Mar 19, 2010

The Old East Coast (2) - Remains of Cemetery "Kubor Lansam" at Siglap

Remains of Kubor Lansam at Jalan Sempadan

It is the occassional chinese tomb in the wild that gets reported while not much is written about their Muslim counterparts. Hence I was delighted when Siew Min alerted me to a pair of solitary Muslim tombs in Siglap area.

The tombs are at the end of Jalan Sempadan off Upper East Coast Road. A showflat has sprung up off the main road and I witnessed construction activities behind. The tombs, in the open space between the showflat and Villa Marina condominium, might be lost to redevelopment.

Street directory of Jalan Sempadan area from different era. Locus 74 in the 1954 edition is Keramat Kubor Lansam. (Image credit: 2010 street directory from

The 1954 Street Directory states:
Keramat Kubor Lansam - A small cemetery said to include the grave of a Malay named Lasam from Riau or sourthern Borneo, who arrived on Singapore Island with his followers during the time of Sultan Husain Mohammed Shah, and founded a settlement at this spot. The story seems ratehr too reminiscent of the more authentic accounts of the Bugis leader buried at Telok Belanga. Nonetheless there has certainly been a village here since before 1840, and the presence of the graves cannot be doubted.
Today the pair of solitary tombs are the only reminder of Keramat Kubor Lansam. Or might one of them be the Keramat itself, the very fact that might prolong its fate? Keramat or not, it is heartening to see Muslim tombs in a predominantly Malay area before they are lost to redevelopment like Jalan Tanah Puteh.

Remains of Kubor Lansam at Jalan SempadanRemains of Kubor Lansam at Jalan Sempadan
Left:  A "couple tomb". I think the different headstone designs indicate different gender; husband and wife might be buried inside.
Right: There are actually three tombs in two "lots". This is the same tomb as the cover photo. You can see the "couple tomb" in the background.

Two old landmarks from 1954 still exist. Siglap School is Wisma Mendaki today and the Mosque became famous for the wrong reason recently.

Siglap School now Wisma Mendaki
Masjid Kampung Siglap
Top: Wisma Mendaki
Bottom: Kampong Siglap Mosque

A canal from Upper East Coast Road used to drain water to the sea. Today the canal is covered under Siglap Linear Park. If you get to jog or cycle along the covered canal from Marine Parade direction, look left after Villa Marina condominium, the tombs are resting peacefully underneath the trees. If you are into heritage seawalls like what I found here, look out for an odd flight of steps leading down the drain at the end of Kee Sun Ave, not far from Siglap Linear Park.

Steps and Old Seawall at end of Kee Sun Ave.
What is this odd flight of steps down the drain? Marine Parade Road on the left. In the background, the intersection of Siglap Linear Park with Marine Parade Road.


me said...

As i know..the real moslem tomb should not use headstone but in indonesia a bit different cause influenced by local culture..these tomb proved that they have the same root..

Icemoon said...

The real Muslim tomb will not have elaborate markers. I seen photo of the cemetery in Saudi, think belonging to the Prophet's family.

Icemoon said...

Was referring to this. I think this is where the Prophet's family buried in Medina, correct me if I'm wrong.

Henry Koh S.K. said...

My family bungalow (Yellow color) is at No.16 Jalan Sempadan kampong situated just beside the mosque and facing the sea-side where I lived in the early 1950s. Beside there is a canal dividing Kee Sun Mansion house at Kee Sun Avenue. Those were the my good old days of Jalan Sempadan kampong living. My former school St. Patrick's School is not far at East Coast Road (beside Cathay Keris Film) studio.

Hope to see more photos of Jalan Sempadan Kampong scene.

Anonymous said...

Just to share that indeed there were houses facing the beach. Do check old maps on where the beach started before reclamation. Off-hand, it is uncertain what is the functional use of the steps. It may be to lead to the beach, or simply to allow backdoor access to cross the drain to reach the main road in the past. Do walk around the older houses in the Siglap area, quite a number of them have steps to provide backdoor access across drains.

Henry Koh S.K said...

Yes I agreed with "Annoymous" commented that there are some houses facing the Jalan Sempadan sea. My family No.16, Jalan Sempadan 2-storey bungalow (yellow-color) was facing directly (about few hundred meters) from the open sea. Our master bedroom is facing directly to the open sea. There was a wall built to keep the sea water from the sea. Our neighbour on right-side is also a one-storey bungalow owned by a medical doctor and on our left-side was Ching Kee Sun huge mansion (of Kee Sun Avenue) which was divided by a big drain in-between. Presently, now is known as Marine Parade (a re-claimed land) from the sea. Sad that the present Jalan Sempadan Kampong is all gone and delevoped with condos.

Unknown said...

My grand dad n mum originally frm 63 kg.Siglap..n I was born @ the exact location..near the kramat Lasam..Mylate uncle will offer prayer @ the tomb..

Anonymous said...

On Nov 29 2022 @ around 2.30pm I was driving along Upper East Coast Road towards Jalan Tua Kong. While driving near to WooMonChew Road I saw a lady crossing the road in front of a moving van on the left side of the road. From about 200m away I could see her umbrella raising over the top of the van. At this moment I sounded my horn and pressed the brake pedal. She cleared the van and continued walking across the road without a care. At this moment I thought - that’s it she’s hit - my car stopped - in a blink she disappeared and immediately appeared after the centre white road divider line on my right side of the road unscathed. I turned around and she turned around and this is what I saw. Her face was like those Balinese dancer - her’s eyebrows were pinkish- her eyes were round- she wore Nonya style - her sarong was green & her baju was white. I saw no feet. My contention is could she a spiritual person of another world This incident happened near to Jalan Sempadan which is opposite the newly opened Tiong Bahru Bakery Restaurant?

eastie dw said...

just a similar sharing of sightings and/or cemeteries in the area... anyone know if the Jalan Tanah Puteh cemetery is 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 the location recently and my pet started peering ahead in a sudden alert stance. he also sensed lots of "smells" (he was not his usual self).