Uncovering secrets of 19th century Singapore
Muslim cemetery in Kampong Glam a treasure trove of port town's past
Published on Sep 5, 2014 6:47 AM
Tucked in a corner off Victoria Street is a little known Muslim cemetery that houses the remains of royalty and luminaries from early Singapore.
Shrouded in heavy foliage and thick with weeds, it holds the secrets of a cosmopolitan Singapore in the 19th century, with tombstones bearing influences from not only nearby Java, but even the faraway Ottoman Empire.
The design of the gravestones reflects the "socio-cultural diversity of the early port town at Kampong Glam", said Dr Imran Tajudeen, an assistant professor at the National University of Singapore's architecture department who has been leading a team of 11 in a six-month study.
The prominent personalities at the 19th century Jalan Kubor - Singapore's oldest Muslim graveyard - include Tengku Abdul Kadir, the president of the Singapore Malay Union during the 1940s, local Justice of Peace Haji Ambok Sooloh Haji Omar and traders from Riau, Palembang and Pontianak.
To continue reading, log in if you are a subscriber
If you are not a subscriber, you can get instant, unlimited access here
It is a treasure house of memories where people can trace their lineages... It is important that the place is preserved. If you have no past, you have no future.
- Dr Mohamed Effendy from NUS' department of Southeast Asian Studies, who was also part of the team