【亞太博物館連線專欄】與先祖爭地—新加坡咖啡山墓園的保存議題

Land of Ancestors: Preservation Issue on the Bukit Brown Cemetery, Singapore

與先祖爭地—新加坡咖啡山墓園的保存議題

Land of Ancestors: Preservation Issue on the Bukit Brown Cemetery, Singapore

 

作者:談宜芳(內政部營建署研究員)

2011年新加坡政府計畫興建住宅並開闢一條道路穿越咖啡山墓園,在鮮有反對聲音的新加坡掀起不小的波瀾,因為道路即將劃斷當地華人移民史與開埠史,以及豐富的生態。對於咖啡山的開發或保存,政府與人民糾結在國族建構與都市發展議題上,另外值得我們關心的是咖啡山與金門的關聯。所幸,在多個民間組織持續的努力下,讓政府釋出善意縮小影響、協助保存部分墓碑及構件,也讓不同族群人民投以關注,咖啡山成為活在新加坡人生活中的生態博物館。

關鍵字:文化資產、開發衝突、移民、國族建構、生態博物館

Bukit Brown Cemetery in Singapore is known for its importance in the history of Chinese immigration and port development, as well the complexity of its ecosystem. However, when it comes to the development and preservation Bukit Brown Cemetery, the issue of ethnic composition and urban development continues to be the focus of the government and the people, while its connection to Kinmen are another subject worthy of attention.
In 2011, the plan for Singapore government to construct a residential area, along with a road that would cut through Bukit Brown Cemetery, had raised significant opposition in a country known for abiding the law. Fortunately, after the efforts of numerous civil organizations, the government was willing to limit the impact, while preserving part of the graveyard and its compositions. The incident also helped the cemetery to raise awareness among different ethnic groups, and transformed Bukit Brown Cemetery into an eco-museum that can be a part of Singaporean’s lives.

Keywords: Bukit Brown Cemetery, conflict on development, immigration, eco-museum


抱歉了,列祖列宗!

2011年5月30日,新加坡市區重建局宣布了一項住宅發展計畫,預估可供5萬人居住,同年9月12日,新加坡陸路交通管理局、市區重建局和國家公園局聯合宣布計畫興建一條平行於羅尼路(Lornie Road)的新道路(圖1),以紓解交通,還有相關基礎建設也會在沿線建構起來。住宅發展計畫併同道路興建工程預計在2013年展開、2017年竣工,將穿越位於新加坡中央的咖啡山墓園(Bukit Brown Cemetery),影響5,000座墓塚及周邊環境。這項看似有美好願景的計畫,未料在鮮有民眾反對聲音的新加坡掀起不小的波瀾,於是保護組織群起,如SOS Bukit Brown和All Things Bukit Brown(AtBB)成立,新加坡自然學會(Nature Society Singapore),新加坡遺產學會和亞洲超自然調查組織(Asia Paranormal Investigators)也參與其中。

一座墓園除了是清明時節家族相聚祭拜的場所,到底對這些反對開發的社群有何重要性?

圖1 咖啡山與新開發道路規劃

說明:綠色區塊為咖啡山墓園範圍,北邊緊鄰自然保護區,黃色箭頭所指為墓園大門,藍線為新開發道路預定路線。
(來源:Nature Society’s Position on Bukit Brown, https://goo.gl/n6LceA

 

現地展示的寶藏—武吉布朗

武吉布朗(Bukit Brown)即福建移民所稱的「咖啡山」(Kopi Sua),位於新加坡中央地帶,遠離南邊的商業喧囂。在這片面積233公頃的丘陵地上,容納了10萬座華人的墓塚,是中國境外最大的華人墓區,其獨特的文史與生態吸引人深入探究。

(一)歷史

咖啡山的正式名稱「武吉布朗」(Bukit Brown)得自1840年代登陸新加坡的英國船長布朗(George Henry Brown),Bukit則是馬來語「山丘」之意。19世紀時,布朗曾居住在咖啡山,1872年福建商人王氏家族買下這塊地用以耕作和埋葬,並由福建會館管理這塊土地而形成排他性,為移民到新加坡的福建人專屬墓園。目前可考的最早墓穴可追溯至1830年代,之後許多福建移民埋骨於此,包括早期參與新加坡開發的先賢、同盟會革命家與現今名人的長輩。20世紀初,大量遷入的中國移民需要墓地,於是政府介入,因而1922年咖啡山成為公墓,直到1973年不再新葬為止。這座墓園百餘年的時間跨度,呈現在墓碑上的是從「皇清」、「大清」、「光緒」、「天運」1、「民國」、「昭和」到「西元」等不同的年號,以及文字從漢字到漢字與英文並陳(衣若芬,2015),而從墓主身分、墓葬形制、墓碑內容等,足以勾勒出新加坡的早期開發史,以及華人的遷移史。

(二)生態

由於長期處於低度人為干擾的狀況,咖啡山呈現林木自然生長的景觀,因緊鄰新加坡最大的自然保護區「中央集水區自然保護區」(Central Catchment Nature Reserve),成為新加坡自然學會整體規劃中的28個保護區塊之一。該學會也針對生物多樣性進行調查,發現咖啡山擁有90種鳥類,有13種為國家級瀕危物種,如白腹黑啄木鳥(White-bellied Woodpecker)、白腰鵲鴝(White-rumped Shama)、點斑林鴞(Spotted Wood Owl)、紫金鵑(Violet Cuckoo)、藍冠懸掛鸚鵡(Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot)、厚嘴綠鳩(Thick-billed Green Pigeon)和鳳頭鷹鵰(Changeable Hawk Eagle)等,對高度開發的新加坡而言,此地具有水土保持、降低熱島效應,兼供民眾休憩的功能(圖2)。

基於豐富的歷史文化元素及生態資源,新加坡遺產學會(Singapore Heritage Society)建議作為遺產公園,並提出保護咖啡山的5項價值:

  1. 對區域而言是具有特定意義的空間
  2. 具有歷史連結性
  3. 更加「以民為主」的新加坡故事
  4. 守護文化習俗
  5. 一段有關常民與地方的歷史

2014年世界歷史遺蹟基金會(World Monuments Fund)宣布咖啡山列入世界歷史遺蹟觀察名單(2014 World Monuments Watch List),肯定其豐富的人文與生態,也提高了國際能見度。民間組織持續透過調查研究、撰文發表、旅遊導覽等方式吸引更多人關注,並設想以收費控制車流、拓寬羅尼路等替代方案,可是政府的態度似乎無所動搖。

圖2 民眾走訪綠意盎然的咖啡山(來源:World Monuments Fund, https://www.wmf.org/project/bukit-brown
華人墓園中的國族建構與都市更新爭議 

對於咖啡山的未來,新加坡政府與人民糾結在國族建構與都市發展政策議題上,另外當地人較少討論咖啡山與金門的關聯,則是筆者較為關心的。

(一)華人墓園與國族建構

1965年被迫脫離馬來西亞獨立的新加坡,在建國初期並無本土性民族主義的發展,境內三大民族:華人、馬來人、印度人,其歸屬與認同仍在各自祖國,新加坡只是避難或謀生之所,缺乏建構共同的記憶與想像,因而此時期執政的人民行動黨對占大多數的華人所採的策略是:消除新加坡華族所強調的中華特質(Chineseness),以避免其他種族和鄰國視新加坡為中國海外勢力的延伸(洪鎌德、郭俊麟,1997:29;紀舜傑,2013);1991年政策白皮書則再度重申「國家優先於社群,社會優先於個人」。葬在咖啡山的先祖與當今許多新加坡人有直接或間接的關係,透過墓園空間與祭祀行為,可以牽起過去與現在,也是錨定身分的方式。然而華人專屬墓園易被連結上「華人優勢」(Chinese privilege)的邏輯中,與新加坡長期推行的「種族平等」論述背道而馳,因此,政府面對咖啡山開發非議時更加小心,不希望因退讓而陷入種族議題中。

(二)華人墓園與都市更新

新加坡政府2013年公布的《人口白皮書》中,表示為因應人口老化和生育率下降帶來的挑戰,以及保持勞動競爭力,將繼續引進外來人口,預計到2030年新加坡人口規模將增至690萬,比目前增約30%,因此政府必須未雨綢繆地為增加的人口預備住宅。咖啡山已超過40年無新葬,許多老墳早已無人聞問,而華人的土葬方式予人雜亂無章、浪費土地又衛生堪慮的印象,政府自然盯上,其實這不是政府遷墓給活人空間的第一例,如位於中峇魯(Tiong Bahru)的新加坡首批公共組屋、碧山住宅區、烏節路(Orchard Road)著名購物商場義安城(Ngee Ann City complex),都是墳場改做房屋、道路及工商業發展用途。至於因都市更新影響生態之疑慮,新加坡慣於採取生態補償的方式,以修剪整齊的植栽取代盤根錯節的老樹和肆無忌憚的蔓草,不負其「花園城市」(garden city)之名,然而這僅是菁英主義者所想像的美好生活樣貌,並不貼近常民的生活,對環境的影響值得探討。

(三)咖啡山與金門

在僑鄉金門也正經歷開發與保存之衝突,不過咖啡山與金門另有耐人尋味的連結。金門在1860年代、1912-1929年及1937-1945年間有大量人口「落番」2至新加坡,俗諺「六亡、三在、一回頭」道盡落番客的辛酸,他們遠赴未知的南洋謀生發展,所從事的多是勞力工作,如船駁業、貿易業。當時金門人在新加坡河沿岸建立了至少34間以上的「估俚間」(苦力間,“Coolie Keng”, laborers’ quarters),約30名同村的單身男子合租一間,彼此相互扶持、凝聚認同,並確保行業的優勢(江柏煒,2012a),可想像估俚間與上千金門移工擁擠在新加坡河岸的景象。金門移工若事業有成,則回饋故鄉建宅邸、修宗祠、興辦學校,當終老異鄉,其子孫的敬意就呈現在他們安息的墓塚。

咖啡山上一個個刻有「金門」的墓碑(圖3),記錄了金門人參與新加坡開拓的歷史,而其中規模最大的墓塚便是原籍金門、從事貿易業起家的王三龍(Ong Sam Leong, 1857-1917)家族墓園(圖4),面積達600平方公尺,墓坵、墓手及墓碑形式與石雕、聯對標示出墓主為富裕華人的身分,墓前立有俗稱「孟加里」(Bangkali)3的錫克族持槍衛兵守護,又透露了長期在南洋打拼所受到的文化影響。

咖啡山對金門的重要性,在於金門遭遇太多戰亂離散,佚失的家族記憶與史料或可從新加坡華人組織得知,然而新加坡華人組織曾在日本高壓統治時期及戰後都市快速發展下受到破壞,金門佚失的拼圖便要從咖啡山中發掘。

圖3 咖啡山上的金門人之墓
(來源:Claire Leow, Heritage Singapore- Bukit Brown Cemetery, https://www.facebook.com/groups/bukitbrown/
圖4 王三龍與夫人之墓(來源:World Monuments Fund, https://goo.gl/2zrMFt
軀殼雖死,精神不滅 

在這個強調「以協商的同意(consensus)取代爭論(contention)」的國家,咖啡山成為政府與民間、開發與保護間拉鋸的社會運動中心。雖然國家機器依然將怪手伸入,但民間組織持續的努力,讓不同族群的新加坡人投以關注,也讓政府釋出善意,不僅將影響範圍縮減,也將透露著東南亞與中國特定地區之間豐富聯繫的墓碑及構件編目建檔(圖5),讓咖啡山坐實了「生態博物館」之美名。因為生態博物館是地方族群持之以探索自己形象的一面鏡子,他們並可藉此尋求其對所處地域和先民的解釋,也是地方族群可持之以示遊客的一面鏡子,讓外界能更了解並尊重地方(張譽騰,2004)。咖啡山上10萬個墓主的軀殼雖死,他們的精神是活著的,活在家族的心中,更活在新加坡人的生活中。

圖5 保存於庫房中的墓碑及構件(來源:Credit Sim Chi Yin for The New York Times, https://goo.gl/dOZlSj
注釋
  1. 非官方年號。許多與洪門有關的組織使用「天運」作爲年號,清末的興中會同盟會也採用「天運」爲年號。
  2. 「落番」意為:下到番地(謀生),當時所指的「番地」即南洋。
  3. 「孟加里」(Bengali)本指來自印度西孟加拉邦(West Bengal)和孟加拉(Bangladesh)的人,但百餘年來被新加坡華人誤指為旁遮普的印度裔錫克教人。這個族群生性忠誠,在19世紀初跟著英國人來到東南亞,被委以英屬海峽殖民地的警察、守衛或僕從等職,華人將自己比擬為英國殖民者一樣,可以雇用得起孟加里的僕役或守衛,也是宣告一種社會地位、財富力量及文化想像之象徵(江柏煒,2012b)。
延伸閱讀
  • All Things Bukit Brown —Heritage. Habitat. History. http://bukitbrown.com/main 
  • Bukit Brown Municipal Cemetery , http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/infopedia/articles/SIP_1358_2009-07-13.html 
  • Bukit Brown: Living Museum of History and Heritage – http://www.bukitbrown.org 
  • Huang Jianli, 2014, “Resurgent Spirits of Civil Society Activism: Rediscovering the Bukit Brown Cemetery in Singapore.” Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society · Volume 87, Part 2, No. 307, December 2014. pp. 21-45 
  • Land Transport Authority. “Construction of New Dual Four-lane Road to Relieve Congestion along PIE & Lornie Road and Serve Future Developments,” last modified October 5, 2012, http://app.lta.gov.sg/apps/news/page.aspx?c=2&id=rj2i4o1u3d7018466v86y82epxjj32mwbvnhu6rpwt8lplkgo6 
  • The Nature Society (Singapore)’s Conservation Committee, 2011, Nature Society (Singapore)’s Position on Bukit Brown 
  • 江柏煒,2012a,〈新加坡河駁船業「估俚間」的角色及其變遷:以浯江公會為例〉,「海洋史研究工作坊」,臺北:中央研究院人文社會科學研究中心。 
  • 江柏煒,2012b,〈金門洋樓:一個近代閩南僑鄉文化變遷的案例分析〉,《國立臺灣大學建築與城鄉研究學報》,第20期,pp. 1-24。 
  • 衣若芬,2015,墓刻二維碼http://ilofen.blogspot.tw/2015/11/blog-post_10.html 
  • 洪鎌德、郭俊麟,1997,〈從新加坡看臺灣族群問題-族群和諧與共榮〉,「族群正義與人權保障研討會」,二二八事件紀念基金會,http://www.228.org.tw/downloadfile.aspx?fid=1B4345078CF72EDA 
  • 紀舜傑,2013,〈新加坡的國家認同-從生存威脅到永續執政的國族建構〉,《臺灣國際研究季刊》,第9卷第1期,2013/春季號,pp. 59-47。 
  • 張碧君,2014,〈城市遺產與城市發展之衝突:以新加坡咖啡山為例〉,《都市與計畫》,41:4 2014.12,pp. 329-355。 
  • 張譽騰,2004,《生態博物館:一個文化運動的興起》,臺北:五觀藝術管理有限公司。

Land of Ancestors- Preservation Issue on the Bukit Brown Cemetery, Singapore

 

Author: Eva Yi-Fang Tang (Researcher, Construction and Planning Agency, Ministry of the Interior, R.O.C.)
Editor: Sally Sz-Yu Sally

 

My apologies! Ancestors!

On May 30th, 2011, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in Singapore has proclaimed a plan of residential development estimated to accommodate fifty thousand people. On September 12, the same year, Land Transport Authority (LTA), URA and National Park Board (NParks) announced to build up a new road parallel with Lornie Road for easing traffic; at the same time, basic constructions will operate along the line. Beginning in 2013 and completed in 2017, these construction plans that cut through Bukit Brown Cemetery, making an impact on 5,000 grave mounds and their surroundings has raised significant opposition in a country known for abiding the law. Many preservation organizations sprang out, such as SOS Bukit Brown and All Things Bukit Brown (AtBB), working along with Nature Society Singapore, Singapore Heritage Society (SHS) and Asia Paranormal Investigators.

Apart from being a family gathering and worshipping place, why is a cemetery so important for these anti-developing associations?

 

Treasures displayed on site – Bukit Brown

Bukit Brown, also called “Kopi Sua” by Hokkien immigrants, is located in the central area of Singapore, away from the bustling southern business district. As the largest Han Chinese cemetery outside of China, there are grave mounds of one hundred thousand ethnic Chinese on this 223-hectare hill country and its unique history and ecology attracts many visitors to explore.

 

  1. History

The official name “Bukit Brown” comes from British captain Brown (George Henry Brown) who has set foot on Singapore in the 1840s and Bukit comes from the Malaysian word “hills”. In 19th century, Brown had once lived here before Hokkien businessman the Wang family bought this place for agriculture and grave in 1872. Singapore Hokkien Association has been running the land ever since as an exclusive graveyard for Hokkien immigrants in Singapore. The oldest grave can be traced back to the 1830s and has buried numerous Hokkien immigrants including pioneers of developing Singapore, revolutionists in Chinese United League and the elder of notables. In the early 20th century, due to a large number of Chinese immigrants, government stepped in and made Bukit Brown a public cemetery until 1973, when they stopped to accept new applications. This cemetery spans through time for more than a hundred years, and represents the early history of Chinese Immigrations and the development of Singapore with the changes from identities of the graves, shape and structure of burial and the content of epitaph. Also, the reign names in the tombstones range from “Huang Qing", “Great Qing", “GuangXu Period", “TianYun", “Republic era", “Showa" and “AD".

 

  1. Ecology

Geographically close to the largest protected area in Singapore, “Central Catchment Nature Reserve", Bukit Brown Cemetery has preserved natural and unspoiled landscape, allowing the place to become one of the 28 protected districts marked by Singapore Nature Society. The Nature Society has done researches on the biological diversity in Bukit Brown and discovered 90 kinds of bird; among them are 13 national endangered species including White-bellied Woodpecker, White-rumped Shama, Spotted Wood Owl, Violet Cuckoo, Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot, Thick-billed Green Pigeon and Changeable Hawk Eagle etc. As a highly-developed country, this area has functions of water and soil conservation, reducing heat island effect and providing a place for rest and recreation.

Due to the two reasons mentioned above, Singapore Heritage Society (SHS) has proposed Bukit Brown Cemetery as a heritage park with five values:

  1. Space Specific to the Region
  2. Historical Connectivity to the Region
  3. A More Democratic Singapore Story
  4. Safeguarding Cultural Practices
  5. A History of People, Streets and Places

World Monuments Fund had proclaimed that Bukit Brown Cemetery was included in 2014 World Monuments Watch List, approving its position in history and ecology, and raising global profile. Civil organizations raised more attention toward the issue through doing researches, publications and promoting tourism, and have also conceived some alternatives such as establishing toll fees or widening Lornie Road etc.; however, the government is apathetic toward all the effort they have done.

 

The dispute over ethnic composition and urban renewal in ethnic Chinese cemetery

When it comes to the future of Bukit Brown Cemetery, the government and people focus on issues of ethnic composition and urban development, while I pay more attention on its connection to Kinmen instead.

 

  1. Ethnic Chinese cemetery and ethnic composition

Forced to separate from Malaysia in 1965, there were no development of local nationalism at the beginning in Singapore. The three groups were ethnic Chinese, Malay and Indians, considering Singapore as a shelter or a temporary place for living and lacking the common memories or ideas while their sense of belonging and self-identity still connects tightly to their home countries. At that time, the strategy of incumbent People’s Action Party for the most ethnic Chinese is to eliminate the characteristic of Chineseness to prevent other ethnicities and countries see Singapore as overseas power of China. Policy White Paper in 1991 had reiterated that “Country takes priority over groups and society takes priority over the individual.” Ancestors buried in Bukit Brown Cemetery have direct and indirect relations with the present Singaporean. Through sacrificial actions, the area acts as a ground connecting the present, the past and self-identities of modern Singaporean. However, the cemetery dedicated for ethnic Chinese is easily considered Chinese privilege, diverging from the discourse of “racial equality” from the government. Hence, the government should be more thoughtful of this to prevent from being trapped in a dilemma.

 

  1. Ethnic Chinese cemetery and urban renewal

In the “Population White Paper” published in 2013, the government of Singapore indicated that due to population aging and a drop of fertility rate, they will continuously introduce immigrants and have planned to increase the population to 6.9 million in 2030, growing 30% in total to keep labor competitiveness. That is the reason why the government will need more accommodation in advance; also, they have watched Bukit Brown Cemetery for a while since it has not been opened for over 40 years and people are reckless of the old graves; furthermore, the way of ethnic Chinese inhumation makes an impression that it’s messy, wasteful and filthy. In fact, it is not the first case that government adds accommodation for people by removing graveyard. For example, the first public housing located in Tiong Bahru, Bishan residential town, famous Ngee Ann City complex on Orchard Road were all reconstructed to housings, roads or commercial developments from graveyard. As for the destruction of ecology caused by urban renewal, government of Singapore tends to use the method of ecological compensation to replace deep-rooted old trees and weeds with plants with good care, fitting in the name of “Garden City”. However, it’s just a bubble for the elitism not the populism, and the issue of environment is still worthy of discussion.

 

  1. Bukit Brown Cemetery & Kinmen

Meanwhile, Kinmen also encountered a dispute of development and preservation. There is an interesting connection between Bukit Brown Cemetery and Kinmen. A large number of people from Kinmen quested to move to Singapore (Chain Migration) in the 1860s, through 1912-1929 and from 1937-1945. A common saying “six dies, three survives and one turns back” explains the sorrow of immigrants. They sailed to make a living in a completely unknown place in the South-east Asia. Most of them worked as hard labors, such as shipbuilders and traders. At that period of time, people from Kinmen had built up a least 34 laborer’s quarters (Coolie Keng) along the banks of Singapore River, accommodating around 30 men a room. They support each other and form a community to ensure the advantage in business. Picture a scene with thousands of Kinmen immigrants crowded in Coolie Keng on the Singapore River bank. If those immigrants made a fortune, they would build up houses, maintain Ancestral Hall and operate schools in their hometown; when they got old in foreign land, the respect from their descendants will be shown on the burial mound.

There is a tombstone with the carving “Kinmen" inside the Bukit Brown Cemetery, recording the history of Kinmen people participating in the development of Singapore. Amongst the tombs the largest one is the family cemetery of One Sam Leong (1857-1917) whose ancestral town is Kinmen and has made a fortune in the trading business. The shape and structure of his gravestone, and the couplets on it both marks the identity of the owner as a wealthy ethnic Chinese in the 600 square meter area; moreover, it also reveals the cultural influence due to long-term living in South-east Asia with the Sikh guards, commonly known as Bangkali, standing in front of the tombs.

The importance of Bukit Brown Cemetery to Kinmen is that although the missing family memories and historical information caused by wars can be found in ethnic Chinese organizations in Singapore, these organizations had been destroyed by high pressure control under Japan colonial government and rapid development of postwar period. Only Bukit Brown Cemetery can complete the puzzle.

 

Long live the spirit

In the country emphasizing to replace contention by consensus, Bukit Brown Cemetery has long been the center of social movement lingering between the government and civilians, development and preservation. Even though the government still tries to interfere with this area, different groups in Singapore have always been keeping an eye on this issue. Through all the hardworking from civil organizations, making government scales the influential area down and planning to filing of tombstones and composition connected Southeast Asia and specific district in China. Bukit Brown Cemetery is an “Ecology Museum”, being a mirror for the locals to find the explanation to the history of the region and their ancestors and for tourists to understand and then respect the spirit of this area. The Spirit of the immigrants buried inside Bukit Brown Cemetery lives on with the families and in the heart of Singaporeans.

 

Annex:

  1. Unofficial reign names. Many organizations relative to Hongmen will use “Tian Yun” as reign name. Revive China Society and Chinese United League in the late Qing dynasty will also use this name.
  2. “The quest (Chain Migration)”: travel to Southeast Asia to make a living.
  3. “Bengali” was people from West Bengal and Bangladesh, but had been mistaken to Indian Sikhs in Punjab by ethnic Chinese for more than one hundred years. They are royal and usually appointed to be police, guards and servants when they came to Southeast Asia with the British in 19th century. Ethnic Chinese compare themselves to be British colonialist who can afford Bengali guards and servants and declare their social status, fortune and greatness.

 

 


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