S'pore funeral director, 27, explains how burials are conducted in Choa Chu Kang cemetery

Choa Chu Kang cemetery is now the only place open for burials to be conducted.

Tanya Ong | March 20, 2021, 04:06 PM

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Choa Chu Kang cemetery is now the "one and only" cemetery open for burials to be conducted in Singapore.

To share more about how exactly burials are conducted there, a YouTube video on March 19 featuring funeral director Harmony Tee hopes to demystify the process.

How bodies are buried in S'pore

Tee explained how the traditional soil burial system has evolved to a crypt burial system.

"In the past, it's just soil and the coffin is lowered into the soil before the soil is covered on top of the coffin."

Now, coffins are lowered into rectangular, concrete crypts instead of soil plots.

Harmony Funeral Care/YouTube

Soil is placed on top of the coffin, and a concrete lid placed on top to seal the crypt.

Harmony Funeral Care/YouTube

Tee revealed that this crypt burial system actually helps to manage a rather "tricky" issue: Exhuming the wrong body, or paying respects to the wrong person.

In 2019, eight families were discovered to have been paying respects to the wrong graves for 39 years, Straits Times (ST) reported.

The reason? Misaligned tombstones.

The National Environment Agency told ST that the burials were performed on a single day nearly four decades ago. The next-of-kin of one of the grave plots did not erect a headstone, and due to the misalignment, one of the headstones was found to be straddling the space over two grave plots.

Soil erosion underground resulted in grave exhumers digging up the "wrong person", Tee added.

Land-scarce Singapore

For burial plots, land is prepared by the government in a grid system, and each plot of land is "allocated".

Tee elaborated:

"Unlike in other countries where we get to choose our own plot of land (as to where we want to be buried), in Singapore, we do not have such a choice. This actually works perfectly fine for a land-scarce country like Singapore."

It costs S$940 to have one plot of burial land, and this plot has a limited leasehold of 15 years before the remains have to be exhumed and cremated.

Harmony Funeral Care/YouTube

You can see the full video here:

Top photo via Harmony Funeral Care/YouTube.