Monday, January 5, 2015

No Peace For The Departed

The latest brouhaha in town concerns a NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) upset at Sengkang West. Once again, the authorities are counting on the short term memory span of Singaporeans to forget that tempers also flared in 2012 over an eldercare center in Woodlands Street and a studio apartment for the elderly in Toh Yi Drive.

A wide range of facilities are found within Fernvale Lea, boasts the glossy brochure for the Housing & Development Board (HDB) Build-To-Order (BTO) project. You can choose to jog along the meandering footpath or exercise at the adult and the elderly fitness stations. You can also pay respects to the dead at the columbarium next door.

Adding fuel to the rising temperatures, the HDB and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) dug in their heels by saying that the town map and site plan issued did include notes which indicated that "places of worship may include columbarium as an ancillary use".

Member of Parliament Lam Pin Min didn't exactly help to defray tempers when he wrote, "I have also been reassured by the developer that there will NOT be crematorium or funeral parlour services at the new temple." Maybe Lam is not familiar with Chinese funeral rituals, but when the ancestral table is ceremonially installed at a temple, there are prayer rites conducted by monks, complete with chanting and musical accompaniment. Interestingly, HDB awarded the tender for the columbarium development to Life Corporation, an Australian funeral services company. Maybe the outfit from Down Under also missed the fine print.

Human resources executive Soh, 28, shares the sentiments of those moving into Fernvale Lea next year. "I know I should respect the dead, but I don't wish to live near a columbarium knowing that the dead are resting there." The objection is not necessarily one of superstition, but the journey home after a hard day's work should be towards a place of happiness, not a house of sadness.

There are valid reasons why most of us don't visit our ancestors' final resting places on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. The pain has to be too much to bear, especially when the departed is so dearly beloved. And when we do visit, we like to recall the cherished memories in a quiet and serene environment. Not within the sights and sounds of a development boasting of two playgrounds for frolicking kids at play. Is that so difficult for the insensitive bureaucrats and heartless politicians to understand?


  1. If you are not happy, vote to say so.

  2. I would like my ashes to be housed at somewhere in Bt Timah if possible. Was hoping I can still live it up in my afterlife. Why aren't there any columbarium or foreign workers quarters at Bt Timah?

  3. Two things need be pointed out, Tattler. One the "Australian" company is in fact PRC owned. (We know that thanks to Goh Meng Seng's sleuthing). Two, funeral services were envisaged as its business profile showed. This was reported by the ST. True to the standard operating procedure of the ruling elites, they will attack its detractors. Unfortunately for them they seem to be shooting themselves in the foot. Dr. Lam falsely accused the social media of misleading the public in asserting that funeral services will be conducted when it was the ST which reported it. MPs are not addressed in Parliament as Honourable Members for nothing. The least Dr. Lam can do is to apologise for his false accusation. And he has to answer the many questions posted on his Facebook page which do no reflect well on him instead of trying to fudge the real issues. There seems to be no peace for the living as well. As for the so-called not in my back yard syndrome, it is indeed an official policy to protect the great and the good from the ugly Singaporeans. Take the good class bungalows planning area in the Master Plan. You cannot build HDB apartments there, much less a columbarium or the peace of the elites will be affected and the values of their properties lowered. It does make you sick with so much hypocrisy.

  4. On this topic, I can understand the constraints. With 5.5m, going to 6.9m, going to 10m and more, there will not be enough land for the living, let alone the dead. So, the dead has to go high-rise as well, let alone on landed properties.

    So, the nub of the issue is the population target, and not where to put the dead. If the decision is still to pack the living like sardines, then ditto for the dead.

    1. Then Ah Loong had better wake up his idea about the population target if he values his kingdom, because,

      For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
      For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
      For want of a horse the rider was lost.
      For want of a rider the battle was lost.
      For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
      And all for the want of a horseshoe nail

      All the cemeteries are gone, and now the dead must be packed together with the living, to satisfy Ah Loong's mad development plans. VTO.

    2. Social friction, one of the undesirable consequences of an overpopulated island. While on the subject of The Departed, perhaps the population policy of the PAP will be the final nail in it's coffin. RIP.

  5. HDB has no respect to our cheap housing. They can build anywhere with the HDB estates. If this were to build near condo or landed property, the govt will say "NO WAY", because majority of our MPs live in those "high class, get out of elitist face" land area.

  6. I wish to rest in the Istana Ground.
    That huge piece of prime land is greatly under utilized and waste for no valid reason.


  7. HDB owns the land.
    HDB can build whatever it wants on land that it owns.
    Singaporeans are just lessees.
    That's why if HDB the owner/landlord tells you (lessee) to live next to a columbarium ... you got no choice.

    Still think you "own" your HDB flat?
    Singaporeans atre just a nation of tenants.
    Lowest home ownership rates in the world. Around 10%.

  8. There is a nice bushy area behind Ngee Ann City. Think it is still owned by the Ngee Ann Kongsi and their mandate ( during the early century ) was to buy property for burial of overseas chinese.

    Should be a good spot for a columbarium and earn the knongsi some revenue too. After shopping, visit ah-kong, ah-ma. So convenient.

    1. I say that is a Very Good Idea ! Another tourist must-see attraction as well ! But you can be sure, the elites and their cronies in the ruling party will find a book full of By Laws and Rules why that is not legal .....

  9. If you are caught smoking, the fine is $500. No ifs, no butts, the NEA anti-smoking poster says so.

    But the Environment Minister is hopeless and can't do anything if someone is burning incense paper right in front of your HDB flat.

    So just imagine if your flat faces the columbarium and you have incense smoke blowing into you flat almost every day, do you think your PAP MP is going to help you ask the PAP Minister to ban the burning of incense paper ?

    Food for thought?