit Brown is only the organizer as we support the work that Jon and his team are doing out of respect for our common heritage.

Disclaimer: By agreeing to take this walking tour of Bukit Brown Cemetery, I understand and accept that I must be physically fit and able to do so.To the extent permissible by law, I agree to assume any and all risk of injury or bodily harm to myself and persons in my care (including child or ward). The route is not difficult, still good hardy footwear is highly recommended and depending on the weather it can be hot, so please wear sunscreen, a hat is advisable and plenty of drinking water. Be prepared as well for rain, bring umbrella and ponchos and Jon will assess whether the tour will continue should it get too heavy and there is lightning.

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About WW 2 at Bukit Brown

On Feb 15, 1942, Singapore fell just one week after Japanese forces landed. As they headed down south, fierce battles were fought in the Adam Park area and the fighting extended to Bukit Brown, then known as Cemetery Hill.

“On the evening of 14th February 1942, the rolling hills of the Bukit Brown Cemetery were suddenly engulfed in a barrage of flame and fire. It appeared like scene from Dante’s ‘Inferno’. ”

Jon Cooper, the battlefield archaeologist behind The Adam Park Project, wrote this gripping account as he retraced the battle ground route with all things Bukit Brown.

This is your chance to brush up on your history. Jon Cooper will take you through the paces. Don’t miss his energetic retracing of the movements on both sides, as we commemorate the fallen. You will be expected to do some walking in the sun, so wear good walking shoes and bring snacks and water. The tour ends at the Bukit Brown Cemetery, where you will see the graves among which the soldiers sheltered and fought.

Jon’s post on his interest in Bukit Brown and the missing soldiers is here.

For a visual guide to your route, cartographer Mok Ly Ying has done this wonderful guide map for you.

Previous tour reports here:

Oct 26 2014 tour

Sep 28 2014 tour

July 28 2013 tour

May 26 2013 tour

Oct 21 2012 tour

July 22 2012 tour here and here

June 17 2012 Father’s Day Special

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To help you plan your Sunday morning and enjoy the tour, you can follow this map of a previous one: https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=208524362450694978161.0004cc9d065f2a171893d&msa=0&ll=1.336901,103.817351&spn=0.003566,0.005681

Jon conducts the Battlefield Tour when time permits. For other war-related stories, you can join tours by All Things Bukit Brown on the heritage tours.

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