Seah Eu Chin’s final resting place is at Grave Hill. This hill was part of his plantation along Thomson Road, and the area was the Seah family’s traditional burial ground. Intrepid tomb hunters, Raymond and Charles Goh, found the tomb in November 2012 and cleared a path for others, such as Seah descendants, members of the Teochew community, and history enthusiasts, to follow.
Several Seah descendants, including Shawn Seah (the author of Seah Eu Chin – His Life & Times), have visited the tomb several times to pay their respects. In 2018, some members of the Seah family even successfully collected contributions to repaint and clean the tomb, and clear the vegetation – bringing Seah descendants together to achieve a common goal.
This is the photo-journal of Shawn’s journey to visit the tomb in October 2017.
Seah Eu Chin’s Final Resting Place
Starting from the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) along Thomson Road, we started our journey to visit the tomb at the carpark facing Grave Hill.
With MSF behind us, we walked into the forest in search of Seah Eu Chin’s tomb (according to NHB, along a path at the end of Toa Payoh West). Already, you can see development taking place – on one side there are trees, and on the other side, a construction site.
After a short hike, we reached a large clearing and there was Seah Eu Chin’s magnificent and massive tomb. A smaller altar for Tudigong (a Chinese deity, commonly known as the Earth God or Earth Lord), as part of the tomb, stood nearby. Even the smaller Tudigong altar itself was larger than some graves in neighbouring Bukit Brown Cemetery.
Seah Eu Chin’s tomb was huge. We met about a dozen history and heritage buffs who were visiting Bukit Brown Cemetery and Grave Hill – there were young and old visitors, and even at least one tourist! We had a discussion on the size of Seah’s tomb in comparison with Ong Sam Leong’s tomb in neighbouring Bukit Brown Cemetery and another discussion on whether the short walls surrounding Seah Eu Chin’s tomb comprised a larger perimeter.
We also saw the watchful guardians of Seah Eu Chin’s tomb. Despite the passing of many years, they stood alert and vigilant, silently watching over the tomb of Seah Eu Chin and his two wives, sisters of Tan Seng Poh. For context, Seah Eu Chin married Tan Meng Guet (his first wife) in 1837. Unfortunately, she passed away from smallpox a few months after their marriage. In 1838, Seah Eu Chin married her sister, Tan Meng Choo.
We paid respects to our ancestors, Seah Eu Chin and his wives. In fact, on 22 October 2017, a few days before, some members of the Singapore Seah Clan Association visited the tomb to pay their respects in the traditional custom and must have placed these joss sticks and cups on the altar.
A light drizzle began as we headed home after visiting Seah Eu Chin’s tomb. A personal reflection came to my mind: we do not need to wait for Qingming to honour and venerate our ancestors.
This was the photo-journal of Shawn’s journey to visit Seah Eu Chin’s tomb at Grave Hill. Thank you for reading.
To visit the tomb, you could retrace the steps taken in the images above.*
* The information provided is correct as at October 2017.
Copyright © 2017 by Shawn Seah
Webpage updated: 18 August 2018; 4 August 2021; 18 January 2023
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