Feb 28, 2010

Cemetery no more at Jalan Tanah Puteh

Ex Muslim Cemetery @ Jalan Tanah Puteh

In land-scarce Singapore, exhumation is the norm and not exception for cemeteries. Post independence, tracts of cemeteries were cleared and what was once house for the dead became home for the living. The clearing is ongoing and gone will be for my subject of fascination. On Day 2 of Chinese New Year, I visited one such plot, where headstones could still be seen some months ago.
It was Siew Min who brought my attention to the ex-cemetery at Jalan Tanah Puteh off Upper East Coast Road. Last year we drove around the area ostensibly to check out some historical sites and his car stopped at Jalan Tanah Puteh. In the recent past, according to Siew Min, the place - next to modern private housing - retained the feel of Old Siglap, with kampong houses and their "mini plantations", but had now fallen to the bulldozer.

Image Credit: Google Maps
Image Credit: Google Earth

I saw overturned soil that day. The patch of green, seen in Google Earth, was gone. This Chinese New Year, I paid the site a visit hoping to find remains of the Muslim cemetery. Goodness, the whole place had been levelled!

Ex Muslim Cemetery @ Jalan Tanah Puteh
Top Left: Old Siglap knoll with cemetery headstones and retaining wall.
Top Right: Knoll levelled during Chinese New Year. House behind the knoll now visible.
Bottom Left: From reverse direction. The house in danger of landslide?
Bottom Right: The same house now safe from landslide.


Victor said...

Like the cemetery, this post also mysteriously disappeared 2 days ago. (I got the link to the post in "My Blog List" on my blog but when I clicked on it, the post was not found on your blog.)

I know some Chinese families will go to the cemetery during CNY to pay respect to their departed loved ones. But to a Muslim cemetery? Hmm...

peter said...

That was what I saw also Victor....maybe Icemoon wants to make it more scary.

The "living" also live with the "dearly departed". I recall the bungalows at Andrew Road facing Bukit Brown Chinese Cemetery. The developers built a screen between the bungalow and the cemetery. I am not sure whether the screens are still here today but I saw them in the mid-60s.

Icemoon said...

Victor, your "My Blog List" is very useful. I depend on that more than Google Reader. :)

Hope you guys had a good scare .. just joking :P

eastie dw said...

is this cemetery an unofficial one used by the villagers a long time ago? it's not listed in any of the historical SG maps, unlike the Muslim cemetery atop Siglap Hill.

side info:
passed by this location recently and my dog started peering ahead in a sudden alert stance. he also sensed lots of "smells" (he was not his usual self).