Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Digging into the past..in Singapore.
Well, that depends very much on where you are digging ( the location ) and how far down you are prepared to dig. Perhaps, the size and expanse of the dig will play an important part too.
If given a chance Unk Dicko would have loved to be an archaeologist or something close to that.
Whatever is above land we can see. But what lies buried deeper under the earth beneath us, even as we walk over it, will always remain a mystery.
It is this desire to uncover the unknown or hidden secrets that is quite a compelling attraction of archaeology.
In 1964, racial riots erupted over Singapore. To curb the racial clashes, the government acted swiftly. Police were patrolling the streets and a curfew was imposed. The curfew was only lifted for a short period those initial days for people to buy necessities.
It was boring as we were all prevented from going out.
We had a small garden in our home in Geylang. I decided to do a little digging with just a spade...to kill time.
What did I find precisely ?
Three different things...the complete skeletal remains of our early family cat,
some Straits Settlements coins and the most interesting discovery of all..the headstones or tombstones found in Muslim graves. They were very old, not new. As soon as I discovered that there were a couple of such stones..I stopped digging, showed my father and other family members the artifacts, and replaced them before closing the dig. My father had also uncovered such headstones in earlier years when he was doing some work there.
I think Siang Lim Park where we used to lived, was in some parts, a very early Muslim burial ground. No human remains were found, only tombstones.
The younger generation may not really know that Bishan housing estate was a huge Chinese burial ground not that long ago.
Some of my relatives were buried there...including my dearest younger little toddler brother ( I loved him most deeply) who passed away 50 years ago.