Ong Sam Leong

Ong Sam Leong (Group 12 Grave 1)

Direction: At the ‘stop’ sign where you turned right for Chew Joo Chiat’s grave, turn left this time, and continue along the main road instead. When you see a caretaker shed (green tents) on your right, turn left and follow yellow ribbon markers uphill to Ong Sam Leong’s Grave.

Situated on the highest hill in Bukit Brown lies the gravesite of Ong Sam Leong (1857-1918) and his wife who died in 1935. This is the largest and most elaborate site in the cemetery, with intricate carvings depicting all 24 stories of Filial Piety. Its size is comparable to 10 3-room HDB flats, about 600min area. As mentioned in the introduction, at the time of Ong Sam Leong’s death, the burial place was restricted only to Hokkiens with the surname Ong.

Ong Sam Leong was a successful businessman, dealing mainly with rubber plantations and building and construction. He was also a popular member of several respectable Chinese Societies. He contributed generously to local funds during the World War I to fuel China’s war efforts. Though Ong Sam Leong received little formal education, he eventually earned a considerable fortune and status which is most clearly reflected in his luxurious gravesite.

The grave of his son, Ong Boon Tat can be found south-west of Ong Sam Leong’s grave. Ong Boon Tat was one of the co-owners of the New World Theme Park in Jalan Besar, together with the Shaw Brothers. He was also educated at Raffles Institution.

Interesting to note is the earth deity shrine, which is as big as a normal tomb. Also, there is a moat (or a depression to symbolize prosperity) before the grave which is over 15 metres long. In Chinese geomancy or fengshui, the moat represents a meandering river, and with the grave located on the inner bend of the moat, it is believed that the deceased will have good fengshui and enjoy a good afterlife. The grave is also covered in beautiful flower tiles.

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