Sunday, March 09, 2014

Chew Geok Leong (Bukit Brown)

One of the most iconic tomb in Bukit Brown and the most photograph, is the tomb of Mr Chew Geok Leong. The tomb is iconic as it has painted sikh guards guarding it. Another reason for its popularity, is its location -which is just beside the tar road and easily visible to walkers, joggers and drivers.
Chew Geok Leong  (1993)
Iconic sikh guards (with color today)
Chew Geok Leong was a former Qing official who came to Singapore at the turn of the century. He fled China as he did not want to align himself with the warlord Yuan Shih Kai who was at that time consolidating his power in an attempt to overthrow the Emperor. In Singapore, Chew Geok Leong became a Chinese physician  who operated his business from Geylang. Once he established himself here, he brought with him his wife, his seven children, a slave girl and a servant.

Chew Geok Leong had a house in Kampong Batak, now know as Jalan Eunos, while he operated his traditional chinese medicine shop in Geylang Serai (i suspect 925 Geylang Road).
Chew Geok Leong
A living tomb
His youngest daughter, Madam Chew Chwee Eng (she was 70 years when the article was written in 1993) recounted that his father came from a family with 4 generations of chinese physicians. She also recalled that when her father was alive, he already bought the coffin and the icon sikh guards. The coffin was placed at one of the servant quarters.  I have also heard oral accounts that Chew Geok Leong's tomb was commissioned when he was alive.

Chew Geok Leong passed away in 1932.

References
Grave guarded by statutes of two Sikhs belongs to Chinese Physician. ( 1993, January 5). The Straits Times
Sikh guards watch over grave. (1993, January 2). The Straits Times
Sikh guards at Bukit Brown. Rojak Librarian, posted on December 11, 2011

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