Saturday, December 01, 2012

Chinese Cemetery - A Walk with Singapore Paranormal Investigators (Part 2) @ Choa Chu Kang Cemetery [蔡厝港坟场]

Part two of my cemetery tour with Singapore Paranormal Investigators (SPI) brought me to an area i am familiar with; the Chinese sector where my maternal grandfather was buried back in 1990. 

Of course, i have to confess that i had yet to explore the Chinese section in its entirety as the area it encompasses was far too big (although not as extensive as Bukit Brown) and the tombs were generally uninteresting except for the following:





Generic was my initial impression of the graves in Choa Chu Kang Chinese cemetery but there were still little pockets of non-conformity that met us during our walk. 

Problem is - a keen eye is required to spot them!

In addition to the standardized stone lions, this grave had a pair of horses. My first thought was the Singapore lottery, 4D which is known as 马票 (translated to horse tickets) in Singapore. 

It was weird to find this mythical creature known as Pixiu 貔貅 as its main purpose was to ward off evil spirits and is normally placed in the house. The cemetery, being a place full of Yin (陰氣), would not be an appropriate place.

The use of Lim Chu Kang as a cemetery and the associated taboos of living near the burial grounds translated into a lower value for its surrounding lands. Therefore, Lim Chu Kang is also well known for housing military camps and farms. 

Such altars were common at intersections although their intentions are not to worship the deities. Instead, they were set up to honour homeless spirits roaming in the cemetery.

These were similar to the one above but the left one was specifically for the baby and toddler spirits. One obvious way of knowing is to check out the offerings, which in this case, comprised of milk bottles and toys.

A random picture with that big tree in the middle! Thanks to the Hongkong movies in the 80s, i would always imagine that so long there is a somewhat bigger tree near the tombs, there is bound to be a resident tree spirit who controls all the souls buried under its very soil! 

I did mention previously that most Chinese tombs in Lim Chu Kang had a pretty consistent outlook. That was until i stepped foot into this zone that accommodated the dead before the 1980s. 

Note the differences! Many tombs in the area featured a traditional Chinese roof!

And unlike the other areas that were planned with proper pathways and sufficient space to perform rituals, it was hard to manoeuvre from tomb to tomb! My sympathies to the families as it would definitely be chaotic during the annual Qing Ming festival. 

Does this remind you of the cenotaph (known affectionately as the chopsticks) next to the old Westin hotel?

I also found this tomb with a Chinese pagoda! Personally, i don't think such unique installation has anything to do with Feng Shui although i could be wrong. 

Grave with a pond that only lacked one thing in the very shallow water; guppies! On second thoughts, maybe not as the water would definitely dry up in very hot weather! 

Anyone has heard of this Chinese martial art known as Choy Li Fut (蔡李佛)? This man buried under the tomb was Kwan Man Keng, the 4th generation disciple! His name was in fact mentioned in the Wikipedia page for the Chinese kung fu. 

I could not help but feel sad for this three year old toddler. There are so many things he would have missed out; enjoying his childhood, receiving his degree, getting married, having children etc etc. Well, it's times like this that i always tell myself that we must always enjoy our life as death could be sudden. 

Another random picture with a batch of green area that didn't contain much more than what you can see from the picture. 

In the context of Southeast Asia, the legend of the banana spirit is even more famous. It was rumoured that you can get the banana spirit to do your bidding if you stick a needle threaded with a red string to the trunk of the banana. The other end of the string must be tied to your big toe and you have to spend a night there. 

As we moved along the cemetery, we unexpectedly came upon thick vegetation that was a rarity in the almost open concept cemetery! 

That's not all - we saw tiny pieces of farmland that were most probably used as burial plots previously!

This was amazing! A farm in the middle of a public cemetery!

Such grounds were said to be rich in nutrients due to the decomposition of human remains and i can understand why now!

Maybe we should have spoken to the caretakers and checked if the vegetables are available for sale. Not that i want to buy them but if they are selling, i would like to know where exactly are they marketing the greenies! 

This tiring yet insightful walk has finally come to a closure. 

Want more? Rest assured as i had a pact with Chua (the organiser) that we would have another such exploration in the near future! 

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Map
As above.

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