Last month I joined a tour conducted by the Brownies to Bukit Brown again. It had been quite some time I last visited Bukit Brown. This was the first time ever since the old cemetery access was not available. From the Bukit Brown website, I noted there were actually 2 entrances to the cemetery. That day the meeting point was at a platform after passing through Lorong Halwa.
|(credit: Bukit Brown)|
As Qingming (in fact, the actual day was yesterday according to Chinese calendar) was around the corner and the cemetery is bustling with activity again. I joined the tour because I wanted to have a close-up look of families visiting the graves of their ancestors with offerings, and tombkeepers busy themselves with sprucing up graves ahead of the descendants' visits. I have never been to a cemetery during Qing Ming period.
Upon arrival from the bus, immediately I smelt smoke, which reminds me of the haze we had last year. This smell is pretty common especially when joss papers and offerings are burnt. Upon navigating around, I saw smoke spiraling from one spot near the bridge over Lornie Road. Someone had already paid a visit to their ancestor.
Besides visiting a new grave cluster, the family of Lim Chong Pang, I learnt something new on this trip.
|Cars and vehicles were slowly getting into the cemetery. This road is pretty narrow. There was a jam right ahead.|
|Quite a number of families were seen in the cemetery that day.|
|Offerings to the ancestors, includes food, joss sticks and candles. Before these were done, the descendants have to pray to the Earth deity. This is located on either side of the tomb. (see the pair of candles on the side) Joss papers are burnt last.|
|I learnt, there are male and female Earth deities (indicated by the arrow). Almost every tomb has a Earth Deity. (either the male or the female)|
|The male Earth Deity|
|The female Earth Deity|
|During the Japanese Occupation, it was told that there was mass grave for civilian bodies near this stream. I don't think these bodies could survived under such a condition, unlike the those on the hills.|
This period of time is the busiest time for the tomb keepers. The services they offer are quite a handful. However, during this period, they would be offering cleaning or grass cutting services before the descendants come to pay their ancestors a visit. There are families who engage their services to maintain the tombs throughout the year for a fee.
|Tomb keepers in action|
|One of the permanent makeshift tent for the tomb keepers.|
This morning, it was the first time I spotted lots of living things besides the horses. Below are just some. One of the group member pointed out there are curry leaves too!
|The appearance of horses made some children squealed in delight|
|Flowers such as chrysanthemum is being offered|
|A more elaborated offering.|