Friday, March 23, 2012

Accidental Tourist - Mixed Feelings walks around Bukit Brown

Walking around a cemetery is unheard of in Asia - especially one that has been around since 1830s (over 180 years old!) but it was with mixed feelings that I undertook both walks (once with Nature Society & another with Heritage Singapore) held at Bukit Brown Cemetery. This is because the local Singapore government has decided to cut a 8-lane road across the cemetery. A lot of news, both local and international, (Economist & Wall Street Journal amongst others) have been reported regarding this episode (much like the one involving the KTM Tanjong Pagar Railway that was closed in 2011). 

Someone mentioned that we Singaporeans only throng to an old place when the government wants to do something to it - I agree with this statement but would also want to state that in a modern city, we can only count the number of old places that are being left alone. For me, I strongly believe that if I don't record or experience the place as it was before redevelopment, there will NEVER be another chance and as such, I continue with my quest to visit these old places. Someone else chimed that the long necks of the construction cranes is Singapore's national bird - a fact that my city country develops at an incredible (sometimes alarming) speed. 

I have only spent a short amount of time at Bukit Brown - however, the tranquility and the peace that only a place filled with tombstones can  provide will be missed. The trips actually brought me back to my younger days when I would go with my grandmother to visit my grandfather's grave when it was still at Paya Lebar area. 

For those with better knowledge, the imminent loss of those graves in Bukit Brown equals a loss to future generations as with the exhumation of graves, the clues to the past concerning funeral rites, material usage, architecture and last but not least the impact on flora and fauna will be lost and irrecoverable.  I believe there is a Chinese saying that goes something along this line...."if you take care of your ancestors, your future will be protected" which for those making way for the highway, is a foregone conclusion. 

A sad song is playing in my head as I write this entry & I think it will continue playing in my mind for some time.....

Till the next time, onto the world and beyond! 

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