I’ve always been fascinated with memorials, graveyards and cemeteries for some reason. Perhaps because of their tranquil nature or the mystery many of them hold. Whatever the case, there are not many cemeteries and memorials left in mainland Singapore, some are are still being used and others no longer accept new burials, but they fascinate me all the same. Here’s a list excluding those outside the mainland.
Bidadari Memorial Garden
Most of us have read about and know of the old Bidadari Cemetery, but did you know that 21 selected headstones and relics of personalities who were buried in the Bidadari Cemetery were moved to a small memorial garden after the graves were exhumed? The Bidadari Memorial Garden was developed by the National Heritage Board in 2004 to commemorate the history of the Bidadari Cemetery and can be found at along Mount Vernon Road. [See more photos]
Japanese Cemetery Park
The Japanese Cemetery Park is the largest Japanese cemetery in South East Asia at 29,359 square metres, consisting of 910 tombstones that contain the remains of young Japanese prostitutes, civilians, soldiers and convicted war criminals executed at Changi Prison in Singapore. [See more photos]
Jalan Kubor Cemetery
Parts of this cemetery used to be a mangrove swamp, and according to 19th century reports, there were 3 distinct burial plots – a Malay cemetery, the Sultan’s burial ground located within the cemetery and a cemetery for Indian muslims. The name Jalan Kubor translates directly into Cemetery Road and the cemetery is also known by different names including Sultan Kramat, Victoria Street Cemetery, Sultan’s Burial Ground etc.
Did you know that there used to be a cemetary in the heart of siglap? Today, you will find the graves of Penghulu (chieftain) Tok Lasam, his wife and his Panglima (commander-in-chief) standing at the end of Jalan Sempadan (border street in Malay). They are the only ones left of the former cemetery and are marked with yellow that denotes royalty. [More info and photos].
St Joseph’s Church Cemetery
St Joseph’s Church is probably the only Catholic church left in Singapore with a graveyard within it’s compound. The church was opened on Sunday, 6 June 1846, and the first burial at the cemetery is recorded as being on 7 November 1846 making it the oldest Christian cemetery (save Fort Canning Cemetery which has been completely exhumed) in Singapore. [See more photos]
Kranji War Memorial
This war and state cemetery is laid out in a geometric pattern of stones spread out on a gently sloping green hill which offers a commanding view across the Straits of Johore to the north and over the hills of Singapore to the south. The names for the dead are engraved in the walls. The total number of burials in the cemetery is 4,465. [See more photos]
Bukit Brown Cemetery
Also known to the local community as Kopi Sua or Coffee Hill, this was a public Chinese cemetery that had been established in the early 20th Century. It was the biggest Chinese graveyard outside China. It is located between Lornie Road and Mount Pleasant Road, and off Sime Road and Kheam Hock Road, and is still in existence today, despite being abandoned. You can find many notable Peranakan graves here, also of interest are the beautiful stone sculptures that stand guard by the graves.
Situated along Siglap road, near the top of the hill, this Muslim cemetery is said to date back to the 1800s although many of the dates on the gravestones state 1950-70s. Kubur means cemetery in Malay and therefore the name means Kassim’s Cemetery. [More info and photos]
Chua Chu Kang Jewish Cemetery
There used to be two Jewish cemeteries in Singapore – one in Orchard Road and the other at Thomson Road. They have since been relocated to Choa Chu Kang. At the gateway, there is a prayer for the deceased to be said by those who have not visited a cemetery in the last 30 days. [Read more]
Yin Foh Kuan Cemetary and Ancestral Hall
Where can you find a cemetery in the middle of a HDB estate? The Yin Foh Kuan Memorial is a Hakka cemetery built in 1887, when the Ying Fo Fui Kun, the first Chinese Hakka clan association in Singapore, bought over a piece of land from the British government to meet the burial demands of the increasing number of association members. The area was then renamed the Twin Dragon Hills, and a Wu Shu Ancestral Hall was built next to it. [See more photos]
Lucky Gardens Cemetery
Hidden away in Siglap is a small Bawean cemetery that is located amongst the landed houses in Lucky Gardens, just opposite Lucky Gardens Playground. The Baweanese or Boyanese are a significant community among the Malays of Singapore. They were originally from Pulau Bawean (Bawean Island) in East Java and migrated to Singapore in the early 19th century. [More info and photos]
Tiong Bahru Cemetery
There exist in the city urban area of Tiong Bahru two Chinese graves which house the famous merchant and philanthropist Tan Tock Seng and his daughter-in-law. They are sitting on top of a small hill overlooking Outram Road. [See more photos]