PUBLISHED: MARCH 18, 2021

Remains of pioneer who donated Bukit Brown land moved from cemetery

Chinese merchant Ong Chong Chew was one of 3 original land donors for Bukit Brown Cemetery. 133 years after his death, his remains were moved from there to a columbarium.

The hour-long exhumation unearthed bones, denture parts, and a ring.



The remains were found in 2016 by a “tomb hunter” employed by the family. Mr Raymond Goh had been trying to track down the tomb after the family asked him for help in 2011.

The family said they chose to move Mr Ong’s remains after the Government decided to clear the land near Lornie Road for housing blocks.

The poor condition of the area, where gravestones were covered or tilted by plants, offered “no dignity… to one of the pioneers of Bukit Brown”, the family said.

Bukit Brown Cemetery has more than 100,000 graves, many of which were for early Chinese immigrants. Prominent personalities interred include businessman Cheng Hong Lim, who created Hong Lim Park.

Leaving Bukit Brown
Leaving Bukit Brown

SOURCE: ST REPORT BY CLEMENT YONG; ST VIDEO BY LIM YAOHUI AND ST FILE; ST PHOTOS BY ARIFFIN JAMAR AND KUA CHEE SIONG

PRODUCED BY: DENISE CHONG

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