Choa Chu Kang Cemetery Exhumation Programme Phase 7

Dreadful news

The graves of my late paternal grandmother, maternal grandmother and mother had to be exhumed to make way for Tengah Air Base expansion under Choa Chu Kang Cemetery Exhumation Programme Phase 7.

News reports by mainstream media

Moving my late ancestors to their new resting place

My maternal uncle made a wise decision right from the start; he engaged a private contractor to exhume my maternal grandmother’s grave on 6 June 2018.

Initially my family opted for our ancestors’ (paternal grandmother and mother) graves to be exhumed by The National Environment Agency (NEA).

After 2019 Qingming, one private contractor showed me these photographs of graves that were exhumed by NEA.

Clearly NEA exhumation is completely different from private exhumation.

Subsequently, I learned that NEA had changed the exhumation process for Choa Chu Kang Cemetery Exhumation Programme Phase 7.

To ensure the safety of the grave digger and allow him to retrieve our ancestors’ remains respectfully, my family finally engaged a private contractor to carry out the exhumation on 12 June 2019.

I shared the above photographs with my cousins. One cousin did likewise; switched from NEA exhumation to private exhumation for her late father’s grave.

Whereas another cousin made a successful appeal (through a MP) for NEA to remove the entire grave structure/monument and open the coffin fully to retrieve the remains of her late mother-in-law in May 2019.

As the private contractor found it quite unbelievable that my cousin had made a successful appeal, I gave her the tomb details. Out of curiosity, she visited the site and took the photograph below—the entire grave structure/monument was removed by NEA.

Sharing with like-minded next of kin (NOK)

Incidentally, I wrote a letter to the Straits Times Forum Editor to share “How graves are exhumed by NEA” but it was not selected for publication in May 2019.

Back then, I reckoned many NOK did not know about the change of NEA exhumation process for CCK Phase 7 exhumation.

As word gets around, I believe more people have become familiar with it by now.

For those NOK who do not feel comfortable with NEA exhumation, it is already too late to apply for private exhumation (application closed on 30 September 2019).

However, there is still hope; they can contact NEA or approach their MP for help.

Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA)

Being a firm believer in Confucian values, I am profoundly disturbed by NEA's current exhumation process.

Finally I met up with three NEA's representatives on 30 December 2019 to share my thoughts. After the meeting, the matter still weighed heavily on me.

This webpage serves to reach out to those NOK who might not be aware of the real situation and are assuming that NEA will remove the entire grave structure/monument and open the coffin fully to retrieve their loved ones' remains.

As a community-spirited and law-abiding Singaporean, I wrote to NEA on 2 January 2020 to inform them about the posting of this webpage.

Posted on 2 January 2020

Updated on 16 June 2020

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