Follow new trail to Bukit Brown landmarks

Bukit Brown volunteer Fabian Tee (left), 50, showing Social and Family Development Minister Desmond Lee (in green) yesterday the details of a tomb at the launch of the trail at Bukit Brown Cemetery.
Bukit Brown volunteer Fabian Tee (left), 50, showing Social and Family Development Minister Desmond Lee (in green) yesterday the details of a tomb at the launch of the trail at Bukit Brown Cemetery.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

History buffs can now make their own way through a trail of 25 tombs at Bukit Brown Cemetery, with the help of the area's first self-guided trail.

The Singapore Heritage Society (SHS) launched the Bukit Brown Wayfinder trail yesterday. It has detailed signs and write-ups of tombs along parts of the cemetery.

The tombs, located at Blocks 1 and 3, were specially chosen because they are easily accessed from well-worn paths and contain diverse bits of Singapore's history and heritage, said the society.

These include the tomb of prominent businessman Ong Sam Leong and his family, which is the largest one, spanning 600 sq m - about the size of seven four-room HDB flats.

Other tombs include that of Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation founder Tan Ean Kiam, and a mysterious "cemented tomb" with a mound made of cement, the reason for which still eludes researchers.

The trail can be accessed from Lorong Halwa, which lies at the portion of Bukit Brown Cemetery that is unaffected for now by the construction of a major eight-lane road.

Visitors can download a 115-page online booklet from the SHS website which has the story and history of each tombstone, as well as walking maps and recommended routes.

The trail also contains information on the major rites and rituals still practised in Bukit Brown.

The Wayfinder trail is the result of a multi-agency work group chaired by the Ministry of National Development, along with the Urban Redevelopment Authority, National Parks Board and the Land Transport Authority, together with volunteer groups SHS and All Things Bukit Brown.

Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee, who launched the trail, said it is another way for the public to learn the history and heritage of Bukit Brown.

"This Wayfinder trail supplements the very intense work by the volunteers," said Mr Lee, who is also Second Minister for National Development.

SHS president Jack Lee said: "The Wayfinder brings to life - so to speak - the people resting in the cemetery."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 19, 2017, with the headline 'Follow new trail to Bukit Brown landmarks'. Print Edition | Subscribe