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Home > Horror News > Local Horror News > Praying At Wrong Grave
Praying At Wrong Grave
By: RSS/News Feeds

FOR 27 YEARS, HE’S BEEN PRAYING AT WHAT HE THOUGHT WAS HIS MOTHER’S GRAVE. NOW THE PLOT THICKENS…

Article by Low Ching Ling

His mother’s name and photograph mark the grave he’s been praying for 27 years.

But according to cemetery records, said Mr Ong Eng Wah, the plot belongs to a man, Mr Kiang Long Tang.

The grave carrying the man’s name and picture is further along the same row of graves – in a plot that records say belongs to Mr Ong’s mother.

It all came to light when Mr Ong ordered the exhumation of his mother Madam Tan Ah Tian’s remains, so that she could be cremated and “reunited” with his father, Mr Ong Hoe Say, who was exhumed in October and whose ashes are at Seh Ong Charity temple.

It had been the couple’s wish to be together in death.

But the bizarre plot twist unravelled the 63 year old retiree’s plans.

WHICH IS WRONG?
What is going on? Was it a grave mix up that occurred 27 years ago? Or are cemetery records wrong?

Mr Ong’s father died in 1971 and was buried in Bukit Brown Chinese Cemetery.

When his mother died six years later, there was no longer any room at Bukit Brown. So she was buried five days later at Chua Chu Kang Chinese cemetery.

In September, Mr Ong approached Direct Singapore Funeral Services to exhume his parents’ remains.

Mr Ong told The New Paper on Sunday: “The cemeteries are too far from my home. I wanted to cremate the remains and put the urns at the Seh Ong Charity temple so it’s more convenient for me to go there during Qing Ming.

The exhumation contractor and Mr Ong went to the cemetery office to get exhumation permits, issued by the National Enviroment Agency (NEA).

That was when they discovered the confusion over the two graves.

Madam Tan’s permit was for plot number 3158, but the grave had Mr Kiang Long Tang’s name and photograph.

And grave 3208, which Mr Ong has been visiting for 27 years and which he thought was his mother’s belongs to Mr Kiang.

Mr Ong said: “He died two days after my mother did and was buried on the same day as she was.”

NEA confirmed that records showed Madam Tan was buried at plot 3158 and Mr Kiang at plot 3208.

A spokeman said: “The plot assigned to her was marked with a concrete marker bearing the number 3158, which was buried in the plot. This same plot number was also reflected in the burial certificate issued to her family. The master record kept by the Chua Chu Kang cemetery office also shoed she was buried in plot 3158.”

Mr Roland Tay of Direct said: “We can’t exhume as we may be digging up the wrong remains. We always check the cemetery records with the grave we’re hired to exhume to make sure they tally.”

The doubt in Mr Ong’s mind remains.

“I’m very upset,” he lamented. “I could have been praying to the worng person all these years.”

UNMARKED STONE

But how could a mistake, if any, have occurred?

Mr Ong said an officer at the cemetery office told him there were 19 burials in all -confirm by NEA- on the day Madam Tan and Mr Kiang were laid to rest.

Mr Ong, the eldest son in the family, said he and his siblings were present at his mother’s burial in 1977. He remembered that the tombstone was unmarked.

In keeping with Chinese custom, the family returned to the cemetery to pay their respects 100 days later and simply went to the one with his mother’s name and photograph.

Since then, he and his wife have visited the grave every Qing Ming festival.

Mr Ong believes the only way is to find Mr Kiang’s family and get them to agree to an exhumation.

The officer at the cemetery office told him to wait until Qing Ming next year to see if he would bump into the family at the cemetery, Mr Ong said.

But the festival is a month long, and Mr Ong said he can’t keep watch at the cemetery every day.

He did manage to get the address of Mr Kiang’s family, as listed in the cemetery records, from the officer. But when he visited, he found the flat (and most of the other units) had been vacated as the block had been chosen by HDB for Selective En Bloc Redevelopment.

At the cemetery office later, Mr Ong was again told by the officer to wait for the Qing Ming festival.

A caretaker there said: “Most of the graves are usually visited by families.”

The NEA, meanwhile, said it is checking if the tombstone maker for the graves of Madam Tan and Mr Kiang had mixed up the tombstone.

“In 1977, the erection of tombstones wasn’t regulated, and it was left to the families and the tombstone makers to ensure the tombstones were erected correctly,” said the spokeman.

But since 1978 “tombstone makers are required to apply for an inspection. Since then, all tombstones erected will be inspected to ensure compliance with the regulations, and at the same time, the correct location of the tombstonewould also be ascertained.”

Mr Ong lamented: “I don’t know what to do now. I still hope the family reads the article and finds out I’m looking for them.”

In the meantime, he’s not sure if he’ll still visit the graves as he has been doing for years, during the next Qing Ming festival.

“I’m not sure it’s my mother I’m praying to.”

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