October 24, 2011



Inspiration is a funny thing. When at the piano, all I can think of is running; and when doing a long distance run, all I can think of is playing/composing music…

I read with much disappointment that the government will be gazetting Bukit Brown Cemetery to make way for urban redevelopment. When touring europe on my grad trip in July 2009, I made it a point to visit the various graveyards and cemeteries in Italy, France and Germany, as a sort-of pilgrimage to the composers whose music I’ve played and admired. In my search, I’ve been to the graves of Stravinsky in Venice, Chopin and Bizet in Paris, Vivaldi’s in Vienna (which was exhumed so the tech university could be built), among a few others. It was purely sublime to walk along the cobbled paths and gaze at the weather-beaten graves. Some tombs were majestic, with angels guarding them, others looked like telephone booths, and still others were just tiny little slabs of marble on the ground. There were some which dated back to the 1800s, and some which were as recent as 2008, standing almost side-by-side in the same graveyard. Call it morbid if you would, but this sparked an interest in burial sites, and as I’ve discovered, each graveyard has a different story to tell.

Upon returning to Singapore, I embarked on a little project with my good friends Huazheng and Reuben, documenting the story of the Choa Chu Kang cemeteries. This humble project, by some stroke of luck I believe, made its way to be selected as the Foreign Correspondents’ Association Multimedia Journalism Prize of 2010.

Since then, I’ve wanted to carry this further, but have not found any inspiration to do so. Until now. Perhaps it’s as the saying goes, desperate times call for desperate measures, in this case desperate times calling for inspiration.

Guys, I think it’s time for a sequel.

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