- Lee Poh Neo ( Khoo Kay Hian's 1st wife ) - peg 1905
- Tan Lai Neo ( Khoo Kay Hian's 2nd wife ) - peg 1907
- Tan Sing Yong ( Khoo Kay Hian's 3rd wife ) - peg 1908
- Chen Xian Niang ( Khoo Kay Hian's mother ) - peg 1910
We arrived at Bukit Brown Land Transport Authority on-site office at 8:30 am and were given a visitor pass to wear and brought by van to the site. Everything was professionally done and with us was a Land Transport Authority (LTA) officer as well as a staff from the documentation team who were engaged not only to document each tomb but to collect and catalogue the artifacts found from the tombs. The volunteer also conducted an interview with the descendant.
After saying a few words of silent prayers, the "soil breaking" process began with one swift swing of the changkul after the grave diggers assigned to the various tomb sought permission from the descendant present to proceed. The grave diggers (who usually are tomb keepers as well at various cemeteries ) are contract workers by LTA, paid on a per tomb basis that they exhumed.
|Soil breaking by the various grave diggers|
One of the grave diggers is a 80+ Chinese man with the stamina and energy that put me to shame. Midway digging while removing large heavy granite rocks he found, he asked me whether i wanted to take over ! I smiled meekly and told him in Hokkien that i was too weak for such a difficult task. After an hour, most of them have dug 1.8 meters in depth.
|Grave diggers making fast work of the task at hand|
|Madam Tan Sin Yong's coffin being opened|
|Canopy / Tentage being placed over Madam Tan Lai Neo's tomb|
|Collecting remains of Madam Tan Lai Neo. She was buried in a Western style coffin|
|Collecting the remains of Madam Tan Sin Yong|
|Washing with Chinese wine before being bagged|
|Bagging the remains for cremation and final resting place in the Columbarium|
In exhumations, i was told that different personal artifacts have been found. This artifacts are documented by the Bukit Brown documentation team and catalogued. In some cases this artifacts are donated to the museum for future exhibitions or storage. Below are some of the artifacts commonly found during exhumation.
|Earthen ware utensils found among the remains and a mirror|
|[Left ] Coffin Nail with wood fragments [Right] mirror|
|Western coffin side decorative|
The exhumation marks the demise of parts of Bukit Brown. Although 4,153 graves are affected, the area of concern represents an area that represent 16% of Bukit Brown and also cuts major access points to this area. The exhumation itself destroys many unique tombs and forcibly remove many pioneers buried here. For the fortunate, they are remembered by the descendants and claimed. For the many unclaimed, they will be eventually disposed at sea. I hope more descendants will step up, to not only claim but join the efforts to save the rest of Bukit Brown as a Heritage Park for future generations.
|Rest of the exhumed tombs|
|Remains bagged, for cremation|
Khoo Kay Hian (Bukit Brown), posted on July 30, 2012
Public Exhumations of graves started, posted on December 19, 2013
How to claim
Those who wish to claim their ancestors' remains can do so via one of the following methods:
(1) By fax and post to :
Land Transport Authority of Singapore
Survey and Lands Division
1 Hampshire Road
Block 5 Level 2
Fax : 6396 1136
(2) Register in-person at our office at the above-stated address between 8.30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Mondays to Fridays except public holidays.
(3) Visit the LTA site office at Bukit Brown Cemetery (at open area near the cemetery gate) between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Mondays to Fridays except public holidays.
The list of names of the deceased which can be discerned from the tombstones of the Affected Graves (excluding those graves that have been claimed) can be viewed here. However, this list could not be comprehensive as some of the deceased’s full names cannot be discerned from the tombstones due to age and wear-and-tear. Next-of-kin/descendants who may have ancestors buried within the affected boundary should also contact LTA to confirm if their ancestors’ graves are affected by the exhumation exercise.
LTA would also like to inform claimants who have registered their claims of ancestors' remains, that the exhumation of the Affected Graves will be carried out in stages after 15th April 2013. All registered claimants will be notified via post prior to the exhumation date.
Exhumation form. [website] Land Transport Authority
Final exhumation notice. [website] Land Transport Authority