Tag Archives: Bukit Brown

Documenting Bukit Brown Exhibition

I first stepped into Bukit Brown on the 24th December 2011, joining Nature Society Singapore (here is my photography collection of Nature Society Singapore Public Walk @ Bukit Brown) on their public walk to know more about Bukit Brown, the history and heritage, the nature, flora and fauna. My first visit to Bukit Brown was an eye-opener since the news of the proposed expressway to be build across Bukit Brown, there were many many debates and discussions between civil groups and government agencies that took place over the years. This was indeed a sensitive topic that is still ongoing today.


When I went back home and spoke to my relatives about my visit to Bukit Brown, it slowly dawned upon me that I had ancestor roots buried at Bukit Brown Cemetery and I as started to learn and understand more about my ancestor roots, my maternal family side started to know more about what was going and wanting to return back to Bukit Brown Cemetery and find our ancestors. This started a personal heritage trail exploration that I didn’t write about much of it here, those were the few times when I wasn’t able to pen my thoughts and feelings down into words, along with extended family privacy that I have to respect and be mindful of. I wrote on my personal site in Dec 2011 – Saving Bukit Brown and May 2013 – My Heritage Adventure Round Up Summary. I am not going to hide away from the fact that I walked past my ancestor graves without knowing it when I first visited Bukit Brown on 24th November 2011 and I felt ashamed that I do not know that they were buried there.


As time progressed, I wanted to know more about my maternal family ancestors trail and realising that my maternal Great-Grandfather and two Great-Grandmothers had to be exhumed due to the construction of the expressway, we did whatever we could to document and photograph the tombstones for memories before their exhumation recently. While I was not present during the exhumation, I hope that my ancestor heritage trail documentation prior to that is able to make amends and to know my maternal family ancestors more in detail. Here is my photography collection of my Ancestor Heritage Trail @ Bukit Brown on Flickr.


During the period of time when discussions and talks were on-going between civil groups and government agencies, there was a team that tirelessly researched and documented the heritage of Bukit Brown, led by Dr Hui Yew Foong, lead researcher at Bukit Brown Working Community. Over the years of research, documentation and compilation, they managed to gather a diverse range of documents, photographs and objects on Bukit Brown, to be displayed at an exhibition at the Level 9 – Promenade, National Library Board until Friday 10th October 2014 and the Bukit Brown Exhibition news was also on Channel News Asia website. I saw the Channel News Asia news and decided to visit the Bukit Brown Exhibition on the 19th July 2014, it’s a very interesting exhibition for us to know more about our Bukit Brown Heritage and History.


The topic on Bukit Brown still is and will continue to be a topic for debate and discussion, now and into the future. Let us take this time to learn more about our Bukit Brown, the History and Heritage, the roots and connections it had with Singapore’s early development to the early days of Singapore’s modern history and growth. The Bukit Brown Exhibition is a good place for you to start knowing more about them, do drop by and visit the exhibition!

Old Romances & Old Places – Kick Off for 2013

My adventure in photographing, documenting and sharing about Old Places and lately Old Romances in Singapore, had always been a fruitful and exciting adventure for me. For my personal projects in the areas of Old Places and Old Romances, I produced a mixture of history, heritage, cultural, conservation, preservation, photographs and writing into my posts. With a mixture of current events and personal projects, I am a good mix of photography stories/adventures of past and present.


After watching Old Romances at the National Museum of Singapore, it was a Rekindling of Old Romances inside me. There were still many Old Places and Old Business Trades for me to go out photograph and document in Singapore. It would be a balancing act for my photojournalism journey in 2013, between my personal projects in Old Romances, Old Business Trades and Old Places, along with current events coverage in sports, events and tourism. I am finally kicking off my Old Romances and Old Places photojournalism journey for the year 2013 and I would be sharing some areas that I would be looking into as my priorities.

Bukit Brown 

This year 2013, it would be the start of the exhumation of the affected graves at Bukit Brown for the upcoming building of the expressway cutting through Bukit Brown. I trekked and explored Bukit Brown with the Nature Society of Singapore on 24th December 2011, and with my relatives over 2 more times  to find my ancestors and pay respects to them. I had not written about my relatives visit to Bukit Brown and this would take on a more significant portion for year 2013 because three of my five ancestors (my maternal Great-Grandfather and two of my maternal Great-Grandmothers whom I never met before) are affected by the building of the expressway and they are slated for exhumation. I personally find it very challenging if the green light comes to me from my senior hierarchy of my maternal side of family to photograph and document the exhumation process. When the time comes, I would share my documentation stories and photographs with the blessings and permission of my relatives if they give me the permission to do so.



This is another former cemetery in Singapore, that was cleared sometime back. The plans would be a go-ahead to build HDB blocks in the area and the lush greenery that plays a birds haven to around 139 species of birds both local and migratory. There is a Facebook Group – Saving Bidadari for Birds and People, do check them out! While it is inevitable that the majority of the land at Bidadari would be used for HDB blocks, there is a chance that the lush greenery that housed the birds would have a different outcome since that area was planned to be a neighbourhood park. Nature Society of Singapore did a proposal for the conservation of Bidadari as a Nature Park, that would definitely benefit the preservation of the birds, a green space for the public to relax and enjoy. I am looking forward to visit Bidadari, enjoy the green lush space and do bird photography, along with writing and advocating the preservation of Bidadari as a Nature Park. Let’s see if civic groups and community engagements can make a difference to how we want Singapore to be like in the future, to strike a balance between growth, expansion and retaining our green space for wildlife, leisure and recreation.

Old Business Trades 

In the face of modernisation and capitalisation, many Old Business Trades in Singapore faced an uncertain future, they faced different issues such as the trade would not be able to pass on to the next generations at all since there were not any takers to do so. I was honoured that I was given permission and able to follow along with National Heritage Board (NHB) mini-projects to cover and document Old Business Trades. My first coverage of the Old Business Trades was my post on “The Art and Profession of Knife Sharpening“. Looking and moving ahead for 2013, I hope to be able to cover more of these Old Business Trades. Another segment that I covered was in the traditional arts performances such as Puppetry in Singapore and Bangsawan Performance.

Old Romances

After watching Old Romances, there was a connection between the love stories that the people kindly shared and what those Old Places, Old Trades and Cultures meant to them. From the different love stories shown, I had explored and photographed some of them, there were those that I didn’t know they were around in Singapore. I would look into this list and start to explore them in the year 2013, with fellow heritage buffs. We would all probably take turns to plan and lead heritage outing trips to the places shown in Old Romances.

Green Corridor 

The Green Corridor, also known as the Rail Corridor. An area that I was interested in, covering and photographing the KTM Railway before it was handed back to Singapore, the removal of the railway tracks and being transformed into a green corridor. While the future remains a question mark, I believe that with active and constant community engagements and dialogues with the relevant authorities. The Green Corridor/Rail Corridor would remain mostly a green corridor for all of us to enjoy, relax and stay active, exercising and healthy by cycling, trekking and running along the Green Corridor!


Do stay tuned to my photographs collection on Flickr and 500px for my Old Places and Old Romances updates too!

500px ~ Old Places

Flickr ~ Old Places

Flickr ~ The Green Corridor

Finally, I got this write up off my chest and mind!! Now I can go ahead and kick off my Old Romances and Old Places 2013 documentary and photojournalism adventure for 2013!

Nature Society (Singapore) Public Walk @ Bukit Brown 24th Dec 2011

A lush beautiful and peaceful greenery tucked away close to the middle of Singapore, near her Central Catchment Area, affectionately known to the locals as Kopi Sua (in Hokkien) or 咖啡山, this is the Bukit Brown area. This area is of great importance and significance in our Singapore’s history and heritage, with many pioneers and philanthropists of early Singapore buried there.

With Singapore’s limited landspace and thirst for expansion, Bukit Brown is slated for re-development, firstly, with the building of roads across this area, supposing to ease the traffic woes around there. This is only the initial stage with future plans for Bukit Brown being further re-developed into areas for housing development. There was a public outcry, it wasn’t just affecting the dead people below the ground at Bukit Brown, we are destroying flora and fauna, wildlife and animal sanctuary, and most importantly history, heritage and culture.

I was also following the developments and discussions of the Bukit Brown, reading it online via the social media channels and decided to join Nature Society (Singapore) Public Walk @ Bukit Brown on 24th December 2011 morning, led by Hang Chong of NSS, who gave us a great tour and overview of history, heritage, wildlife, flora and fauna of Bukit Brown. When I was hiking around  with the rest of the group, the lush greenery is very tranquil and beautiful, the peace can hardly be found in modern cosmopolitan busy hectic Singapore.

This was also the time to learn more about our culture, heritage and history, we can do so much more in this few areas, it was an eye-opener for me, a reminder to myself, we must always keep on learning and never stop learning, in one area, learning from the forefathers of Singapore, with their entrepreneurship, philanthropy and giving it back to society is something so precious that no amount of monetary value can be placed on it and many of them are there at Bukit Brown.

You can do a part too, support the movements to preserve and save Bukit Brown, follow them on these 2 sites on Facebook

Save Bukit Brown Cemetery – The Roots of Our Nation

Heritage Singapore – Bukit Brown Cemetery 

We are not just preserving history, heritage and culture. We are also preserving a lush greenery belt that is a sanctuary for wildlife, flora and fauna and lastly an untouched green space in concrete Singapore. There are still much for me to photograph and document and I would plan to go back there soon again, to continue with the photojournalism coverage of Bukit Brown.

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.