Qing Ming in Bukit Brown (March 2023)

Qing Ming arrives once again to Bukit Brown. Post Pandemic measures also allows me to better interact without restrictions with the descendants paying respects to their ancestors and document this intangible cultural heritage practices that can only be seen in open air cemeteries. I hope you will appreciate my photo journal of today's event and interestingly both tombs that i documented in this article are from the Pauper section of Bukit Brown. Do subscribe to my Youtube Channel as well where you will see more videos of the tombs i encounter. 

Our first encounter was with the grandchildren of Madam C.H. Neo (as seen on her tomb). Madam C.H. Neo in the burial registrar is Madam Chua Hoe Neo who passed away at the age of 62 on 1 August 1937 and was buried in Bukit Brown, Block 3 Division 3, plot 219A. With the blessing of Eric Tan and his wife, they allowed us to partake in their Qing Ming ceremony and shared with us what little they know of Madam Chua. The fact is they actually know very little (as Eric wasn't even born yet) but i was still very touched that despite they didn't know their grandmother personally, their acts of filial piety remain constant through the years. Eric's father was Tan Bachik (the youngest son of Madam C.H. Neo). The name Bachik also seems to imply that he was the youngest and when i asked whether they were Peranakan, Eric answer was yes. This conversation was  going on as i was helping to ensure the paper offerings were being burned properly ! It was after this, Eric prayed and threw 2 coins to check whether her grandmother has finished eating and the immediate response after the first throw was a resounding Yes ! He exclaimed that grandma was also probably happy she had visitors today. 

Madam C.H. Neo tomb in Bukit Brown 

Eric Tan preparing to burn paper offerings for his grandmother

Qing Ming for Madam Chua Hoe Neo

Madam C.H. Neo giving her blessing that she finished eating 

The next family we met was at a tomb with a mound covered with concrete or cement. In front of it had the Bukit Brown Wayfinder that was no longer legible due to weathering. Mr. Lim King Chuan (林金璋), like many immigrants came from China to seek his fortunate in Singapore. He would eventually earn enough to bring his family over, including his sons. After the death of Mr. Lim at the age of 44 on 12 October 1937, one of his son eventually settled in Sarawak while the other settled down in West Malaysia (i was unable to get more details as the descendant seem guarded in his reply and of course in oral interviews, my skills are somewhat left to be desired). The elderly gentleman with his family are from the branch who eventually settled in Malaysia. He himself left Malaysia to come to settle in Singapore sometime later. So present at Mr. Lim Kim Chuan's tomb are his grandson and granddaughter-in-law and great grandchildren ! I tried asking one more question which i always had on the back of my mind - why the cemented mound ? The elderly gentleman responded that that cementing of the mound came much later. It was the families pragmatic approach to prevent soil erosion from the mound as well as it been overgrown or covered. 

Another interesting thing i found much later, was that in the burial record, the name of the person buried on Block 3 Division 3, plot 659 is Teng King Chuan compared to what is written at the tomb, 林金璋. Was it a recording error ? I can only speculate for now as the family present confirmed they were Lim's 林. 

Mr. and Mrs. Lim and their children

Preparing the offerings for Mr. Lim King Chuan

Laying the five-color paper while the paper offerings are being burned 

Laying of the five-color papers

My Past Articles on Qing Ming

Baba Pantun Recital at Tan Boo Liat's tomb.(Qing Ming 2022). Posted on 9 April 2022
Ang Jin Siew. (Posted on 10 April 2019)
Brothers buried side-by-side. (Posted on 9 April 2018)
Qing Ming in Bukit Brown. (Posted on 2 April 2017)
Qing Ming in Bukit Brown. (Posted on 26 March 2014)
Last Qing Ming for some residents(Bukit Brown). (Posted on 1 April 2014)
Exhumations in Bukit Brown. (Posted on 8 July 2014) 
Qing Ming at Bukit Brown. (Posted on 6 April 2012)




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