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.
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!