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Project: Documentation of Bukit Brown and Seh Ong Cemeteries

Documentation of Bukit Brown and Seh Ong Cemeteries 
 
 
Following the announcement, in 2011, that a dual-four lane carriageway will be built through the Bukit Brown and Seh Ong cemeteries, this project was commissioned to document parts of the cemeteries that would be affected by the road project. 
In taking these Chinese cemeteries as an object of anthropological-historical study, this project adopts a holistic approach that considers the cemeteries as organic spaces embedded within a larger socio-economic and cultural ecology. 
 
The documentation work involves, firstly, the inscriptions and features of graves, which provide narratives on the cultural biography of the deceased and material culture of the cemeteries. Secondly, the project documents the religio-cultural life and memories associated with the cemeteries, which give a sense of the role the cemeteries play in the socio-cultural life and history of the nation. Thirdly, the project looks into rituals and processes associated with exhumation and re-interment of remains, and as such, the cultural attitudes toward the dead. 
 
This project is multi-disciplinary in nature and incorporates the methods and approaches of epigraphic studies, genealogy studies, architecture, ethnography, oral history, visual sociology and communications studies in mining the multiple layers of heritage associated with the cemeteries. As far as possible, the rich data unearthed through such methods will be organized within a geographic information system framework.
 
Researcher-in-charge: Dr Hui Yew-Foong (yfhui@iseas.edu.sg)