Talk: Save The Bukit Brown
Tracing The Historical Connections of the Straits Settlements of Penang, Malacca and Singapore from Bukit Brown Cemetery
When: Saturday, 5 July, 2014, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Where: Penang Heritage Trust, 26 Lebuh Gereja, Georgetown, 10200 George Town, Penang
Seat Capacity: 40.
Admission is free & seat priority will be given to PHT members
Raymond Goh a pharmacist by training, started exploring Bukit Brown in 2005. Fuelled by his interest in Chinese culture and history, he discovered the graves of many of Singapore’s pioneers who landmarked places and realised how rich a repository of history and heritage Bukit Brown is to the migrant story. He will share significant finds of pioneers buried in Bukit Brown and stories of their historical links to Penang and Malacca that he has uncovered from his research. The stories speak of ties of kinship, clan, culture and commerce under British administration against the backdrop of revolutionary change in China. It is an enduring legacy as the names of prominent Malaccan and Penangites still landmark Singapore’s street scape and can be found on temple steles, and the bond of familial ties continues today with connections in all three former settlements.
Bukit Brown Cemetery (1922 – 1973) was the first Municipal Cemetery opened to all Chinese regardless of dialect groups or social status. Carved out from land which once belonged to the Hokkien Seh Ong clan, it is the final resting place for 100,000 pioneers. It is named after George Henry Brown who briefly sojourned in Penang on his way from India before settling down in Singapore in the 1840s, owning land close to the cemetery. Mr. Brown is buried in the Penang Protestant Cemetery. Bukit Brown has been globally recognised as a heritage site under threat and is on the World Monuments Watch List 2014, of which Penang is an alumnus. In June 2014, Bukit Brown was voted as the top 3 “sacred” sites in Singapore in an online poll of its readers, conducted by The Straits Times.
The Brownies is the community of volunteer guides/researchers who came together serendipitously, when news broke that a highway was to be built across Bukit Brown in 2011. Since then, they have rallied round Raymond, learning and exploring with him so they could conduct guided walks for the public. Their learning journey has taken them beyond Bukit Brown to Batu Pahat, Pengerang, Malacca and now to Penang on a quest to find out more about our common , and uncommon culture, heritage and good food.