Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Kubor Kassim

I first heard about this Malay cemetery when I started researching places near to where I lived and when reading up about the Jalan Kabur cemeteries along Victoria  Street   It's only a short bus ride from home and the interesting yellow and green fading, peeling paintwork of the unusual porch style gates really grabs your attention and makes you want to see what's on the otherside. 

Situated alongside Siglap road, almost on the crest of the hill, this Malay cemetery is supposed to date back to the 1800s although many of the dates on the gravestones I could read were 1950-70s. 

Kubor/Kubur means cemetery in Malay and therefore the name means Kassims cemetery, who is Kassim? There seems little or no information on this site on the Internet, although if I read Malay or Arabic maybe I would have found some more. 

The little I could find out is very sketchy and I'm not sure how correct or relevant to the cemetery they are. One comment was the cemetery existed due to its close proximity to Kampong Siglap (a Malay kampong) this to me would make sense. Along the East coast up to the 1980s were 4 kampongs (villages) Siglap and Hajijah were both Malay and Lim Choo and Goh Choo were Chinese kampongs.

An interesting piece of folklore is that Siglap was named from the Malay word "gelap" meaning "darkness that conceals" legend says that the chief of kampong Siglap, Tok Lasam, landed on the east coast under dark thunder clouds. 

As stated I'm not sure on any of the information on the cemetery as nothing much seems to be out there. Safe to say it's old, it's malay, it's large and has a number of large shrines within its grounds. Most of the information out there seems to be from groups and individuals visiting at night hoping to find some paranormal activities. 

I however visited during the day, in bright sunshine and searing heat. The gates were unlocked and were bekoning us in. I was really surprised at how large the area was, as far as we could see there were graves large and small stretching back across the area. I believe the cemetery land is planned to be redeveloped for residential use sometime in the future...why doesn't this surprise me. 

Not only were there many gravestones but there seemed to be equally as many cats as well!! Extremely friendly, that followed us around so closely I was afraid of either falling over them, or standing on and hurting them! 2 young lads were there feeding them for awhile. Along with the cats were the ants and mosquitos!! But what else would you expect in this natural non preened environment. I was surprised, considering it is situated along a relatively busy road and with condos and houses to the sides, how quiet and tranquil this place remains. 

I'm not going to try and give any information on those that are buried here as I'm not sure, reports seems to differ and I don't want to pass on wrong information or to offend anyone, although there seems to be agreement that an Indian Sufi saint was buried here with his shrine. 

I'll leave you to look at the photos and image the tranquil resting place of so many Malay Moslems.

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