Monday, August 12, 2013

Ng Thian Eng (Greater Bukit Brown)

Funeral of Mr. Ng Thian Eng
source: a2o
Funeral of Mr. Ng Thian Eng
What started with two images i found on the a2o website, lead me to the headline "Missing trader mystery deepens". The images are of the funeral of Mr. Ng Thian Eng, a businessman. Mr. Ng Thian Eng and his family formerly lived in Shanghai where he was in charge of the Chung Nam Bank, established by his late millionaire father, Mr Ng Aik Choo. He was also a partner of the Sin Chew Brickworks, in Jurong Road.

Sin Chew Bricks
(source: NewspaperSG)
Mr. Ng Thian Eng told his family members he was going to office on Christmas eve, 1952. He left his home at 10:30 am in a taxi hailed by his daughter, Miss Ng Say Cho and later visited a barber's shop owned by Mr Low Cheng Seng in the Arcade. He was last seen entering a taxi in Raffles Place. He did not show up in his office and was not seen since for a month until his body was eventually found by a farmer. His decomposed body was discovered lying in thick lallang, by a farmer by the name of Ho Mi Nei  who was cutting banana leaves in a jungle near 9 1/2 milestone Jurong Road, 16 feet from a bus stop. Mr Koh Peng Lam, Mr. Ng's brother-in-law and partner identified him by his shoe and belt.

Suspected Foul Play and result of investigation
Relatives of Mr Ng told reporters that they suspected foul play as the body was not recovered in one piece with the head and one foot detached from the main body. A severed rope was found on a tree near the body and belongings found on the deceased included two cigarettes, 30 cents, an identity card, a belt and 1 shoe. The advanced stage of decomposition made it difficult to trace for any possible wounds and injuries. A gold pocket watch, gold chain and locket, pen, medal and a pair of spectacles were reported to be missing.

The police found a small bottle, the size of an ink pot containing liquid near the body which was sent for analysis. Dr. A Aaron, Assistant Government Chemist reported that the body was too decomposed for the cause of death to be decided. The report went further to describe that arsenic and disinfectant was found in Mr. Ng's stomach and death was probably due to poisoning. Mr Giam Chong Hing, the Singapore Coroner at the inquest returned the verdict of suicide, motive unknown.

Ng Thian Eng
(source: NewspaperSG )
Bukit Brown connection
Ng Thian Eng, 51 years of age (listed in another newspaper article as 57 years of age) was buried at a Singapore Chinese Cemetery, off Whitley Road on January 26, 1953. He has 6 sons (with the youngest of whom is 13 years of age) and 1 daughter. His widow was Madam Ho Leong Neo, age 47. Accompanying the procession is 100 leading members of the Singapore Hokkien community.

Where exactly is this cemetery? I suspect possibly, this is located in Kopi Sua  or Loa Sua, what is known as Greater Bukit Brown cemetery but i do not know the exact location of the tomb.

Missing trader mystery deepens. (1952, December 31). The Straits Times
Mr.Ng is buried. (1953, January 27). The Singapore Free Press
Rope found on tree near trader's body. (1953, January 27). The Straits Times
Test for mystery liquid. (1953, January 27). Singapore Standard
Bottle may hold the vital death clue. (1953, January 30).The Straits Times
Sought Poison-And Bottle was beside his body. (1953, April 28). The Straits Times

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Singapore 48th National Day celebration in Bukit Brown.

This is the second year, the Bukit Brown volunteers (Brownies) held its National Day celebration in Bukit Brown. This year also marks the year that the landscape of Bukit Brown will change forever with the impending exhumation and highway confirmed via announcement of the Tender award and press announcement. Will there be another celebration in Bukit Brown come 2014, we don't know and only time will tell.

For now, we paid respects to the memories of the 4,153 graves and the flora and fauna that will displaced forever and with it also the continued danger that the rest of Bukit Brown will also be in the future, destroyed.  In my mind, i worry that Bukit Brown Cemetery might never have the chance in the future to qualify as a UNESCO World Heritage site when this 8 lane highway changes it landscape for good. What will also happen to the unclaimed tombs exhumed ? This poor souls will be disposed to sea if left unclaimed eventually. This and the fact that we have failed to spread the word or moved the heart and minds of the rest of the citizens and the leaders who could have change the situation, slowly sunk in. I was very sad, but i know this was not the appropriate time to display it. What we need to display was our continued strength, courage and to demonstrate our continued drive to raise awareness no matter what.

I am pleased to observed that rather than lament or complain on what could have been and what more can be done, the Brownies took it in stride, conducting tours  for the many first time visitors and repeat visitors too. (3 different groups going to various different hills) The Singapore anthem and pledge followed after that and in true blue Brownie and Singapore tradition, we celebrated with food, music and good company. We continue hoping and continue spreading the message of the rich heritage and habitat of Bukit Brown.

Happy 48th Birthday Singapore ! As per this year's theme, Many Stories, One Singapore, there are also many, many stories from the pioneers and it descendants, let's not forget there is also only one Bukit Brown. We hope this stories are kept intact forever, as Singapore grows and progress as a nation rich in wealth and also heart ! Majulah Singapura !

August 9 visitors at Chew Boon Lay

Coming together for the anthem and pledge

Coming together for the anthem and pledge

A minute of solemn silence
Official report on NDP 2013 @Bukit Brown available on Bukit

Monday, August 05, 2013

Tender to Construct 8 lane highway across Bukit Brown awarded

5 August 2013 [from URA website]

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has awarded a tender to Swee Hong Limited for the construction of a new dual four-lane road connecting MacRitchie Viaduct to Adam Flyover via Bukit Brown Cemetery.
Announced in September 2011, the new road, which includes a bridge over existing streams, will alleviate the congestion currently experienced along Lornie Road and the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) during peak hours as well as cater to expected growth in traffic demand.  The tender will be awarded at a contract value of $134.7 million.

Public exhumation of affected graves to begin from Q4 2013
With the award of the tender, public exhumation of the graves affected by the road works will begin from 4th Quarter 2013. Since details of the affected graves were published in March 2012, LTA has received a total of 1,263 claims for affected graves. LTA will be contacting the next-of-kin of affected graves who had registered their claims to make arrangements for exhumation. Construction of the new road will begin in stages after exhumation of the affected graves is completed. While construction is ongoing, members of the public can continue to enter other parts of Bukit Brown Cemetery that are not affected by the road construction. Details of the access routes will be made available to the public when construction starts. The new road is planned to be completed by end 2017.

Update on documentation efforts
In view of the heritage value of Bukit Brown Cemetery, the government had commissioned the documentation of graves affected by the new road. A Working Committee formed in October 2011 has completed the documentation of 4,153 graves that would be affected by or are in the vicinity of the new road. Led by Dr Hui Yew-Foong, the Working Committee will continue to research and document the social history, memories, and rituals associated with Bukit Brown Cemetery.
Members of the public can visit the project website at for more information on the graves. The website currently contains a visual database of the graves that would be affected, including photographs accompanied by Chinese and English names where available. We are currently studying various options to make these documentation findings more accessible to members of the public in future.
We will continue to work with other agencies and stakeholders to commemorate the heritage of Bukit Brown.
- Jointly issued by LTA and URA

News Release. [website].URA website.
Final call for area affected by highway. [website]. Rojak Librarian
Road that will cut through Bukit Brown to proceed. [website]. Rojak Librarian
New road to cut through Bukit Brown.[website]. Rojak Librarian

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Eddie Chan Sin Chuan (Bukit Brown)

Eddie Chan Sin Chuan is a 16 year boy buried in plot 64, Section B Block 1 ( record 7082). His tomb is simple but at the same time one of the most beautifully decorated tomb with majolica tiles or peranakan tiles covering almost the entire tomb.

Headestone with crest like border and beautiful inscriptions

Completely tiled tomb of Mr Eddie Chan Sin Chuan 


Who is Master Eddie Chan who died during the Japanese occupation in June 29, 1942 ? It would have been difficult and expensive for his parents to able to afford such a beautifully decorated tomb especially during the war years where materials were hard to come by.  So far i have found nothing about Eddie Chan Sin Chuan nor about his parents. The only lead i have is this simple group photo taken in August 1941 (less than a year before Eddie's death) celebrating the eight anniversary of Playfair B.P. Eddie Chan is standing, first row from the left.

If you remember Eddie Chan and have more information about him, do let me know.

August 10, 1941 (source: NewspaperSG)