Bidadari Cemetery

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Bidadari Cemetery
Gate of the former Bidadari Cemetery, Bidadari Garden, Singapore - 20121008-02.jpg
The gate of the former cemetery, now located in a small memorial garden called Bidadari Garden at 10 Mount Vernon
Bidadari Cemetery is located in Singapore
Bidadari Cemetery
Location within Singapore
Details
Established 1908
Location Singapore
Country Singapore
Coordinates Coordinates: 1°20′7.53″N 103°52′19.21″E / 1.3354250°N 103.8720028°E / 1.3354250; 103.8720028
Type Defunct
Find a Grave Bidadari Cemetery

Bidadari Cemetery (Chinese: 比达达利坟场, Malay: Perkuburan Bidadari) is a defunct cemetery in Singapore. There were two sections: the Muslim section was at the base of Mount Vernon, bounded by Upper Aljunied Road, Upper Serangoon Road, and Bartley Road; the Christian section was across Upper Aljunied Road from the Muslim section, and bounded by Upper Serangoon Road as well.

History[edit]

The site of Bidadari Cemetery used to be the Istana residence of one of the wives of Johore Sultan Abubakar's wives.[1]

The word bidadari means "fairy" and is probably derived from the Sanskrit word widyadari, which means a nymph[2] of India's heaven or a houri of paradise. The bidadari are depicted as kindly fairies and genies that preside over the union of flowers. In the local context, the name is a reference to the beauty of the wife of Abu Bakar of Johor who had a house there. The cemetery took the name after the sultan's wife ceased to reside there. The grounds were leased to a Japanese person who built moats with typical Japanese wooden bridges and a teahouse.

Apart from being a place of remembrance, the trails inside Bidadari Cemetery used to be very popular as a running route for members of the Gurkha Contingent.

Burials were not permitted after 1972,[3] the same year that the Mount Vernon Crematorium and Columbarium was opened, which too eventually closed in 2004 due to redevelopment plans drawn up by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).[1]

Notable Burials[edit]

The cemetery was a burial site of Augustine Podmore Williams, an English sailor, on whose life writer Joseph Conrad based his novel Lord Jim. Other notable graves include:[4]

Present Day[edit]

Bidadari Cemetery is no longer in use, and most or all of the graves have been eventually exhumed between 2001 and 2004 for redevelopment in the land-scarce city-state. It was re-opened as a temporary park[5] in 2006. Woodleigh MRT Station now occupies part of the former site.[1] In late 2011, the Ministry of National Development (MND), came up with the blueprint to develop the area into a housing estate with HDB flats and private housing. Works begun in 2012 to build the houses,[6] with the first batch of BTO HDB flats expected to be ready by 2018.

The Bidadari Memorial Garden was set up at nearby Mount Vernon Road[7] to commemorate the cemetery.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Bidadari Cemetery, Singapore Infopedia.
  2. ^ Goh, Si Guim. "Twilight for Bidadari". Retrieved 16 February 2015. 
  3. ^ "Singaporeans unfazed by Bidadari's cemetery past for planned HDB estate". Retrieved 16 February 2015. 
  4. ^ Yeo, Nick. "Bidadari Cemetery". Retrieved 16 February 2015. 
  5. ^ "Bidadari Cemetery". Retrieved 16 February 2015. 
  6. ^ "Bidadari – Past, Present and Future". Ghetto Singapore. Retrieved 16 February 2015. 
  7. ^ "Bidadari Garden". Find A Grave. Retrieved 16 February 2015. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Victor R Savage, Brenda S A Yeoh (2004), Toponymics - A Study of Singapore Street Names, Eastern University Press, ISBN 981-210-364-3.