Temporarily eternal

16 11 2013

Long a quiet and peaceful corner in Singapore on a plot of land adjoining the former Bidadari Cemetery, is an area of Mount Vernon which once hosted Singapore’s first public crematorium. The crematorium which started in October 1962, ceased operations in June 2004 and the plot of land now plays host to a columbarium which dates back to 1978 as well as privately run funeral parlours of more recent times.

The sun streams through the trees of a green and tranquil part of Mount Vernon.

The sun streams through the trees of a green and tranquil part of Mount Vernon.

It will not be long before this green oasis of calm goes. Along with the parkland which the former cemetery has been turned into, it will be redeveloped as part of Bidadari public housing estate. The estate’s development will  see some reminders of the area’s past being incorporated into it. However, the area on which the columbarium, which besides the beautiful park like setting it finds itself in, is also known for its pagoda columbarium which has become a landmark in the area, sits will be built over.

An artist’s overview of the proposed Bidadari development from the HDB as posted on http://www.todayonline.com

The pagoda along with a two-storey building which also houses columbarium niches, was the columbarium’s most recent addition which was completed in December 1987 – adding some 13230  niches to the 10392 niches which were added over the years starting with 3000 when it opened in late 1978. Extensions were also made in 1982 and 1985 adding 5280 and 2112 niches respectively, coming at a time when with pressure on land-usage increasing, cremating the dead was encouraged as an alternative to burials.

The nine-storey pagoda which was completed in 1987.

The nine-storey pagoda which was completed in 1987.

The columbarium is quite distinct in its setting compared to other publicly run ones with the older free standing structures in the garden like setting – a beautiful and respectful space for dead which like the fast disappearing beautiful spaces for the living, Singapore, has no more room to accommodate.

The two-storey building containing niches which was added at the same time as the pagoda.

The two-storey building containing niches which was added at the same time as the pagoda.

A privately run funeral parlour.

A privately run funeral parlour.

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One response

3 05 2018
singdong

This is a very nice beautiful and peaceful place. True peace is between the nature.

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