Hakka tombstones may have to go

Hakka tombstones may have to go
The Ying Fo Fui Kun memorial hall, seen in the distance from the cemetery in Commonwealth Lane.

Some 2,700 mosaic-clad tombstones stand in 65 uniform rows in the middle of a Housing Board estate.

The Shuang Long Shan cemetery has been a prominent feature in Holland Close since it was built in the 1960s.

But it could soon become a thing of the past as the Hakka clan association that owns the patch - about the size of 21/2 football pitches - is considering to re-house the graves in a pagoda.

The idea is to free up space for buildings such as a cultural and social hall for its 2,000 members and the local community.

A memorial hall built in the 1980s also sits on the 1.8ha plot.

Ying Fo Fui Kun president Chin Sit Yeong said: "We want to serve our members and the community and blend in better with the surrounding physical environment."

The association has about half of its 99-year Housing Board lease left for the land. In the past, it considered renting out part of the space to a kindergarten and clinic but did not go through with either.

Mr Chin said there are no concrete plans at the moment, adding that it will need the consent of members whose ancestors lie there.

"We are open to good ideas on usage of the land, taking into account the site's history as well," he said.

The association will ensure that their historic ancestral hall from 1887, fronted by a half-moon pond and built in the traditional Chinese architectural style, remains untouched.

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