Places in Singapore with a dark past


The Chinese cemetery in Orchard Road had 25,000 to 30,000 graves which were cleared in the 1950s. PHOTO: ST FILE

Did you know that parts of Singapore’s most famous shopping belt sit on former graveyards?

Where Ion Orchard and Ngee Ann City now stand was a cemetery called Tai Shan Ting. In 1845, it was acquired by Ngee Ann Kongsi, an association representing the Teochew community, according to newspaper reports .

Bounded by Orchard, Paterson and Grange roads, the cemetery had 25,000 to 30,000 graves which were cleared in the 1950s.

Dhoby Ghaut MRT station, built in the 1980s, sits on the site of a former Jewish cemetery.

Today, the 2.53km Orchard Road, which got its name from the fruit orchards in the area until the turn of the 20th century, is a major tourist destination and retail hub, boasting glitzy malls.

Ms Lu Minru, 44, managing director of public relations firm 37 Communications, whose office has been in Ngee Ann City for the last six years, says: “I chose this place as it is very convenient to meet clients and media partners, who are mostly located in town.

“I’m not affected by the area’s dark past as I’m not superstitious.”



The graves at Peck San Theng (above) cemetery were exhumed in the 1980s to make way for the development of Bishan New Town. PHOTO: KWONG WAI SIEW PECK SAN THENG

This is one of the most sought-after residential estates, associated with million-dollar HDB flats and some of the top schools in Singapore, including Raffles Institution and Catholic High.

But before the distinctive red-brick housing blocks sprang up, Bishan was the site of a 155ha Chinese cemetery called Peck San Theng (jade hill pavilion in Cantonese), which was founded in 1870as a burial ground for Hakka and Cantonese immigrants.

The graves were exhumed in the 1980s to make way for the development of Bishan New Town. The area now has a bustling shopping centre and is a public transport hub.

Mr Rickson Chng, 45, a bachelor who has lived in Bishan for 31 years and is the director of food company Ally McBean’s Food Supply, shrugs off Bishan’s past. He says: “I’m not superstitious. If you’ve done nothing wrong, what’s there to fear?

“When I was younger, there were some areas in Bishan that I’d avoid at night. But now I don’t. I’m so used to this place already.”



This regular concert venue was a burial ground for Europeans here in the 19th century, according to Singapore Infopedia.

Used in the 1820s, the cemetery was located on the lower slopes of Fort Canning Hill.

More than 600 burials – a third were for Chinese Christians – took place there between 1822 and 1865. The last burial was in 1868.

Prominent people buried there included Sir Jose D’Almeida Carvalho, the Portuguese consul- general and one of the earliest European merchants here, and Irish architect George Drumgoole Coleman, who designed many roads and buildings, including the bridge named after him that links Hill Street and New Bridge Road.

In 1953, the Committee for the Preservation of Historic Sites here announced that the cemetery would be turned into a park.

By 1954, most of the gravestones, memorial and inscription plaques were removed and set in the cemetery’s walls. A number of the tombstones and statues were set in the garden of St Gregory’s Armenian Church nearby.

Today, the area is part of Fort Canning Park and regularly hosts concerts, outdoor film screenings, plays and carnivals.



Pulau Blakang Mati (above) was the previous name for Sentosa. It meant “behind death” in Malay and could refer to the early piracy and bloodshed nearby. PHOTO: ST FILE

The resort island, one of Singa- pore’s star attractions, used to be called Pulau Blakang Mati, which means “behind death” in Malay.

Singapore Infopedia, the National Library Board’s electronic encyclopaedia, says the name could refer to the early piracy and bloodshed nearby. Another account says the island was the “paradise of warrior spirits”, whose bodies were entombed on an adjacent island.

Serapong Golf Course was previously a beach, where about 300 corpses were washed ashore during the Japanese Occupation, according to newspaper reports.

These were reportedly Chinese civilians hurled into the sea by Japanese soldiers and shot as part of Operation Sook Ching, to eliminate people in the Chinese community who were anti- Japanese.

In the 1970s, the Government started developing the island as a tourist attraction . In 1972, it was renamed Sentosa, which means “peace and tranquillity” in Malay.

It is now home to 17 hotels, two golf courses, a 3.2km-long beach, and attractions such as Fort Siloso, Siloso Beach, Madame Tussauds Singapore and integrated resort Resorts World Sentosa, which runs the theme park Universal Studios Singapore.

In the financial year of 2014/ 2015, a total of 19.4 million people visited the island.

Says businessman Arthur Loh, 47, who has played at Serapong Golf Course for the last eight years: “I know about Sentosa’s dark past. But when you are playing golf, which is in the daytime anyway, you are so focused on the game that you don’t think about such things.”




This quiet beach at the end of Punggol Road, near Punggol jetty, was one of the killing fields during the Japanese Occupation.

So many people died there that it was described in the newspapers as “Singapore’s slaughter beach”.

On Feb 28, 1942, about 400 Chinese civilians were reportedly shot there by Japanese auxiliary military police.

Since then, human remains have occasionally been found on the beach. A 1998 article reported that a skull with two gold teeth, and parts of an arm and leg, were found by a man digging for earthworms to use as fishing bait.

Punggol Beach is on the National Heritage Board’s list of historic sites. The area is known for The Punggol Settlement, a two-storey food enclave opened in 2014 that features restaurants such as House of Seafood and White Restaurant.

Mr Francis Tan, 40, owner of Thai restaurant Trunk At Bay at the enclave, says: “As a kid, I came to the beach with my family to look for clams and collect sea-shells. I heard people had died here, but it was only when I became an adult that I understood what had happened.

“I don’t let the dark past get to me. I chose this place for my res- taurant because it has a beautiful view of the sea.”



The island is used by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) for training. Recruits who have trained there would have heard ghost stories about the island.

One puzzling incident took place on May 24, 1983, when 18-year-old private Tham Wai Keong was found dead after a 16km route march.

A news report said his platoon was at the tail-end of a 136-strong contingent which started its march at 4pm the day before. They returned to camp at 8.10pm and Tham was reported to be missing an hour later.

His body was found the next day about 5km from camp and 20m from the route march track. His full pack and uncapped water bottle were found in a nearby bush. There were no signs of a struggle.

A coroner’s report said he had died from a ruptured stomach.

An open verdict was recorded, but investigators did not rule out the possibility that he might have been hit by an object such as an entrenching tool, which was found near the body.

There have been other reports of soldiers dying from causes such as viral infections, during or after military training.

The island houses the Basic Military Training Centre, which was inaugurated in 1996. Comprising four schools, it trains most SAF recruits.

Mr Jonathan Ng, 22, who did 19 weeks of military training on the island in 2013, says he was aware that people had died there in the past, but he did not know the details.

Now a part-time sales adviser, he says: “Personally, I feel it is better for the past to be kept secret as some people might be more sensitive to freaky or unexplainable events and may start imagining things when they are staying on the island. The past may affect them mentally.”



The Old Changi Hospital in Halton Road, left vacant since 1997, is reputedly one of Singapore’s most spooky spots. PHOTO: ST FILE

The site of Changi Beach Park is believed to be one of the first massacre sites during Operation Sook Ching, a military operation against those in the Chinese community who were anti- Japanese during the Japanese Occupation.

On Feb 20, 1942, Japanese firing squads killed 66 Chinese male civilians at the water’s edge. They were bound by ropes in rows of eight to 12 and instructed to walk towards the sea, according to the National Heritage Board’s website.

Japanese soldiers mowed them down with machine guns as they reached the shallow waters. Many died on-site, but some managed to swim away or hide underwater as the ropes binding them loosened.

A memorial plaque has been placed at the site in remembrance of the Chinese massacred in Singapore during the Japanese Occupation.

Changi houses the Old Changi Hospital in Halton Road, which has been named on the Web as one of Singapore’s most spooky spots.

Built in 1935, the hospital was used as a prison camp during World War II. The Japanese secret police, or Kempeitai, were rumoured to have used it as a torture chamber.

Left vacant since 1997, the one- time military hospital has long had a reputation for being haunted.

But not every part of Changi has a dark past. The area is home to the world-class Changi Airport, which serves more than 100 international airlines flying to about 250 cities in 60 countries. It has been consistently voted the world’s best airport.

The Changi Business Park at Changi South hosts companies, software enterprises, and research and development institutes.

Professor Brian Farrell, 55, head of the history department at the National University of Singapore, says: “Changi has a rich history. It is not surprising that beliefs and folklore have developed around it. In general, a place’s dark past has a lingering effect on the present, but it really depends on who you talk to.

“In the case of Changi, a historian can see it as an important site where sad events once took place. But to a young person, it could just mean a nice beach and a ferry ride to Pulau Ubin.”



Bedok Reservoir. PHOTO: ST FILE


The reservoir saw an unprecedented spate of deaths in 2011 and 2012 and it was labelled online as a “suicide destination”.

The first death was reported on June 20, 2011, when the decomposed lower half of Chinese national Lin Xiao, 23, was found.

News reports said the apprentice mechanic was depressed after coming to Singapore and had told his mother he would die by jumping into the river.

On Sept 22 that year, the bodies of Madam Tan Sze Sze, 31, and her three-year-old son Jerald Chin, were found floating there. She was said to be distressed over a custody battle with her estranged husband.

Over the next year, at least five other bodies were reported to have been found in the reservoir.

Representatives from the Inter- Religious Organisation held a prayer session at the reservoir in 2011, initiated by former foreign minister George Yeo, who was a Member of Parliament for the area.

In January 2012, PUB installed four CCTV cameras at the reservoir, which is surrounded by a park. It also stepped up patrols, ensured that the lamps were fully lit throughout the night and installed signboards with helpline information for the Samaritans Of Singapore .

The reservoir is a popular spot for water sports such as wakeboarding, sailing, canoeing and kayaking. It was also a venue for the 28th Sea Games in June last year.

Software solution architect Ranjith Vijayan, 37, who trained at the park thrice a week for last year’s Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore, says: “I run alone, sometimes after midnight. I’m not afraid. I like that it is calm and quiet and I can reflect on my day as I run.

“I’m not scared of ghosts, only of stray dogs.”



The collapse of the six-storey Hotel New World building (above) in 1986 killed 33 people. PHOTO: ST FILE

This is the site of Hotel New World, which collapsed on March 15, 1986, and killed 33 people. It was one of the worst tragedies in post-war Singapore.

The six-storey building at the junction of Serangoon Road and Owen Road collapsed due to structural faults and sub-standard construction. The hotel occupied the four upper floors, and a nightclub and a bank were on the lower floors.

News reports say that at about 11am that day, some occupants heard loud sounds and felt a few tremors, but continued going about their business. At about 11.25am, the building fell, shrouding the area in plumes of dust. In less than a minute, it was reduced to rubble and not a single wall was left standing.

A rescue operation with more than 500 staff from the Singapore Civil Defence Force, Fire Service and Singapore Armed Forces, as well as foreign experts, lasted four days, and 17 survivors were pulled out from the rubble.

In 1994, the seven-storey Fortuna Hotel opened on the site and still stands today. Its website says it has 104 rooms and houses an Indian restaurant and a branch of Western Union. Previous reports say the hotel was owned by property company Chng Holdings, which is understood to be defunct.

Property checks show that the hotel is now owned by Fortuna City, a hotel operation and management company.

Ms Aisha Naz, 20, who works at Star Tours, which is located in the hotel building, says she knows about the site’s dark past, but is not bothered by it.

“It doesn’t affect us. Most of our customers are foreigners and don’t know what happened.”





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VIDEO: Holy spirit scared of handcuffs

At a temple in Thailand, a woman claims that she is possessed by a holy spirit as she sits in a meditating posture and makes strange moves to draw attention.

A monk tells the people standing around the woman that she is not possessed and that she is trying to deceive them.

But the woman insists she is possessed.

A man then approaches her and asks for her hands. The woman suddenly stands up and returns to a normal state as she sees he is carrying a pair of handcuffs.

The woman says she is still possessed but the holy spirit needs to make a phone call to her daughter. The man tells her that the spirit can make the phone call at the police station.

The woman quickly walks out of the temple.

The incident was caught on camera and posted on social media on Sunday by Ohozaa Clip.


Clarification of OCH being transformed to Hotel

Pertaining to the blogs and social medias that claimed that Old Changi Hospital (OCH)  being transformed to a Hotel.

The said Hotel address is at 33 Hendon Road vs the actual OCH (see picture below).

No doubt the OCH still exists, SPI likes to advice the general public that OCH remains a restricted area and no trepassing.   Thank you for your attention.










Transylvania’s Haunted Forest, Known as Romania’s ‘Bermuda Triangle’


Hoia Baciu (Hoia Forest) in Romania. (Bortescristian via Compfight)

The universe is full of mysteries that challenge our current knowledge. In “Beyond Science” Epoch Times collects stories about these strange phenomena to stimulate the imagination and open up previously undreamed of possibilities. Are they true? You decide.

When most people think of Transylvania, the first thought that comes to mind is Dracula. But, setting Vlad Tepes (the person considered the model for Dracula) aside, the area’s majestic yet notorious landscapes are home to perhaps the world’s most haunted forest.

The forest in question is the Hoia Baciu forest located outside the city of Cluj Napoca in the historical region of Transylvania, Romania.

17th century view of Cluj-Napoca. Painting by Egidius van der Rye, engraving by Joris Hoefnagel (1542–1600). (Wikimedia Commons)

17th century view of Cluj-Napoca. Painting by Egidius van der Rye, engraving by Joris Hoefnagel (1542–1600). (Wikimedia Commons)

The area first gained notoriety outside the region when in 1968 biologist Alexandru Sift who, while on a scientific expedition to the forest, snapped a photo of a disc shaped UFO. The photo fueled ufologist interest across the world.

However, the forest is known for much more than just UFO related phenomenon. It is known as the “Bermuda Triangle of Transylvania” among the ghost hunting community and among paranormal investigators, such as Dr. Adrian Patrut, president of the Romanian Society of Parapsychology.

“Some experts believe that we are dealing with a genuine Romanian ‘Bermuda Triangle.’ The area certainly can be certified as such, especially with the exceptional video and photos, along with testimonies of researchers who studied it for decades,” said Dr. Adrian Patrut in the show “Science and Knowledge (TVR Cluj), according to

Visitors to the area tell of intense feelings of anxiety. Moreover, some who have ventured off into the mysterious woods have emerged with unexplained rashes, scratches, burns, and other effects like migraines, nausea, vomiting, and even missing time.

To make matters more menacing, some of the forest trees are twisted and distorted misshapen like those depicted in old fairy tales. This landscape adds to the anxiety experienced by visitors as they enter.

In one particular area of the forest is a clearing were no trees grow. Some paranormal investigators believe this area to be especially high in activity.

Many locals believe the site is haunted and that if they enter, they will not return. In fact, according to legends of the area, the forest is named after a local shepherd who, along with his 200 sheep, disappeared.

Other legends include that spirits of murdered villagers have been trapped in the forest and are unable to move on. Visitors to the forest often hear disembodied voices and sometimes witness disembodied heads floating amid the trees.

Dr. Patrut has been studying the site since the 1970s, but unfortunately, no conclusions about the forest’s strange atmosphere have come to light.

Hoia Forest and Grigorescu district, Cluj-Napoca, June 2005. (Roamata/Wikimedia Commons)

Hoia Forest and Grigorescu district, Cluj-Napoca, June 2005.
(Roamata/Wikimedia Commons)

In recent years the site has attracted tourists to the area seeking either ghostly encounters or spiritual experiences, according to the Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures,” a show which did a short stint on the mystery forest (see video clip above).

Today even the legends remain buried in the shroud of campfire stories. However, the lasting impression of this forest seems to the consistency of the occurrences and the large amount of photographic evidence.

Visit the Epoch Times Beyond Science page on Facebook, and subscribe to the Beyond Science newsletter to continue exploring the new frontiers of science!

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Hungry Ghost Festival

Hungry Ghost Festival

While in the West they have to celebrate Halloween, the Chinese also have their own version for ghost, namely the “Hungry Ghost Festival”. Unlike the West, Chinese celebrate the Festival for the entire month by offering food and prayers to the ghosts. Most Chinese today may know a bit about the procedures of the festival but very few know the story behind the festival. The following is the legend that is associated with it:
As with many cool events, the origins of Ghost Month remain a mystery. Buddhists believe the legend that a man named Mu Lian, who was a student of Buddha went to see his departed mother by his mystical power. It was said that Mu Lian’s mother was in sin and she was punished to the realm of the hungry ghost when she died. When Mu Lian saw her, she was in hunger and great suffering. Mu Lian was deeply saddened and he tried to feed her with some rice in bowl. However , the rice turned into a charcoal immediately when his mother put the rice into the mouth. Mu Lian was very depressed and left because he could not do anything to help his mother.

Mu Lian went back to seek the help of his master, Buddha to release his mother rom those suffering. Buddha told him that the only way to save her from salvation was to offer fruits and vegetables in yulan bowls to the monks on 15th day of the 7th lunar calendar. The monks would requite to all the Sangha members in ten directions. It is said that the Sangha members were holding pure and complete precepts on that day. Their meritorious power can help the donors’ parents out of the great suffering in hell .


Later on, Mu Lian saved his mother from the suffering and he asked Buddha if his followers could do the same practice. Buddha advised that all the followers should have the practice too. Nowadays, the legend of Mu Lian has become a significant day to remember the filial piety of their ancestors.


Taoists believe that during the month of Hungry Ghost festival, the gate of hell is opened and all the hungry ghosts go roaming to the world. During the whole 7th lunar month, the Chinese celebrate the festival by holding religious ceremonies at home, temples associations and guilds. Sometimes prayers and food are offered at street corners and roadsides for the hungry ghosts. It is a belief that the practice will prevent the wandering souls from entering their homes and stay out of troubles. The Enlightenment Ceremony is held during the period to exempt the souls of ancestors from suffering and pain.

The best places to watch how the traditional rites are practised in Singapore are in the soul of the heartlands, where fellow believers congregate to burn incense sticks and present their offerings in the form of prayer, fruit such as Mandarin oranges, food such as roasted suckling pig, bowls of rice and occasionally a local Chinese cake made especially for the occasion. It is not uncommon to see various forms of tentage set up in open fields during this period, for the Chinese also believe in entertaining the spirits with boisterous live wayang and getai performances not only depicting tales of the divine gods and goddesses, but also bawdy stand-up comedy with a local twang, song and dance numbers in the various Chinese dialects and even sensually acrobatic pole dancing by felinely lithe spandex clad dancers.

Everyone is welcome to watch the show as long as you don’t sit at the front row, which is reserved for the “special guests”. The festival is so widely-practised here that special joss paper bins have been set up for believers to burn their paper money in, believed to translate into great fortune in the afterlife. Small altars can also be seen outside many homes, both on private property and in public housing areas.

From grand feasts costing thousands of dollars to a mélange of puppetry, opera and singing performances, the various ways with which the Chinese appease these roaming spirits is fascinating to watch, these festivities usually take place across the various neighbourhoods like Chinatown, Redhill and Geylang — so check these out if you’re feeling a little adventurous and want to lose yourself in a truly local experience.

Date to start of Hungry Ghost Month: 26 Jul 2014, 23:59hrs, Chinese timing is 2300hrs


Crop Circle Baffles Villagers in Southern Russia


The Krasnodar region is no stranger to crop circles and accounts for 40 percent of all of those recorded in Russia.

The appearance of a mysterious crop circle in a southern Russian village has lead some residents to conclude aliens must have paid them a visit.

The unusual marking, about 40 meters in diameter, appeared in a sunflower field on a farm in the Krasnodar region last Thursday, local news site Svet Mayakov reported.

A video uploaded Sunday to the popular Russian social network Vkontakte shows the inside of the crop formation, which consists of a series of squares and rectangles joined together in a seemingly random pattern.

It was not immediately clear what caused the marking, though one resident told Channel Nine television that villagers had seen an unidentified object rising from the field, omitting a beam of light five meters in diameter.
A video camera located on the farm did not pick up any unusual activity, and no one was seen entering the field when the marking is believed to have appeared, news site Svet Mayakov reported.

The Krasnodar region is no stranger to crop circles and accounts for 40 percent of all of those recorded in Russia. A group of amateur enthusiasts convened in the area just last month to collect evidence of the unusual phenomenon.

But there are some who doubt the supernatural aspect of the markings.

“Firstly, I saw a whole swarm of insects and lizards in the fields,” alien-hunter Sergei Frolov told the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper.

“Secondly, the plants themselves are broken and scattered in different directions, and in real crop circles they bend at the same angle. Furthermore, there are traces of human footprints in several places in the field.”

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