FAQ

About the SOS Bukit Brown petition
1. Is this only for Singaporeans? Can PRs or non-Singaporeans sign it?
2. Is it compulsory to include our IC/ FIN No? I’m not comfortable with this.
3. When do you intend to send this open petition to the government?
4. How can I find out how many people have signed this petition?
5. What if I don’t agree with your full petition but I want to save Bukit Brown? Should I still sign it?
6. Are you affiliated with any group/ political party?

About Bukit Brown
1. Isn’t it a good thing to destroy a part of Bukit Brown for faster roads & a residential estate? After all, the dead won’t mind & the living will benefit. How much new housing area can be created with the destruction of Bukit Brown?
2. The government has indicated that they will only destroy 5000 graves. That’s only 5% of Bukit Brown. And they aren’t the graves of “famous people”. So isn’t that OK?
3. There is already some documentation work going on for the graves that will be destroyed. Isn’t that adequate for preserving our memories?
4. Hardly anyone remembered Bukit Brown before the proposed destruction. Now suddenly there’s all this hype. Surely this will all die down? (no pun intended..)
5. Has a cost-benefit analysis for Bukit Brown’s destruction been done?
6. Can Bukit Brown be preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site?
7. How feasible is it to preserve Bukit Brown as a heritage park/ cemetary park?
8. What do we know of official plans to redevelop Bukit Brown?

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About the SOS Bukit Brown petition

1. Is this only for Singaporeans? Can PRs or non-Singaporeans sign it?
Everyone who wishes to preserve Bukit Brown is welcome to sign the petition, as Bukit Brown is of great historical, cultural & environmental value both to locals and visitors. However, to add credibility to our petition (in terms of numbers), we ask that Singaporeans & PRs include their IC No, & non-Singaporeans their FIN No or to indicate their status.

2. Is it compulsory to include our IC/ FIN No? I’m not comfortable with this.
This is optional but we strongly encourage you to, as it will make our petition more credible in terms of numbers, and also to show that we are not afraid to stand up for what we believe in. There is nothing illegal about this petition.

3. When do you intend to send this open petition to the government?
We hope to collate 100,000 signatures by end Dec 2011, and we aim to send it to the government as soon as possible after that.

4. How can I find out how many people have signed this petition?
We will be posting updates on our website. If you want regular updates, you can also ‘follow’ our website, or email us at <sosbukitbrown@gmail.com>.

5. What if I don’t agree with your full petition but I want to save Bukit Brown? Should I still sign it?
If you would like to save Bukit Brown, we hope you will still sign the petition so that we can all speak with a louder collective voice. However, if you are really not comfortable with that, please do still write to the Ministers, MPs or the press on this issue.

6. Are you affiliated with any group/ political party?
No, we’re just a group of ordinary Singaporeans.

About Bukit Brown

1. Isn’t it a good thing to destroy a part of Bukit Brown for faster roads & a residential estate? After all, the dead don’t mind & the living will benefit. How much new housing area can be created with the destruction of Bukit Brown?
Err, we’re not sure the dead don’t mind! But even if they don’t, the enormous historical, cultural, environmental value of Bukit Brown far outweighs the benefits of a four-way road that seeks to ” bring relief to the increasingly congested Lornie Road.” (ST, 20 Nov 2011). We believe that other creative solutions can be found to relieve traffic congestion. Furthermore, there are only 111 cars per 1,000 people* in Singapore. Why should Bukit Brown and so many other precious historical sites make way to serve this small proportion of the population? Destruction is forever.

As for the benefit of new housing, the government’s plan is to build a “future estate that spans more than 200ha – bigger than Serangoon and slated to have a mix of private and public housing. Although this will be developed only in 30 to 40 years, the new road is necessary today to bring relief to the increasingly congested Lornie Road.”

While this will benefit people, we feel that the government can choose to provide more housing area by first developing many other spaces that have much less historical & cultural value compared to Bukit Brown. (eg. golf courses)

In fact, the Final Report of the Focus Group on Land Allocation submitted to the Ministry of National Development in December 2000 already calls for the preservation of green spaces and building buildings taller to make land use more efficient. The Land Transport Authority’s 2008 Land Transport Master Plan likewise advocates both making public transport, especially rail, the mode of choice for commuters and controlling vehicle population growth. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam reiterated these points in his recent 2012 Budget Speech. Preserving Bukit Brown is consistent with these goals.

* For official figures from the Department of Statistics, Singapore, see:
http://www.singstat.gov.sg/stats/keyind.html#socind (See under “Social Indicators”)
http://www.singstat.gov.sg/pubn/reference/sif2011.pdf (See page 18)

2. The government has indicated that they will only destroy 5000 graves. That’s only 5% of Bukit Brown. And they aren’t the graves of “famous people”. So isn’t that OK?
Famous or ordinary, we want to symbolically honour them all as pioneers of Singapore. And we feel that this proposed destruction of 5% of Bukit Brown in 2012 is merely testing the waters of public opinion. If we do not speak up against it now, one day there will be the eventual & complete destruction of Bukit Brown, and with it, the great value of this shared historical space.

3. There is already some documentation work going on for the graves that will be destroyed. Isn’t that adequate for preserving our memories?
We thank Dr Hui Yew-Foong & his team for doing this back-breaking work of documentation. This should go on even if Bukit Brown is preserved, as the gravestones will eventually become illegible due to wear & tear. However, we believe there is a huge intangible difference between reading about Bukit Brown’s documentation in a book or museum, and having the actual sensory experience of walking in a physical space among the trees and quiet gravestones, reflecting on our shared history and culture. We want this for our children too.

4. Hardly anyone remembered Bukit Brown before the proposed destruction. Now suddenly there’s all this hype. Surely this will all die down? (no pun intended..)
In our rush to study, work, earn & just keep up with this frantic pace of life, we have neglected so much of our history & culture. This wake-up call has made many Singaporeans take a trip to Bukit Brown to enjoy the scenary, & appreciate its great historical & cultural value. We want to preserve this not just for Singaporeans in 2011, but for generations to come.

5. Has a cost-benefit analysis for Bukit Brown’s destruction been done?
As far as we know, this has not been done, or at least not made public. We are also looking for economists, sociologists, architects, civil engineers, and environmental engineers to see if they are willing to do a pro bono public cost-benefit analysis of Bukit Brown’s proposed destruction.

6. Can Bukit Brown be preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site?
We’re not the experts here, but we think this should certainly be considered. After all, it does seem to meet some selection critieria, as stated on the UNESCO World Heritage Centre website. Perhaps this could be further discussed here – UNESCO World Heritage Site for Singapore Facebook group or http://worldheritagesg.blogspot.com.

7. How feasible is it to preserve Bukit Brown as a heritage park/ cemetary park?
We believe it is highly feasible. From Paris to Penang, London to Los Angeles, Montreal to Malacca, and many many more, cemeteries are integral to the living space of many metropolitan areas, serving as parks, heritage sites, and public spaces. Some have more than one cemetery park. If other cities can, why can’t Singapore? Here are some links to cemetery parks in cities around the world:

8. What do we know about official plans to redevelop Bukit Brown?
Apart from the location of the new road, expansion of Lornie Road, exhumation/road-building timeline, and documentation, official details about redevelopment plans in the public domain seem limited.
The Minister of State for National Development, Tan Chuan Jin, stated that there is an immediate need to ease traffic congestion along the existing road network around Bukit Brown, and that other options are infeasible. However, longer road tunnels do exist. Hsuehshan Tunnel (雪山隧道) in Taiwan is a 12.9km road tunnel built under a mountain range. It can handle 30,000 cars a day and opened in 2006. Arlberg Road Tunnel in Austria is a 13.9km road tunnel built under the Alps. The tunnel can handle 1,800 vehicles an hour and opened in 1978. Information on the two tunnels are below:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/5086548.stm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hsuehshan_Tunnel
http://travel.network.com.tw/tourguide/point/showpage/103635.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arlberg_Road_Tunnel

If you know where more public information about the official plans for redeveloping Bukit Brown is available, we would like to hear from you. You can post your reply or email us at <sosbukitbrown@gmail.com>. We list what appears available in public at the moment. They include press releases by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), Urban Renewal Authority (URA), REACH, and the National Parks Board.
http://www.ura.gov.sg/pr/text/2011/pr11-133.html
http://www.ura.gov.sg/pr/graphics/2011/pr11-133a.pdf
http://www.ura.gov.sg/pr/text/2011/pr11-109.html
http://www.ura.gov.sg/pr/graphics/2011/pr11-109a.pdf
http://www.ura.gov.sg/pr/graphics/2011/pr11-109b.pdf
http://app.lta.gov.sg/corp_press_content.asp?start=rj2i4o1u3d7018466v86y82epxjj32mwbvnhu6rpwt8lplkgo6
http://www.reach.gov.sg/YourSay/DiscussionForum/tabid/101/mode/1/Default.aspx?ssFormAction=%5B%5BssBlogThread_VIEW%5D%5D&tid=%5B%5B4532%5D%5D

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