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Grave of Mdm Tan (grand-ma of Chia Leong Chuan)

Thanks once again to Raymond for discovery of the grave of Mdm Tan, who was the mother of Chia Kay Tuan (therefore the grand-ma of Chia Leong Chuan and also great-grand-ma of Chia Hood Theam). Unfortunately this grave is marked with stake number 1802, therefore it is slated for exhumation.

photo taken by Raymond Goh

photo taken by Raymond Goh


This is definitely the oldest Chia family ancestor found so far at Bt Brown. Based on Raymond’s translation of the tomb inscriptions, it was determined that Mdm Tan died in 1863, and listed the names of Leong Chuan, Leong Kiat and Hood Theam.

前宅 (same ancestral village as Hood Theam)
2nd year of Tongzhi reign (1863)
顕祖妣 – Honorable grandmother

儉柔 (posthumous)
謝門陳孺人墓 Mdm Tan, Chia family

隆全 – Leong Chuan
隆𠍇 – Leong Kiat

佛添 – Hood Theam

Since the name of Mdm Tan’s son Kay Tuan is not mentioned on the gravestone, it is surmised that she outlived her son; therefore only the grandsons and great grandson (Hood Theam was only just born at the time of her death) are listed. It is not known where Kay Tuan was buried, but most likely he brought only his mother out from China before he died, then perhaps went back to China and was buried there.

Additional photos taken by Beng Tang at the gravesite, enhanced in order to make the inscriptions more legible.

IMGP1802g mdmTan_1802c


Grave of Song Chit Neo (wife of Chia Leong Chuan)

Thanks to Raymond Goh and Peter Pak, who discovered today, the grave of Song Chit Neo (2nd wife of my great-great-grand pa, Chia Leong Chuan) at Lao Sua near the PIE.

Song Chit Neo (1858-1911) is the mother of Chia Lim Neo, who was step-mother and step-sister respectively, of my great-grand pa, Chia Hood Theam.

grave of Song Chit Neo

grave of Song Chit Neo

This grave with the elephants contains the oldest Chia ancestor found buried at Bt Brown area to date. My great-great-grandpa (Chia Leong Chuan, d:1889) had 6 children from two wives. He came to Singapore from China when a young man in the 1850s, in order to seek his fortune, together with his brother, Leong Kiat.  With hard work, he made it good here as shroff or comprador at Mercantile Bank.

From 1st wife “gemok”, Chia Leong Chuan had 5 children including my great-grand pa, his eldest son :-

(a) Chia Hood Theam (1863-1938) – grave located at Blk1 BBC

(b) Chia Hood Cheng

(c) Chia Hood Sang (1867-1925) – grave located at Blk1 BBC, near to his elder brother

(d) Chia Hood Teck

(e) Chia Wat Neo (1862-1953)

From 2nd wife Song Chit Neo, he had one daughter Chia Lim Neo (1875-1911) who married Ong Tek Lim and they had 3 sons.

Grave of Chia Hood Sang

I was at Bt Brown recently for the filming of “History from the Hills” Episode 3, together with Noreen.

Here are photos of the grave of Chia Hood Sang, which is located just 2 rows away from his brother Chia Hood Theam.

IMG_0529 IMG_0530

Demon-cratic Singapore

On a lighter note, the cause of all the problems facing Bt Brown and Singapore today.

For more episodes from Chew, go to Facebook/demoncraticsingapore


Here are the links to the next episodes of this Bt Brown cartoon series by Chew :-

episode #201- part2.   episode #202-part3 and   episode #203-part4

Qing Ming

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Qing Ming or Cheng Beng is observed where there are Chinese graves or communities throughout Asia, including of course China. This year, the date for Qing Ming is 4th or 5th of April, but traditionally, the family can perform the grave rituals anytime 2 weeks before and after that date.

This slide-show documents  some of the activity related to this important Chinese custom that is now in progress at Bt Brown, which is acknowledged to be the world’s largest Chinese cemetery outside of China. For some of the families shown in the photos, it could be the last time that they will have the opportunity to perform this ritual at their ancestor’s grave at Bt Brown.


The photos in this article are taken from contributions to the Facebook group

Further reading of activities related to Bt Brown can be found at

Bt Brown info – Chia family

Bukit Brown Family Burial Record

from the   National Archives of Singapore     

My paternal great-grand parents :- Chia Hood Theam and Yeo Lan Neo

CHIA HOOD THEAM             died  10.7.38,   buried   17.7.38

s/no   327     pg 79/101  (nhb record)

age   77,    Hokien

Plot  Sect  B,  Blk 1,  314

YEO LAN NEO                        died   27.7.48,   buried   31.7.48 (recorded 21.7.48)

s/no   22     pg  13/57  (nhb record)

age   85,    Hokien

Plot  Sect  B,  Blk 1,   315

My paternal grand father :- Chia Keng Tye

CHIA KENG TYE                    died  8.6.61,   buried   10.6.61

s/no   9      pg 38/57  (nhb record)

age   73,    Hokien

Plot  Sect  C,  Blk V,   261

Burial ref no.   BG 6/40,

Burial cert no. 185695/1577,

Receipt no.    2509

My paternal grand-mother :- Lim Tuan Neo

LIM TUAN NEO                 died   11.4.48,   buried   13.4.48

s/no   8      pg 8/57  (nhb record)

age 53,   Hokien

Plot  Sect  C,  Blk V,  262

Burial cert no.  1761,

Receipt no.  6759


This is the link to the Chia family tree.

Following information from the Bt Brown grave register.

PDF File: 003.pdf (May 1938 – Aug 1938) pg 79 of 101  Record of Ser# 327

CHIA Hood Theam

Date of burial 17/7/1938,  died age 77 yrs on 10/7/1938

Grave location: division# Section B, blk1, plot# 314

Grave Site of CHT and YLN

Bt Brown pictures of Chia Keng Tye gravesite

These are the pictures of my paternal grand parents’ (Chia Keng Tye and Lim Tuan Neo) gravesite at Bt Brown.


The graves are located at Blk5, numbers 261C and 262C respectively.

Chia Keng Tye – born: 18th May 1888, died: 8th June 1961

Lim Tuan Neo – born: 8th July 1890, died: 11th April 1948

The GPS location of Chia Keng Tye’s gravesite  is

N 01 deg 20.202’    E 103 deg 49.265’    (or in metric, N1.33670 E103.82108)

elevation: 30m

Went down to Bt Brown today (22nd Feb) with cousin Barry and obtained the GPS location, scrubbed/cleaned up the stone and cleared some of the vegetation, in order to obtain the following photos. Compare this first photo with some of the earlier ones which were overgrown with plants and with most of the inscriptions on the grave-stone illegible. (Note: Click on the photos below to obtain an enlarged or magnified view, if required. Otherwise, download and save the image file, in order to view on your computer, without using the browser).

Graves of CKT and LTN

Closeup of Chia Keng Tye’s grave stone is shown in the next photo #01.

The main inscription consists of  9 characters, flanked by “4th month, 25th day” and “Year 50 of the 民 国 Republic of China, 1911”. Therefore, after converting the lunar calendar** and 50+1911 = the date of death, 8th June 1961.

The 9 Chinese characters inscribed vertically on the stone are :-

Xian     (combined with 考 = “late father“)

Kang   慶   (name = Keng)

Tai      泰   (name  = Tye)
Xie      谢    Surname = Chia written last, in order to link to “gong” => Sir Xie

Gong  公 Sir

Zhi       the 3rd last character (modern Chinese is 的) is just a possessive article

Jia           佳  = excellent

Cheng      = city (combined together with 佳cemetery or tomb)

On the left panel, the English inscription on the stone reads “In Loving Memory, Chia Keng Tye“.

On the right panel, the English inscription on the stone show the dates of birth and death (as shown above).

photo#01 Chia Keng Tye’s grave after cleaning up

** link to website showing example of lunar calendar conversion for the year 1961

What are the 2 characters 前宅 flanking the photo on grand-pa’s grave stone (similar also on grand-ma’s, so apparently she was from the same home town) ?

Based on the Chia ancestral village being Tong An 同 安 in Fujian, which is close to Quanzhou (almost on the border). This also follows the modern administrative divisions; in the past Tong An was a county and Xiamen would have been part of it :-

厦门市 (Xiamen City)

同安区 (Tongan District)

大同镇 (Datong Town)

田洋村 (Tianyang Village)

前宅 (Qianzhai) [24.742271,118.137145].

Therefore, the 2 characters  前宅 (Qianzhai) denote the ancestral birthplace in Fujian.

Closeup of Lim Tuan Neo’s grave stone is shown in the following photo #02.

The main inscription consists of  9 characters, flanked by “3rd month, 3rd day” and “Year 37 of the 民 国 Republic of China, 1911″. Therefore, after converting the lunar calendar and 37+1911 = the date of death, 11th April 1948”.

The 9 Chinese characters inscribed vertically on the stone are :-

Xian     late

Bi           mother

Xie        married surname, Chia

Men     (house of)

Ling  林  (Lim = maiden surname)

Shi      氏  (denotes that it is mother’s Family name, above)

Duan  (name= Tuan)

Niang     (name = Neo)

Mu     墓   tomb or grave

On the left panel, the English inscription on the stone reads “In Loving Memory, Lim Tuan Neo“.

On the right panel, the English inscription on the stone show the dates of birth and death (as shown above).

photo #02 Lim Tuan Neo’s grave after cleaning up

The names of Chia Keng Tye and Lim Tuan Neo’s surviving children were found in the center of the 2 adjoining grave stones. Thus, only the names of 2 sons and 3 daughters are shown engraved on the stone. Their other two daughters Amy and Grace had already passed away earlier (in 1911 and 1946 respectively).

Children of CKT and LTN listed on the grave

This inscription was discovered on the right wing tip extremity or right corner of the grave, after Barry and I cleared the vegetation around the grave. Noticed that some of the other graves in the area also had the same thing.

What does it mean and what is its significance?  These 2 mysterious characters are the name of the “God of Earth” (to protect the tomb).

后 土 (pinyin pronunciation= hou tu)

This is found on the extreme right wing or right corner of the grave

Click here to view or download Chia Keng Tye’s Bt Brown details in Microsoft Word Docx format.

Click here to view or download Lim Tuan Neo’s Bt Brown details in Microsoft Word Docx format.

The proposed road misses this grave by less than 50m, and there are only two rows of other graves between this grave and the road to be built thru Bt Brown, as shown in the following series of photos.

1}. The first photo shows the front view of the grave of my grand-parents and the neighbouring grave on its left.

2}. About 50m to the left of my grand-parents’ grave, all these graves are marked for removal.

3}. The wooden stake at the right of this picture indicates the path of the proposed road, and it is about 50m away from the grave of my grand-parents, which is hidden in the undergrowth (towards the left of this picture).

4}. My grand-parents’ grave is about 25m behind the red shrub in the undergrowth, and this red shrub is about 25m from the wooden stake (which is now to the right of this photo, and outside of the frame) seen in the previous photo.

5}. This is a picture of the one grave in between the road and my grand-parents’ grave; seen when entering undergrowth near the red shrub, and walking towards my grand-parents’ grave. The red shrub is actually growing out from the back of this grave.