Saturday, August 22, 2009

where's the oldest malay cemetery?


this old street map indicates the location (3) of the oldest malay cemetery in singapore. the mosque marked on the map is the malabar mosque located at the corner of victoria street and jalan sultan. (the malabar muslims were originally from the southern state of kerala in india.)


the oldest malay cemetery is found behind this mosque, which is undergoing some renovation. it is at the junction of victoria street and sultan road. there is another larger cemetery ground on the other side of jalan kubor (kubor is malay for graveyard).

some of the graves are so old that trees have grown out of them. although most of the graves appear unattended, there are some that have been visited and the cloth wrapping the grave markers changed.

my fellow walker had mistakenly thought that ngah ibrahim - one of those implicated in the murder of j w w birch - had been buried in this old cemetery. i made a check on the internet and found out that he was buried at the masjid al-junied along bencoolen street. his remains were taken back and buried in perak in 2006.




this is the oldest malay cemetery on the island. it dates from 1819 - 20, when sultan husain mohammed shah and his followers settled in and around the area lying between arab street and jalan sultan. but since there was already a small village on the coast at this point, the kampong gelam graveyard, may, therefore have been used before this date. sultan husian himself died in melaka (on 5 september 1835) but a number of his relatives were buried at kampong gelam.

12 comments:

Uncle Phil said...

I can still vividly remember walking past the mosque and cemetery during my school days at Victoria School which was situated across the Rochor Canal, fifty years ago.

WW said...

I remember the cemetery at Jln Kubor too. 50 years ago, Hock Lee Bus No. 3 used to have a terminus at Jln Kubor. I also vaguely remember an infamous criminal involved in a gunfight with the police at that cemetery. Can someone who remembers it more clearly care to enlighten me?

yg said...

phil, although the foundation stone for the mosque was laid in the 50s, it was not completed until the 60s. so, you would have walked past it in the early 60s. but, the cemetery had been around for a longer time.

yg said...

ww, i checked with my friend. he also remembered buses stopping there but he could not recall reading/hearing about a gunfight at the cemetery.

Anonymous said...

In Dec 1972, the Hassan Brothers, Wahab and Mustapha, on the run, were surrounded by police at the cemetery. Finding no way out, Wahab shot dead his brother, Mustapha, and then shot himself in the head.

yg said...

anonymous, thank you so much for this information.

nah said...

Looking at your old map, I am reminded of Kota Raja Malay School which was opposite the mosque. In the early years, this school was famous for their football, and many football teams were trounced by their style of play. There was a bit of history that Victoria School functioned in the premises of Kota Raja Malay School.

Anonymous said...

The graves in this area i believed dated way before Sultan Hussein became the sultan of singapore and also before the Malabar mosque was built in this area, i've heard there used to be a mosque which was used by the bugis ppl, and maybe the site of malabar mosque was the original location.

yg said...

hi anonymous, the graves were there even before the arrival of sir stamford raffles. i don't know about the mosque for the bugis.

Sunshine For Barking Moons said...

Hi all, where is it recorded that the graves were there before Sultan Hussein arrived?

pitt bull said...

Who know about cemetery of haji usman (osman) banjar history at the location?

Anonymous said...

I know abt it..