Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hindu Cemetery - A Walk with Singapore Paranormal Investigators (Part 1) @ Choa Chu Kang Cemetery [蔡厝港坟场]

The Chinese ghost month ended its annual run yesterday and the walk i completed a week ago with the Singapore Paranormal Investigators (known famously as SPI) might have come a little bit too late.

Oh well, you can explore the cemetery anytime and frankly, it might even be better to post this now as according to the older generation, it's sensible to stay away from the cemeteries during the hungry ghost month.

A pictorial entry!

The original intention was to visit three different districts namely the Hindu, Christian and the Chinese but due to limited time (note: Choa Chu Kang cemetery is the biggest in Singapore), the Christian section was removed from our schedule.

In the Chinese sector, such stall selling flowers is conspicuously missing. By the way, we were on our way to the Hindu section.

Walked past this sheltered area with a sign indicating its purpose as a re-interment site. I have no idea what interment means (i thought it was most related to internship but who the hell would intern in a building like this?!). According to dictionary.com, interment means the act of burial. Re-interment simply means reburial.

It was a long way in!

To get to the Hindu cemetery, you have to bypass the Muslim cemetery. This is actually the older Muslim section where many graves have been removed for re-interment. Fact: for more efficient use of land, Singapore has enforced a limitation of 15 years for the burial period.

Fifteen minutes - the time taken to reach the Hindu Cemetery!

I am aware that Hindus cremate the dead and thus was wondering for a while on why these Hindus were buried instead. The answer is pretty straightforward and a hint was given in the above picture.

Some, if not most of them are Christians even though this raised another question; if they are Christians, why is this a Hindu cemetery? Shouldn't it be more appropriate to classify this as an Indian cemetery instead?

Questions aside, some elements of Hinduism are evident here.

The Hindu section constitutes only a small portion of Choa Chu Kang cemetery with only two paths. This is hardly surprising as i have mentioned before that most Hindus would choose cremation over burial.

This caught my attention; the gravestone was obviously broken but it appeared to be neatly arranged. Could be a new design although i seriously doubt it.

Statue of a life-sized angel was erected as a companion for this boy who passed away at the tender age of 11.

One of my Indian colleagues saw this picture and commented that the symbol embossed each side of the pyramid-like structure is a Hindu word for blessing (anyone has any comment on this?).

Given that NEA (the governor for all burials) has strict regulations on the shape and design of the tombstones, this car tomb is extraordinary in the Singapore's context.

This must be the tomb of a dog lover!

Indians are known to be big lovers of canine and this affection is publicly displayed even after their death! I have yet to see any Chinese tomb with statue of dogs. Maybe i would be the first one!

Woah, a statue of a leopard?! Jokes aside, this tomb is a couple tomb and for whatever reason (likely accident), the couple passed away on the same day and was buried together to continue their love life after death.

A most recent occupant to the sector; a Christian to be exact.

Zen-like would be my description for this tomb. If only that tree stump can be replaced with a bonsai.

Known as Michael Jackson grave, this was actually the burial ground of a fan who loved to impersonate the King of Pop.

Choa Chu Kang cemetery might be more organized than cemeteries in Bukit Brown or Mount Pleasant but you still have to watch out where you step on!

These very small graves are the burial plots for children. I have seen something like that in the Muslim cemeteries and honestly, they have an aura of depressive sadness surrounding them.

Another tomb with strong traces of Hinduism! I should have stepped forward for a better look!

A tree trunk that was worshipped. From the nose ring, my bet was that this represented a female.

Beside it was also some sort of an Indian spear head with many bangles; further testament to my guess!

Dressed with garlands of flowers, my knowledge of Hinduism is too shallow to truly understand what these spiritual trees symbolize or who they are supposed to be.

As you could see, there is a cemented pathway leading to the trees. Therefore, is it officially sanctioned by the authorities or the trees are known to grant wishes and dispense blessings to believers for them to specially build the path?

Yet another spirited tree nearby even though it lacked the realism and grandeur of the other two.

Time was running short and we had to depart for the Chinese sector. This would not be the end so do look out for my next posting on my walking excursion in the cemetery with SPI.

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Location
As above.

-----to be continued-----

6 comments:

  1. The symbol on the pyramid gravestone that you commented about is the Tamil version of the 'om/aum' symbol. People tend to be more familiar with the North Indian version 'ॐ' than the Tamil 'ௐ' or Tibetan 'ༀ' versions.
    The phase is an important/ sacred phrase in Hinduism or well as Jainism and Buddhism, you can see it in the Buddhism Mantra: 'Om mani padme hum' or the Hindu: 'Om namah shivaya.'

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the detailed explanation!

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    2. Bro did u see a heart shape design frave cos thats my grandma's grave

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    3. Hey Bro,

      Sorry but i don't remember seeing a heart shaped design grave. Maybe i can check it out the next time im there. :)

      Delete
  2. The two trees are representations of the two major gods in Hinduism, Lord Shiva and his consort(wife) Goddess Parvati. In this case the 2 trees represent Lord Muniswaran( Lord Shiva's Incarnate) and Goddess Kali ( A fearsome form of Goddess Parvati) Hindus normally offer cigars and beer to Lord Muniswaran. The 3 tipped spear is also called a Trisulam, (Tri=3 Sulam=Spear) is a weapon for both the Gods. Bangles on the spear are also an offering to the Goddess.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the information!!! :)

      Delete

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