A museum set up by Peck San Theng. The museum was conceptualised in 2016 and completed in 2018. This project is supported by National Heritage Board, Singapore.
Minister Chan Chun Sing officiated the opening ceremony on 3 June 2018. Guided tours were conducted in 3 languages.
Opening hours: 9.30am to 4pm daily. 9.30am to 1pm on public holidays. Please let us know in advance if you need guided tour.
Fuk Tak Chi temple was built in 1824 by the Cantonese and Hakka communities from the seven prefectures of Guangzhou , Huizhou, Zhaoqing, Jiaying, Fengshun, Yongding and Dapu.
Like other temples in Singapore, Fuk Tak Chi temple was not only a place of worship but also served as the headquarters of the Cantonese and Hakka communities.
图中的“Chinese Burying Ground”为青山亭原址，1820年代已经开辟为广客坟场。
As the number of Cantonese and Hakka people living in Singapore increased, so too the demand for funeral services. Both communities collaborated to establish the Cheng San Teng cemetery around Maxwell Road.
The ‘Chinese Burying Ground’ indicated on the map was Cheng San Teng cemetery. It was established in the 1820s.
After more than 10 years, the Cheng San Theng cemetery could no longer meet demand. In 1840, the colonial government approved the establishment of the 23-acre Loke Yah Teng cemetery in Bukit Ho Swee.
The first edition of Singapore Street Directory in 1954 shows that the Loke Yah Teng cemetery (Chinese Cemetery) located at the junction of Havelock Road and Outram Road.
Within 30 years, Loke Yah Teng cemetery had reached its full capacity. The Fong Yun Thai and Jiaying communities established their respective cemeteries near Holland Road. The Kwong Wai Siew community, led by Boey Nam Sooi, established the Peck San Theng cemetery at Thomson Road in 1870.
Following the acquisition of Cheng San Teng cemetery by the colonial government, the Kwong Wai Siew community built the New Asia Hotel and Air View Hotel on its former site. The rental income was used to support Yeung Ching School and Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital. Today these organisations still receive such funding.
In the 1970s, the 324-acre Peck San Theng cemetery could still be seen along Thomson Road. The land area was equivalent to over 180 football fields, covering about two-thirds of today's Bishan Town. The burial grounds were demarcated by 12 pavilions.
甘榜山亭位于坟场旁，对面是汤申路圣德兰疗养院（St. Theresa’s Home）。甘榜山亭有商店、学校、戏台和民居耕地。
Kampong San Teng was a self-sufficient community living beside the cemetery located just across the St. Theresa’s Home at Thomson Road. A braised duck shop, soy sauce factory, pharmacy, confectionery, school, opera stage and residences could be found on both sides of the road.
The residents of Kampong San Teng led a humble livelihood. Most of the residents living at Pavilion 1 to 3 were Cantonese, while those living at Pavilion 4 to 7 were a mix of Teochew and Hokkien, and those living at Pavilion 8 were mostly Hokkien. A few Indian families were living in the kampong as well.
Peck San Tea Pavilion (coffee shop) was the meeting points for most of the kampong residents. Young people worked at the nearby electronic factories, Sembawang Naval Base and Sembawang shipyard. The elderly and women raised pigs and chickens and grew vegetables at home.
Bishan is a reflection of Chinese progression in local history. Clan associations, together with temples, are products of early Chinese migration. Collectively, they preserve the rich Chinese history and culture in Singapore for the past 200 years.
Prior to 1923, Peck San Theng had already collaborated with Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital to bury the deceased patients.
In 1930, Peck San Theng acceded to Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital's request to set up a community burial ground for deceased patients at Pavilion 2.
The Zhengyuan main tomb, rebuilt in 1929, was located at Pavilion 7 of Peck San Theng cemetery. It is a historical reflection of Singaporean Chinese’s participation in the Xinhai Revolution, founding of the Republic and the reunification of China.
The Association was established in 1910 for workers of the Rattan industry, most of whom were from Nanhai, Guangdong Province. The association was dissolved in 2011 after crossing its century mark. The remaining fund was donated to charitable organisations.
The "yin yang" style of tombstone is more commonly used by Cantonese people. Such gravestones stretch outward along with the graves, and then turn inward, like the new moon. This style is in line with Lao Tzu, "all things leave behind them the obscurity (out of which they have come), and go forward to embrace the brightness (into which they have emerged), while they are harmonised by the breath of vacancy."
In 1950s, Shun Tuk Community Guild acquired a plot of burial ground at Peck San Theng. Many majies (self-combed women) participated the ceremony.
In the past, "self-combing" was a unique form of female celibacy in the Pearl River Delta. Shunde women made up the bulk of them. Self-combed women took an oath to remain single, and to avoid any form of sexual activity for the rest of their lives.
Peck San Theng has 90 locality-based associations (such as clan associations and community guilds), 30 trade-based associations (such as trade-specific groups and charitable organisations) and 140 kinship-based associations (organised by surname).
This is in keeping with traditional Chinese wisdom: When alive, serve with propriety. When dead, bury with propriety and worship with propriety.
Boey Nam Sooi initiated the establishment of Peck San Theng cemetery to bury those fellow clansmen who failed to return home. In those days, Chinese community leaders were known for supporting charitable causes in Singapore and the Straits Settlements. In 1861, Boey donated to the rebuilding of Kong Hock Keong temple in Penang.
Hoo Ah Kay was a well-respected person in the Cantonese community. Hoo used his personal influence during the land purchase for Peck San Theng cemetery to obtain a land tax exemption from the colonial government. He was appointed as a Justice of the Peace and assisted the colonial government to settle gang disputes. He also held the positions of Consul-General of China, Japan and Russia. Prior to the establishment of Peck San Theng cemetery, Hoo was involved in the set-up of Loke Yah Teng cemetery in Bukit Ho Swee (1840) with Chen Jiayun and He Yayan.
Ng Sing Phang implemented the model burial system, requiring burial plots to be allocated in sequential order. He introduced the policy of co-management and chairmanship rotation among the clan associations, and supported the setting up of a community burial ground for Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital at Pavilion 2. Ng co-founded the Hoi Thin Amateur Dramatic Association with other Cantonese community leaders, and was a member of the Shandong Relief Fund committee set up by Tan Kah Kee. He was the director of Yeung Ching School and co-founder of the Chinese High School. He was appointed as a Justice of the Peace and a committee member of Poh Leung Kuk (Society for the Protection of Women and Children) and the Chinese Advisory Board.
Yow Ngan Pan oversaw the inaugural Wanyuan shenghui (Salvation Ritual) during his tenure as the chairman of Peck San Theng cemetery. The cemetery required funds to purchase land, build infrastructure and manage its daily operation. Thus, the event became a major fund-raising project. Yow had an illustrious business career, serving as a director of the Straits Steamship Co. Ltd, co-founder of Kwong Yik Bank and a director of Lee Wah Bank. He was appointed as a Justice of the Peace, and a committee member of Poh Leung Kuk and the Chinese Advisory Board. He was also the co-founder of Yeung Ching School and Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital.
Xinhui clansmen were engaged in the trading of tobacco, sundries and soy sauce. They established the companies Kwong Hong, Choo Kong Lan, Choo U Lan, Choo Foo Lan, Loh Kee Seng, Loh Chee Seng and Tung Tuck at Telok Ayer, together forming ‘the seven entrepreneurs of Market Street’. The seven entrepreneurs donated huge amount of money to Peck San Theng cemetery for temple and road repair, and were actively involved in the establishment of Thong Chai Medical Institution.
Boey Ah Sam, also known as Boey Sam or Zhanxuan, was the chairman who developed Peck San Theng cemetery. Boey, together with Tan Keong Saik, Tan Jiak Kim, Seah Liang Seah and others, was appointed as a member of the Chinese Advisory Board in 1890. He owned a pepper and gambier plantation and two harbours in Batu Pahat, Johor, and contributed generously to the society.
Wong Ah Fook was an active philanthropist in Singapore and Johor Bahru. He donated the New Pavilion 5 (Wong Fook Hill) to Peck San Theng cemetery and reserved a burial plot for himself on Wong Fook Hill. He was the co-founder of Yeung Ching School and Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital, and signed a 99-year lease with the colonial government to acquire the hospital site. Wong served as the hospital’s first president and chairman.
Peck Shan Ting School was one of those Chinese schools established in 1936, providing free education for the residence. Funds were raised from Wanyuan Shenghui and donations to support the school.
Peck Shan Ting School was incorporated into the national education system after 1957. Like other Chinese public schools, it became a government-aided school. The school eventually closed in 1981 – a period whereby many Chinese schools retired from Singapore’s education scene.
During the Battle of Singapore, 3 divisions from the Japanese 25th Army invaded from 3 principal routes and advanced towards the city along the Jurong, Bukit Timah and Thomson Line. Peck San Theng cemetery was one of the battlefields along Thomson Line and the fighting concluded within a day or two.
Peck San Theng cemetery was perceived as a blessed place and a safe refuge by the Chinese community. When Japanese aircraft bombed Chinatown, many residents sought refuge at Peck San Theng cemetery. Families living in other districts, from various dialect groups, also moved to the cemetery at this time. The Samsui women who lived at Upper Chin Chew Street took lorry rides to Peck San Theng cemetery. They returned to the city when the Japanese Occupation ended on 15 August 1945.
日据时期，人民在艰苦中如常生活，表现出极大的勇气。Loh Weng Fatt 和Wong Ah Loi结婚时为“2604年”。2604年是日本天皇年，实为1944年。
During the Japanese Occupation, people tried to lead an ordinary life despite the hardships. Loh Weng Fatt and Wong Ah Loi registered their marriage in the year ‘2604’. The year is counted based on the Japanese imperial year system which, according to the Gregorian Calendar, should be 1944.
日军沿着布莱德路（Braddell Road）袭击，驻守在“90山头”（Hill 90）的第二剑桥郡步兵营（2nd Cambridgeshire Regiment）跟日军背水一战，双方伤亡惨重。
From 13 to 15 February 1942, the 2nd Battalion of the Cambridgeshire Regiment, 5th Royal Norfolk Regiment and 5th Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment were engaged in a battle with the Japanese Imperial Guard Division at Peck San Theng cemetery.
On 15 February, 1942, Singapore fell to the Japanese and was renamed Syonan-To (meaning ‘Light of the South’). Hill 90 was one of the battle fields in Peck San Theng. It is where Raffles Institution sit today.