A Grave Affair

21 Mar 2012 – Bukit Brown

The last time by passing this area was in the 1950s when we drove from the Leungs who lived@Kheam Hock Rd then to the SICC@Upper Thomson Rd. Recently Bukit Brown has created much attention as a highway will be build and some of the graves will be exhumed. To make room for the living as they say, but let’s hope that these magnificent trees can be saved as they are still living! Just a first and last visit before the constructions begin!

Revision: 22 Mar: just discovered that my KCH sister-in-law Mabel ONG LAM’s great grand father ONG Ewe Hai is buried here. He had a daughter ONG Ann Neo and the same name in the exhumation list at grave number 1955. Would have taken a pix if I had this earlier. A little bird told me that the SIN Govt would elevate part of the new road to save more graves and hopefully trees too. Tkx to Raymond ONG & Sean COLLUM for the info.

Appreciations to Hannah and her parents for wanting to join this early morning paranormal walk!

For those who think of Singapore as an antiseptic place of high-rise buildings, bustling streets, glitzy shopping malls and immaculately tidy parks, Bukit Brown comes as a bit of a shock….


The Bukit Brown Municipal Cemetery, located between Lornie Road and Mount Pleasant Road, was officially opened on 1 January 1922. Previously a 211-acre plot of land that belonged to the Hokkien ONG clan, the Municipality had acquired a section of it in 1918-1919 to serve the burial needs of the wider Chinese community. It was opened for more than half a century until its closure in 1973. 

Bukit Brown was named after George Henry Brown, a shipowner, trader and broker who arrived in Singapore in the 1840s. He opened a company named Brown, Knight & Co., at Malacca Street in 1865

On 21 March 2010, a newspaper report claimed that the oldest grave in Bukit Brown dated to as early as 1833, not 1844 as previously claimed. The headstone belongs to a man called Fang Shan, who died in 1833. Fang Shan’s grave is looked after by the Fang Shee Association, a local clan association for those with the surname Fang.

The tomb of ONG Sam Leong and his wife in Bukit Brown is said to be the largest tomb in Singapore. Built in 1918 before plot sizes were fixed, the area is reported to be as large as 10 small Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats


We say we love flowers, yet we pluck them. We say we love trees, yet we cut them down. And people still wonder why some are afraid when told they are loved – Author Unknown

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  1. Pingback: The Secret Lifes of Birds! | 1st SIN 'AT' thru-hiker

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