Sunday, November 19, 2017

Bukit Brown Wayfinder Trail (Bukit Brown)

The Bukit Brown self-guided wayfinder trail was touted by the Straits Times as the first self-guided trail guide. Well, factually it was not. When i first explored Bukit Brown, there was already a self-guided trail guide that was put in place by the Asia Paranormal Investigators ( way back in 2011 as part of the Save Bukit Brown Project. It was thanks to this initiative and the birdwatching tours organised by Nature Society, Singapore that made me grow fond of this place and raise my awareness of the importance of this place as a heritage park.

Self-guided trail by API in 2011

Fast forward to 18 November 2017, the self guided Wayfinder trail launched concept and goal is very much the same, but with a huge difference as well. What makes this initiative different from the one i experience in 2011 is the role of the Government in this. It saw various civic society groups, (All Things Bukit Brown, Singapore Heritage Society, Nature Society, Singapore ) working closely with a multi-agency working group, chaired by the Ministry of National Development, along with the Urban Redevelopment Authority, National Parks Board and the Land Transport Authority to make this launch possible. It was a long journey and through that journey we saw many lost battles (e.g. failing to the stop the 8 lane highway being built) and little sweet victories on the way (e.g Bukit Brown Exhibition by the Documentation Team, Bukit Brown, Our roots Our Future, 2014 World Monuments Watch and WWII Book launch).

As for the future of Bukit Brown, it will remain till date uncertain, but neverthless such engagements with government agencies and with the public as a whole (through guided and self guided tours ) continue to give hope that the future generation of leaders of Singapore will have a change of heart and take concrete action to conserved this place as an UNESCO World Heritage site . The event itself was graced by Desmond Lee, (Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development) and in my interaction with him during the self guided walk trail, he clearly showed knowledge and also honest interest in the heritage around him. I was impressed when he remembered some of the areas that we were about to show him  (he came with residents or students of his GRC sometime back). Not to forget, he was the person who graced the WWII@Bukit Brown book launch as well.

Minister Desmond Lee launching the event 

Raymond Goh with Minister Desmond Lee 
The information board and trail sign in my opinion are well done and placed without taking to much space and being an eye sore to the area. The downloadable self-guided booklet contain many nuggets of information of the tombs selected for the tour. As an online pdf, this provides the opportunity to add the many other trails and tombs, once if this self-guided service is proven successful. I have been to many cemeteries around the world and i wish they would have provided as detailed information as what i have seen from this self-guided booklet. Kudos to all who were involve in this and here's hoping to many more co-operation of various parties to create more awareness of this beautiful place rich in heritage and nature.

No 7 -The fig and the door gods 

No 4- Chia Hood Theam and Wife 

New and old guide sign post.

So, if you always wanted to visit Bukit Brown but never found the opportunity to join a guided tour, fret not, you can do it on your own now ! Download it from Singapore Heritage Society's website.
"Start exploring and in that process i hope you will just like me, fall in love with the beauty of Bukit Brown and the many stories told and waiting to be told !"