Bush Bashing

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By Khoo Ee Hoon and Claire Leow

Editor’s note: When Raymond and other guides discover tombs, they conduct research and try to incorporate these into tours organized by all things Bukit Brown. This is to give you a taste of what happens before we unveil these tombs.

Bushing bashing: Raymond Goh with tombkeeper Lim (photo: Khoo Ee Hoon)

 

On any typical weekend, tomb whisperer Raymond Goh is “bush bashing” or looking for the tombs for those seeking his expertise in locating grave plots. Here he consults the friendly tomb keeper Mr Lim.

The tomb keepers are very helpful in our visits to Bukit Brown. In this instance, they advised Raymond to make some offerings for his protection. The keepers have their own code, and offerings to appease three deities – earth deity (Tu Di Gong), forest spirit (Shan Ling) and the god of wealth (Fu Shen) are essential.

 

 

 

Raymond makes an offering (photo: Raymond Goh)

 

In his own words: “My offerings today for Tudigong and Bukit Brown Cemetery  residents. The tombkeeper elders advised me to do so, so I can have safe passage during my tomb explorations.” (Raymond, below, in the bush if you can see him)

 

He has help from another dedicated researcher, who prefers not to be identified. We are grateful for his knowledge shared.

 

 

 

Bushing bashing: where's Raymond? (photo: Khoo Ee Hoon)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bushing bashing: deep in research (photo: Khoo Ee Hoon)

Bushing bashing: deciphering (photo: Khoo Ee Hoon)

 

Some of the Cheang Hong Lim related tombs, here at Block 3 Division D, were easy to see just from the tarmac paved road. However there were the more challenging ones hidden by trees and dense overgrowth.

 

Bushing bashing: the tomb whisperer reflects on his find (photo: Khoo Ee Hoon)

 

He is staring at  a headstone of one of Chean Hong Lim’s cluster of related tombs.

Bushing bashing: unusual headstone (photo: Khoo Ee Hoon)

 

 

The inscription:
“天运太平丙辰伍年捌月壹拾五旦吉置”
“颍川”
“三十八世皇妣祖母谥上怜陈门吕氏之佳城”

The date seems to be 1856. How well it has been preserved!

Bushing bashing: headstone revealed amid thick undergrowth (photo: Khoo Ee Hoon)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

End of a fruitful day bush bashing (photo: Khoo Ee Hoon)

 

For a post on the finds in Mandarin, click here.

 

 

 

 

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