NDP @ Bukit Brown1
NDP @ Bukit Brown
by Martina Yeo
As Singaporeans gather at the floating platform or Esplanade area to celebrate the nation’s 47th birthday, a group of some 70 celebrated this occasion together with the “Nation’s Deceased Pioneers” at Bukit Brown. As people gathered around at the round-about area, a flag of the nation was hung up on one of the rainforest trees.
After a brief introduction of Bukit Brown by Catherine, participants were handed a NDP goody bag each. After all, what’s an NDP celebration without goody bags? The goody bag was uniquely Bukit Brown and filled with symbolic meanings.
It contained an ice-cream stick with a number written in red (symbolizing the graves affected by the 8-lane road), a packet of instant coffee (symbolizing the name that Bukit Brown was popularly known by, Kopi Sua or Coffee Hill), a candle (for participants to offer to any grave), a box of matchsticks (for lighting the candle and which symbolizes one of the Bukit Brown pioneers, Lee Kim Soo’s story from rags-to-riches), “Eagle” brand medicated oil (which is a brand successfully build up by Tan Jim Lay a grandson of Tan Quee Lan), and a party popper (which symbolizes the five-coloured paper which is laid out when descendants visit their ancestors’ graves during the Qing Ming Festival as an act of remembrance).
Look at the smiling faces of those participants who were the first to guess the names of those who were buried in the graves that correspond to the number on the ice-cream sticks they received! They each won a Bukit Brown T-shirt.
Clare then led the excited participants for a tour to visit some of the pioneers. Some seemed unable to contain their excitement when they saw a hanging branch.
Amongst the pioneers, participants visited the graves of Mr. & Mrs. Tay Koh Yat, Mr. Lee Kim Soo, Mr. & Mrs. See Tiong Wah, Mr. & Mrs. Khoo Kay Hian, Mr. Khoo Kay Hian’s mother and Mr. & Mrs. Tan Yong Tian.
After a short tour to some of these graves, the participants went back to the place under the Ole rain tree for a buffet. While some were making new friends and enjoying the food, others played with the dogs, patted the horse or took turns to hold the flag and took a photo with it.
More games followed. Those who managed to answer the quiz questions correctly were smiling from ear-to-ear as they received their prize of painted tiles.
Participants then sung the national anthem and said the pledge as one voice. Of course, like other NDPs, there was also the “fly-over,” but at Bukit Brown, participants folded their own paper planes using papers printed with the national flag and “flying” it using their han
Many continued to stay on to watch the sunset, learn yoga from Bala, watch monkeys jumping from one tree to another, sing along with others or simply to enjoy the atmosphere of the place.
About Martina Yeo who documented this for us: