Contrary to perceptions that the Brownie volunteers of Bukit Brown spend all their time at the cemetery, the reality is we are often exploring or chasing – either  individually and sometimes ( when we can co-ordinate our busy schedules)  as a community  –  other heritage and nature trails (before they are decimated by development)

A sunny Sunday morning saw an opportunity to explore a charming, idyllic stream, embraced in nature’s natural air conditioning right smack in the forested area known as Lentor (Tagore) Forest of Teachers Estate.  Our guide was Leong Kwok Peng of Nature Society of Singapore (NSS).

Here are some photos of that morning, where some “frolicked” and others explored or at times did both. We all came out came out refreshed and also sad that we are  in imminent danger of this intimate stream being “canalised” in concrete or buried over in development plans.

A natural erection from an most unnatural angle_Lawrence Chong

Well, hello there are you pleased to see me? Photo captured by Lawrence Chong from a most unusual angle.

A natural erection

A more natural angle captured by Simone Lee

Brownies wet and wild_Simone Lee

And hello there again from 2 brownies, no they did not fall down from what looks deceptively like a long distance. It’s a stream so getting wet is par for the course (photo Simone Lee)

Cupping _Simone Lee

“I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o’er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden toilet pumps” – with apologies to Wordsworth , Simone thought of toilet pumps when she saw them. Photo by Ang Hock Chuan

Toliet pumps

(photo Simone Lee)

Fungi_Simone Lee

More fungi (photo Simone Lee)

Lector Stream Fern 2_Simone Lee

“Fern Gully” – not the scientific name, just a hark back to some old movie title (Photo Simone Lee)

More ferns _photo Catherine Lim

(photo Catherine Lim)

Leong Kwok Peng _Simone Lee

Our Nature Society guide Kwok Peng trying not to get his feet wet (photo Simone Lee)

Lighting Stream_Simone Lee

(photo Simone Lee)

Simone Lee photo by Ang Hock Chuan

Maybe she had a sip of the water “Youthful Exuberance” (photo Ang Hock Chuan)

Simone Lee

(photo Ang Hock Chuan)

Brownies Streaming _Simone Lee

Brownies streaming….. (photo Lawrence Chong)

A little slope up and down _ SImone Lee

Not that difficult to get up and down with a gallant hand to this neck of the woods, just some light bush bashing through forested trek and voila you are there. (photo Simone Lee)

Join the Nature Society of Singapore (NSS)  FB group here and you can find more  photos on the stream and its environs.

The NSS wrote a position paper proposing a  phased development of the area leaving   the streams untouched. Their rationale was quite simple, since not all the  land was needed urgently :

“We leave a valuable stretch of forest as a land-bank with its ecological and biodiversity values for future generations to decide as to whether they want to preserve it or to exploit it for other uses. Tastes and needs can vary and differ from generation to generation. What is of no value today may be in great demand for a future generation. People, whether in the immediate or far future, may appreciate natural greenery and its wildlife more as these become rare or scarce —- apart from what is already there in our limited protected nature areas.”

To that we say, hear, hear and Amen. Please help to spread the word to your MPs!

You can read more about the position paper which can be downloaded here

Join Beng Tang on a guided walk of Bukit Brown cemetery and learn more about the edible fruits and vegetables that you can find there.

During the Japanese occupation of Singapore, the Japanese kept the rice to feed their armies so the civilians of Singapore survived on tapioca, sweet potato and yam. Come on a tour of Bukit Brown to see some of these plants and others that can be eaten.

This guided walk starts at 09.00am and ends at 12.00pm

Meeting Point: Bukit Brown entrance gates at Lorong Halwa
Difficulty: Average, some trekking required
Please bring umbrella or poncho / sun block / mosquito repellent.
Please wear covered footwear.

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.

Beng explaining about edible plants

Beng explaining about edible plants



31 October 2013

Bukit Brown is home to some 90 species of resident and migrant birds. These photos by Goh Yew Lin, capture  some of the birds feeding in the early morning. The “wild fruits” are the ripe figs of Ficus benjamina (Waringin, Weeping Fig). This strangling Ficus species is one of keystone tree species in Bukit Brown. Whenever these trees are figging, the birds go gaga over the fruit feast.

The Pigeons

Green pigeon with fruit Goh Yew Lin

Green pigeon feeding (photot Goh Yew Lin)

pigeon amidst a feast of wild fruit Goh Yew Lin

Green pigeon amidst a feast of wild fruit (photo Goh Yew Lin)

pigeon in flight Goh Yew Lin

Pigeon in flight (photo Goh Yew Lin)

pigeons a Hiding amidst a feast of wild fruit Goh Yew Lin

Pigeon hiding amidst the fruits (photo Goh Yew Lin)

Pink-necked green pigeon (female)  Goh Yew Lin

Pink-necked green pigeon (female) (photo Goh Yew Lin)

Pink-necked green pigeon (male)  Goh Yew Lin

Pink-necked green pigeon (male) (photo Goh Yew Lin)

Pink-necked green pigeon feeding Goh Yew Lin

Pink-necked green pigeon feeding (photo Goh Yew Lin)

The Kingfisher

This kingfisher was not perturbed by my presence, striking poses for a good five minutes. Goh Yew Lin

“This kingfisher was not perturbed by my presence, striking poses for a good five minutes” Goh Yew Lin

White-throated kingfisher, partly camouflaged Goh Yew Lin

White-throated kingfisher, partly camouflaged (photo Goh Yew Lin)

The Oriole

Golden Oriole Goh Yew Lin

Golden Oriole (photo Goh Yew Lin)

The Starling

Asian glossy starling  feedling Goh Yew Lin

Morning Vistas

Morning in Bukit Brown Goh Yew Lin

Canopy Goh Yew Lin


Python Sighting

Spotted  on the 16th June Sunday Heritage Tour by brownie Steven Toong, in Hill 4, a beautiful  python.

(photo by Steven Toong)





Save the Dogs!

Puppy at Bukit Brown (Photo: Rosalind Tan)


(Photo: Save Our Street Dogs SOSD)


On behalf of these sentient creatures, we reproduce this eye-witness account and plea for the lives of the wild dogs of Bukit Brown:


“I cannot believe what just happened. We are here at Bukit Brown, assessing the situation before we start sterilization ops.As I followed the sound of barking into the woods, I suddenly hear weak whining. There, between my feet, is a trembling puppy, painfully skinny, covered in ants and dirt. Her teeth shows she is abt 4-6wks old, but she is the size of a peanut.

She had left her pack, maybe in search of food, maybe in search of a better life.. Or maybe she was just lost.

The poor dogs in bukit brown are all painfully thin. This girl ate up all the kibbles we gave her. Maybe it was good karma in her previous life, but she will never have to suffer the daily pain and agony which her pack has suffered; the painful hunger of never having enough to eat, or the terrible life of being witch hunted everyday of her existence.”

~ Dr Siew Tuck Wah

A complaint by a cyclist ( who was chased by a pack of stray dogs means that the dogs there are the next on the chopping board. Singapore’s insatiable appetite for culling animals will claim these lives next. “I would like to see the authorities round up the dogs. You can’t just let wild dogs run around terrorising people, so the AVA should try to catch them.” Again, these are innocent dogs who made the mistake of trying to protect what they think is their territory by chasing a cyclist. And by doing that, slapped a death warrant over their heads. Is it fair? We do not think so.
Editor’s note:
All Things Bukit Brown volunteers have this to say: We have guided at Bukit Brown, through the kampung where there are a pack of dogs. Show them respect by giving them a wide berth and not threaten their habitat, and they leave you alone. They bark loudly to defend their turf. We also move in groups, our pack in their eyes, and they give us a wide berth. We have not had any incident guiding there even among the dogs. There was once 14 of us were lost in Lau Sua due to a fallen tree diverting our descend. It was then that the dogs nearby sensed our distress and starting barking to guide us out. As we followed their barking to climb out of the thick undergrowth, we saw them lined up in a row down the hill to show us the path. We believe they knew we needed help and helped us out. They kept their distance once we were safely out.
No doubt the cyclist had a nasty experience by his account but others have had pleasant ones. This is our account, and a plea to try to respect their way of life, and keep them and us safe too.
Conservation is not done in bits and pieces. We must take the whole. The dogs have been there a long time, and their parents before them. They are part of the whole. Spaying them may be a good solution. Culling isn’t.


Clouded monitor lizard (possibly Varanus bengalensis nebulosus) on tembusu tree, Bukit Brown. Spotted by Lai Chee Kien with the help of Angie Ng.

Monitor lizard (Photo: Lai Chee Kien)


Strike a pose!


Close-up: Clouded monitor lizard (Photo: Lisa Ridings)


Reptile Sightings


cobra? (Photo- Raymond Goh)


Monitor Lizard (Photo: Claire Leow)


Monitor Lizard (Photo: Claire Leow)


Can City Cemeteries be Nature Reserves? BBC reports.


Butterflies at BB

Snap shots of  butterflies at Bukit Brown courtesy of Victor Yue and EiLeen Ong. There is a   Chinese belief that  butterflies at cemetery are signs  ancestors are around and happy for the company.

More information on butterflies spotted in Singapore can be found by joining this  group Butterflies of Singapore and Malaysia


Black-veined Tiger, uncommon in Singapore(photo Victor Yue)


common mormon, mimic of common rose (photo Eileen Ong)


Common Birdwing (photo EiLeen Ong)




Bird Watching at BB

On Sunday 26 August, Nature Society of Singapore led a bird watching walk through Bukit Brown. Thanks to Cuifen, NSS member for compiling this album on highlights from the wal kwith additional photos from her fellow bird watcher, Leng Leng.  Enjoy!


They came armed with ‘scopes and binos, cameras and the naked eye (photo Cuifen)


View into a scope. Lesser coucal spreading its wings, and sunbathing in the waterlogged fern area. The bird looks much clearer & closer when viewing directly into the scope (photo Cuifen)


Laced woodpecker sitting on a ‘nest’ of African tulip flowers. Photo taken by fellow bird watcher, Leng Leng.


Can you spot the baby monitor lizard? (photo Cuifen)


A starburst orchid. A rare sight! Photo taken by fellow bird watcher, Leng Leng.


With the Hungry Ghost festival on, maybe some pickings for the birds, after the “ghosts” have feasted of course (photo Cuifen)


Mornings are family strolls with the dog as well (photo Cuifen)


(photo Cuifen)


Collared Kingfisher. Photo taken by fellow bird watcher, Leng Leng



Don’t miss this video of a nightjar and its nestling! Here’s one of woodpeckers.

Birds, Flowers and More – this shows you not only the real birds and flowers but the tomb decorations depicting birds and flowers

Here’s a look at a pangolin



A Nature Ramble – this helps identify some plants at Bukit Brown

Beyond Grave Matters – this is a beautifully written commentary and event report by Rosalind Tan, whose ancestors lie at Bukit Brown







Birds Galore at Qing Ming

Photo essay by Suki Singh

Kingfisher (Photo: Suki Singh)


A staring incident…?


Birds at Qing Ming (Photo: Suki Singh)


Might be more than he can chew….


Birds at Qing Ming (Photo: Suki Singh)


This looks like a good place to nest, this pigeon seems to think …


Birds at Qing Ming (Photo: Suki Singh)


Not so fast, says the mynah.


Birds at Qing Ming (Photo: Suki Singh)


The glossy starlings move in too….


Birds at Qing Ming (Photo: Suki Singh)


The glossy starling gets argumentative with the mynahs.


Birds at Qing Ming (Photo: Suki Singh)



Suki is an avid photographer and the honorary Sikh guard among the volunteers of Bukit Brown, affectionately known as Brownies.

Suki and Shetland pony (photo: Claire Leow)


December 2017
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