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How graves are exhumed

About 80,000 graves, of which 45,000 are Chinese and 35,000 are Muslim graves, will be exhumed in phases to make way for the expansion of Tengah Air Base. It will accommodate the relocation of Paya Lebar Air Base, which will be completed from 2030.

Armed with various tools, workers spend up to three hours to get through the soil in a Chinese grave exhumation, but once the gravedigger gets in the coffin, it is just bare hands. The gravedigger's hands are recognised as the only tools delicate and thorough enough to retrieve the bones. As for Muslim grave exhumation, a new interment system was introduced in 2007 where concrete crypts are built below ground to save space. It allows the bodies interred to be arranged in a more compact way than traditional earth plots. AskSTart takes a look at how these exhumations are carried out.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2017, with the headline How graves are exhumed. Subscribe