We had the opportunity to visit the former St. John's Church Cemetery at the Old Jurong Road on 4 February 2023 and to no surprises the hoarding marking the start of the development phase and the destruction of the jungle area and the cemetery. We were curious to see whether the tombs there have been exhumed but found that the area has been undisturbed. There were no markers nor anything stating that the effected tombs will be exhumed as of yet.
The signs were cleared when we saw they were already starting to destroy the tar road of the former Old Jurong Road. Next were the green hoardings to prevent eventual entry of humans to the work area.
|The tar road of the Old Jurong Road being destroyed|
I took some videos to document both the undisturbed tombs there as well as some exhumed ones. Hopefully, proper respect will be given to those still intact and the tombs properly documented before they are exhumed and cleared. The oldest tomb we found there was one from 1895. There was also an exhumed tomb that perked my interest because the tomb mason who erected the tomb (Lim Choon Seng) was clearly engraved also on the marble stone foundation.
|Lim Choon Seng 81 Selegie Road Singapore|
One of the first villages with a significant Ann Kway population was Hong Kah Village. The name of the village comes from the Hokkien and Teochew term for "bestowing a religion" which was also the colloquial name for Chinese Christians. In 1876, a Chinese Christian convert, Tay Hong Seng contributed 3 acres of land for a church at the 11th milestone. St. John's Church was completed in 1884 and consecrated and dedicated under the name of St. John on 4 February 1884. It held services in Hokkien, Teochew and Hakka. According to oral account , the village was established when parishioners approach the Church pastor who applied to the colonial land bureau and was granted 60 acres of land and 10 families established what was known as "Hong Kah Choon" (Christian Village in Teochew and Hokkien dialect). An 1890 article mentions the mission in Jurong is stable and growing owning to the Christian population that cultivates the soil in that area.
The Anglican Church has moved to Farrer Road and is known today as St. John's Chapel at 111 Farrer Road.