There has been some debate in Singapore over the fate of Bukit Brown Cemetery [wikipedia.org], the old Chinese Public Cemetery which opened in 1922 but has been mostly abandoned for a long time (the last burials were in 1972). Most visitors today are jogging. The government wants to start developing the land covered by the cemetery and surrounding undeveloped woodland. Many people don’t want it developed, they enjoy the peaceful nature filled setting and some are worried that it will exacerbate the flooding problem when it is all paved over. And I expect residents of the more exclusive and rich neighborhoods around it don’t want a 40,000 person HDB, or public housing, development in their backyard.
I thought I would go and check the place out since the government has decided to go ahead with redevelopment, so I visited it with Nir [flickr.com] to take a few photos. I have driven past the few graves that are close to the main road many times, often thinking if they would be nice to photograph, but I have never stopped. I also never realized, from the few graves that can be seen from the main road, how big the cemetery is — according to the National Archives of Singapore there are more than 100,000 graves. Unfortunately we didn’t stay very long, 40 minutes or so, as we both have other commitments. If I have a chance I may try to go back, the place deserves to be explored. There are many graves now so overgrown with trees and bush that you can stand a meter away and not see them. I’m sure there are some amazing photos waiting to be taken.
You can see the full Bukit Brown Cemetery, Singapore, February 2012 photoset on Flickr [flickr.com].