The Ying Fo Fui Kun cemetery (Chinese: 应和会管 ) at Shuang Long Shan Wu Shu Ancestral Hall is Singapore’s last remaining Hakka cemetery. The Ancestral Hall and its surrounding cemetery was established in 1887 for Yin Fo Fui Kun clansmen from Jia Ying (Chinese: 嘉应 ) prefecture in Canton, China, to have a place for burial and ancestral worship. The compound comprised of a 4.5 hectare cemetery with over 3,000 tombstones, an ancestral temple, a memorial hall for the clan and a stand-alone columbarium.
Designed in the traditional Chinese architectural style, the Ancestral Temple features a gabled roof with a straight, inclined curvature that is topped with a ridge of ceramic tiles. At the entrance of the Ancestral Temple, a pair of lion statues is arranged in bilateral symmetry to “ward off evil spirits” and a sky well with enclosing halls on four sides is used for temperature regulation. Furthermore, the Ancestral Hall incorporates concepts from Chinese cosmology such as feng shui (Chinese:风水; geomancy) by placing Five Element stones in the middle of the altar located right behind the main hall. The Five Element stones are believed to possess mystical powers to keep the devils away. The Shuang Long Shan Wu Shu Ancestral Hall, which was located at the foot of Shuang Long Shan (Chinese: 双龙山; Double Dragon Hill), houses the ancestral tablets since the early 20th century. In 1926, Ying Xin School (Chinese 应新学堂 ) was established at the Ancestral Hall to provide education for the village children. The school had 5 classes and wooden boards were used as makeshift partitions to create classrooms. The school closed in 1969 in the face of declining enrolment.
In 1966, the Housing and Development bOARD acquired three burial grounds managed by Ying Fo Fui Kun to develop Queenstown’s seventh neighbourhood known as Buona Vista. Although Ying Fo Fui Kun“ objected strongly to the compulsory acquisition,” and requested several concessions from the government including a license for another burial ground, a portion of about 4.5 acres of burial ground for constructing a memorial and reburial of existing graves and permission to keep their ancestral hall, the association did not“ stand in the way of progress by the government.”
The clearance of more than 500 squatters and exhumation of graves commenced in 1968 and the construction of Buona Vista estate began in 1969. After the remains in all the graves were identified, exhumed and cremated, the ashes were transferred to urns and placed under the headstones, or at the columbarium in the old Ancestral Hall or the newer Ying Fo Fui Kun Memorial Hall (completed in 1988).