Report : Our Roots, Our Future


The exhibition Bukit Brown: Our Roots, Our Future, co-organised by All Things Bukit Brown and the Chui Huay Lim Club was held  between 29th June  and  7th July 2013. With over 60 panels, it  marked the biggest exhibition of its kind on Bukit Brown.

It was officially launched by Jane Ittogi Shanmugaratnam who gave the opening speech before touring the exhibition, which featured collections from descendants as well from private collections.

More photos of the exhibition  here.

Jane Ittogi Shanmugaratnam being escorted by Chew Kheng Chuan and other members of the organising committee (photo Gan Su-Lin)

Victor Lim explaining the origins of Peranakan Tiles to the  GOH as Ang Yik Han, who conceptualised the themes of  the exhibition looks on (photo Gan Su-Lin)

Chen Kezhen, artist and collector  explains  the intricacies of the inscriptions on Cheang Hong Lim’s ancestral tablet to Prof Phua of  Chui Huay Lim (photo Gan Su-Lin)

Walter Lim, the main contributor to the pioneers section sharing with visitors (photo Gan Su-Lin)

A set of ritual vessels previously used by a Teochew clan association when paying respects to their ancestors during Qing Ming and other occasions. The set of five consists of a censer, a pair of candlestick holders, and a pair of vases. (photo Gan Su-Lin)

(photo Gan Su-Lin)

A dapper Raymond Goh and Lim Su Min albeit from two very different periods (photo Bianca Polak)

Photo opportunity with GOH (photo Gan Su-Lin)

Special thanks  to our official photographers on opening night, Gan Su-Lin and Bianca Polak

About the Exhibition:

Our Roots, Our Future  has 4 themes:

A)  History  – Bukit Brown’s place in the history of the evolvement of Chinese cemeteries in Singapore, its administration and topography.

A 1898 map of Bukit Brown and its environs

B) Our Pioneers – their contributions to social and community services, education, commerce and banking; the role members of the Singapore chapter of Tong Meng Hui (China Revolution Alliance) and Republican Party played in the 1911 Revolution which changed the course of China’s history.

Pioneers of Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce

C) Tomb Culture – understanding tomb design, carvings and statuary in relation to feng shui principles and beliefs; the development of  features unique to South East Asia such as Peranakan tiles and Sikh guards; inscriptions with  different calendar systems, ranks , and insignia  reflecting a century of political change of China and colonial powers.

The Feng Shiu of a Nanyang Tomb ( photo Lai Chee Kien)

D) The Living Cemetery – speaks to the potential of Bukit Brown for UNESCO World Heritage listing by showcasing the popular weekend heritage and nature tours conducted by volunteer guides, flora and fauna, student projects, refurbished tombs, Qing Ming and the community of tomb keepers.

Raymond Goh – sharing the history and heritage of Bukit Brown

Exhibition artifacts include a 3 D model of Bukit Brown, implements used in feng shui and a display of Peranakan tiles.

One of many Peranakan tiles which can be found in Bukit Brown (Photo Victor Lim)

Complementing the exhibition was a series of talks which include presentations on cemetery research in Malaysia and Singapore culminating in a panel discussion, nature in Bukit Brown, personal accounts by descendants on rediscovering their roots and Qing Ming practices.

There was also a  screening and talk by the producer of  “Light on Lotus Hill” –  an award winning documentary set against the backdrop of the Sino Japanese war about the Buddhist Abbot Venerable Pu Liang and the part he played in supporting the China Relief Fund and the recruitment of Nanyang volunteers who served on  the Burma Road.

About the Organisers:

Chui Huay Lim Club established since 1845, has a rich history of 167 years. It was originally setup for Teochew businessmen to engage in business networking and recreational activities.

All Things Bukit Brown is the banner for a group of dedicated volunteers who conduct weekly public tours and independent research on the history, habitat and heritage of Bukit Brown Cemetery. They share their on-going learning journey in “Our Roots, Our Future”







Print Friendly, PDF & Email