Sunday, 21 February 2016

The Greatest Forgotten Hill

It was a sunny humid weather in the morning, I took a direct bus from my place to get to the specific meeting point at Seah Im food centre before 9am. Phew! I wasn't late anyway but somehow got time to chat with them while waiting.
Me (in Pink), Kamal, Ugi and his friends
Photo Courtesy: Rozy Gereq 
Minutes later, everyone gathered at the end of the food centre just in front of the toilet and Harry gave a short briefing before embarking our journey to the chosen three appropriate locations as stated by the group team.
Thus we will be able to learn more of the histories of Muslim old cemeteries, Royal Mausoluem and its structures hidden away at the foot of Mount Faber.
 Rozy selfie with the group
Group photo@Seah Im food centre
Photo Courtesy: Rozy
At the start of our journey, we proceeded to the Marang cemetery where there were old Muslim tombs which are said to be over 200 years old.
Tuah briefing history about the old graves
I have been to Marang trail as well as the old graves years ago. It was said to be the former Kampong Marang where the residents once lived decades ago, the oldest Muslim burial ground and one of them dated back in 1866.
Marang gravestone
Oldest gravestone 1866
At the deep in the forest, there are 3 old gravestones. One of them is 1928, another is 1920 and the oldest one is 1866. One of the oldest tomb is found there, which belongs to "Encik Omar bin Abdul Jalal", died on 11th April 1866 (25 zulkaedah 1282).There is one old grave beside it - "A Ahmad (Marang) Bin Omar.", died on 11th February 1920 (27 Jamadil Awal 1338)".
Unique tombstone
Unique Tombstone marker
Years ago, I walked up the Marang trail on the hill and I could see the graveyard close by, clearly see from view. I could be presume it is the oldest gravestones and I thought that this is probably not the oldest remains, but it's definitely one of the oldest grave around. Some of the old tombstones (seen above) are rather unique as to compare to the Royal Mausoleum.
 Male & female headstone
Upon discovering old Muslim graves among the shrouded vegetation.The tombs were filled with moss, the ground was uneven and covered with vegetation.I heard from my former colleagues and friends are Malay and Muslim in regarding the tombstones. The nature of the tombstones (being flat or round) means of possible the social status of the deceased. Conclusion: Rounded for male and flat for female which are traditionally used in practice in this part of the muslim world, said Mustafa (my fb friend). Each of the grave is marked by a headstone, a footstone and aligned towards Mecca, Islam's holy ground. Example if you observe a small tombstone between the two tombstones, it indicates a woman who died giving birth. The small tombstone is for the child.
Kamal surrounded by the graves
From what I gathered from one of my photos as above, Kamal mentioned that the tombs where he stood, he was waving his arm towards his right indicating the direction of the west. Thus he was explaining to the group members that the Muslim bodies need to face the west (Mecca).Next journey - At Royal Mausoluem (Masjid Temanggong Daeng Ibrahim) located at Telok Blangah.
Group photo@Royal Mausoluem
Photo Courtesy: Tuah Bugis
Unknown to us, one of our group, Tuah managed to seek permission from Johor Religious Department to access the premise some time ago. We are very grateful to him for his guidance and informative about the Royal Mausoleum, the surrounding mosque and the graveyard.
Masjid Temeggong Daeng Ibrahim
Masjid Temenggong Daeng Ibrahim (State of Johor Mosque) originally built in 1890 and then was rebuilt in 1993. Named after one of the Malay rulers of the Malayan Peninsula. It has the royal burial site of historical individuals and owned by the present-day Johor Sultanate.  A Mosque is historically significant as the tomb of Temenggong Abdul Rahman lies buried within the compound.
Octagonal Mosque
A mosque, an octagonal in shape, was built and was also used as a Balai Rong Seri (Audience Hall) and was previously a reception hall of the Temenggong's residence, is the original site of Temenggong Palace. The corridor of the mosque is said to be over 100 year old and the 'green' pillar structure. It is currently now a main prayer hall.
As for women, the wudu is on the left and praying area is on the right. The kiblat heads to the left so its up to you which way you prefer to go. From the left just walk straight to wudu but passing the kiblat, from the right you'll have to pass the men's wudu area.
Exterior architecture of green roof tiles
A mosque currently displays a simple exterior architecture of green roof tiles and whitewashed walls. Its building consists of only one level and houses a small and simply decorated prayer hall. The design of the doors and balcony of the prayer hall, which is typical of colonial architectural style. Entry into the mosque is only permitted to members as it is an operating place of worship but a view from its gates would suffice. Entry into the mosque's compound for non-members is not permitted.
 Tuah briefing about Temenggong Daeng
 Kamal shared his story about Temenggong's lineage
Ugi shared his side story
Just wonder, is a name or surname of 'Daeng' refer to? According to the Mr Ugi from a group and he said;  "In the old days, it is like a title for the Aristocrat or Noble with name begining with Daeng (for the Bugis), than followed by 'Andi' which came about much later. Now Daeng is commonly refereed to as Elder brother or Sister. from the 17th century with Islamisation, the Bugis use or adopt title that is Sultan or names as above . Gone are the Rulers known as Arumpone, Arung Matowa.. etc. and Bugis names like La Tenritata, La Madukelleng."
 Tombs of Daeng Ibrahim (brown headstone) and Engku Muhamad Khalid
Tombs of Daeng Abdul Rahman and Engku Salmah bte Engku Muhamad Khalid 
Royal tombs visited by Royal Johor Officials
Photo credits: Royal Johor Official
Above are the two photos of the tombs of Daeng Ibrahim (brown headstone) and Daeng Abdul Rahman (next to yellow wall). According to the sources, Sultan Temenggong Daeng Abdul Rahman who negotiated the treaty with Sir Stamford Raffles is also buried in Royal Mausoleum.Others who are buried in Royal Mausoleum included his son Temenggong Ibrahim and close members of the family. The last member of the family to be buried there was Ungku Mohammed Khalif (died 1900), who was once lived in the building that used for Radin Mas school. He was a well-known figure in Singapore sporting circles. he was the younger son of Temenggong Ibrahim and thus a grand uncle of the late sultan of Johor.
The late sultan of Johor would visit this Mosque and Royal Mausoleum every Hari Raya Puasa to pay his respect to his ancestors here in Singapore.
Last year in 2015, Tuanku visited the Royal Mausoleum in Telok Blangah, which is the Johor's Royal Mausoleum in Singapore. Sultan Ibrahim was accompanied by his son Tunku Mahkota Johor Tunku Ismail.
Gate leading to Royal Mausoluem
The Plaque
The plaque to the Royal Mausoleum at Masjid Temenggong Daeng Ibrahim's ground.
The Royal Mausoleum is the final resting ground of 34 other members of the royal family including Sultanah Khatijah, a consort of Sultan Abu Bakar (son of Temenggong Ibrahim and grandson of Temenggong Abdul Rahman), who died at Istana Woodneuk in Singapore on 1st Feb 1904. 
A graveyard and Royal Mausoleum hidden behind the white wall
A staircase leading up to the Royal Mausoleum, surrounding graveyard as well as other tombstones of the prominent persons buried there. The public and non-members couldn't see the graveyard from the outside, only to see the facade of the building and a white wall.
Graveyard beside Royal Mausoleum

The graveyard of those are the followers of Temenggong Deang Ibrahim and other relatives in the foreground at the foot of the hill, away from the human traffic but except the Bay Hotel that sits next to the Mosque, hotel guests will be able to see through their windows, I presume.

 Tuah briefing the history of the tombs
Climbing up the slope is the way of finding peace and to look over the graveyard that could give me a chill, a cool breeze blows my face as if they are watching over us and to welcome us to their resting place. We respect their space and not to disturb them, we listened to their stories and its historical of the past, told by our group, Tuah. Above him, is the white structure wall that hidden away from our view - two tombs of prominent persons. Well, take a look of the two tombs as below.
Staff's Quarter on the left
Closeup: Staff's Quarter
The "White" building is seen 'hanging clothes' on the left was once Istana Temenggong. The old Istana was demolished and replaced with a new building to accommodate the staffs of Daeng Ibrahim mosque. A coconut is seen lying at the bottom on the tree below facing the staff's quarter.
Tomb of Dato' Abdullah Jafar
The tomb of Dato ' Abdullah Jafar , Chief Minister of Johor is situated beside the Royal Mausoleum. There is another tomb next to it with a design similar to the Tomb of Sultan Abdul Rahman Muadzam Shah , Sultan Riau Lingga.
Tomb of Sultanah Khadijah
Sultanah Khadijah
 Tomb of Sultanah Khadijah
Headstone marker
This is the grave of "Sultanah Khadijah", wife of Temenggong Daeng Ibrahim. Sultanah Khadijah was the fourth wife of Sultan Abu Bakar of Johor. Her real name was Khadijah Khanum. She was a woman with Circassion Heritage. She married to Sultan Abu Bakar in 1893 during the Sultan’s visit to the Ottoman Empire. She was crowned as the Sultanah of Johor in 1894. She had a daughter named Tunku Fatimah.
Tomb of Sultanah Khadijah's personal assistant
 Tomb of Khadijah's personal assistant
These two tombs belong to the late Sultanah Khadijah and her personnel assistant buried on top of the hill surrounded by graveyard of that relatives of the deceased and their followers in the foreground. It is indeed peaceful and serene surrounding the mosque.
Hidden Chamber of the Tomb
It is said that the defunct red bricks destroyed was the final resting place of the rich that buried.
A 'Çivil War' compound of unknown tombs
This is a complex compound of the unknown tomb 'Civil War' and I thought of the chamber that being built in a colonial style. Dilapidated and rundown old wall bricks for decades. This place would be around more than a century.
A Pigeon perched on a headstone
As I was walking around the graveyard and spotted a pigeon perched on a headstone looking for a 'partner' or 'food', I wonder. It must have been a lonelier sight.
 Outdoor Convex Mirror
Before we leave the mosque, I managed to snap a outdoor convex mirror or safety mirror as you may say but I believe it is for both security and safety of the premise from the intruders. This building is entirely monitored by AETOS. Well, I only could think that the photo of the surrounding of the mosque that captured in the mirror, I giggled.
Two way fire hydrant 1992
Outside entrance of the Royal Mausoleum, I noticed an old fire hydrant (1992) was painted in white and it was originally in red or yellow in colour. I realised that SRI fire hydrant, the SRI product owned by VIC Engineering Sdn Bhd in Malaysia, it was incorporated on 28th December 1990 and commenced business thereafter as a dealer in Fire Fighting Engineering and Equipment.
This will be my last journey to the Puteri (Princess) Radin Mas Ayu cemetery at the foot of Mount Faber park.
 Walking up the steps
Walking up the steps is another exercise after went through the cement steps at Royal Mausoleum. It boosts our strength and yet tired since in the morning at the start of Marang cemetery. It's like we carried our legs along to the long walk and yet appreciated the strength of the group.
 Puteri Radin Mas Ayu cemetery
The Plaque to the Pilgrimage Shrine
Princess Radin Mas Ayu shrine
Tuah briefing to the group
The area of the hill was once Kampong Radin Mas situated at the foot of Telok Blangah Hill in the 1950s which had been demolished, sits the tomb of Radin Mas Ayu.
"Tomb" hut surrounded by Banyan tree
The tomb was once surrounded by a huge banyan tree. There was used to be a hut that enclosing a tomb of Radin Mas Ayu and its condition was in poor state.
Tomb of Radin Mas Ayu's guard
While entering the gate, there is a lone grave of that belongs to Princess Radin Mas Ayu's guard.
Yellow Wooden stairs
 A flight of steps was constructed to increase access to the shrine. Both the hut and the stairs were painted yellow which is the symbol of both royalty and holiness in the Muslim community. A place to perform prayers was also provided. Pakcik Daeng goes to the shrine everyday to clean it and he made sure that visitors did not carry out un-Islamic practices commonly associated with Muslim shrines. I hope that the authorities could verify the history behind the 'honour' tomb and recognise it as Singapore's heritage and a tourist destination.
Me & Pakcik Daeng Zainal
Rozy, Tuah, Pakcik Daeng and Kamal
 Pakcik Daeng Zainal
Pakcik Daeng has been a 'loyal' caretaker for two decades, taking care of the tomb Puteri Radin Mas Ayu and its surroundings since 1990s.In the 2000s, Pakcik Daeng would clean up the place and repaired the hut using his own funds. He seek help from friends, he levelled the ground around the tomb, carrying sand and cement up the hill. He hired a contractor to start works in August 2002. The hut was eventually torn down and built a new one. A low fence was erected along the perimeters of the tomb. The surrounding compound was laid with ceramic tiles and a water tank was installed to store rainwater.
 Puteri Radin Mas Ayu shrine
 Closeup: Puteri Radin Mas Ayu shrine
The place is full greenery and peaceful surroundings. Visitors from local and foreigners alike would come to pay homage to Puteri Radin Mas Ayu and to listen the story about the legend of Radin Mas Ayu, a Javanese princess who shielded her father from being killed. And to learn the history of its significance in Singapore's heritage and to preserve it.
Princess Radin Mas Ayu Shrine
Photo courtesy: Tuah
Last but not least, I put a 'goodwill' to the donation box for the 'well-being' of the pilgrimage shrine.
Group Photo@Radin Mas
Photo courtesy: Tuah
Lastly, I have to end my journey here as I was tired and had other appointment. Some of the group stayed behind and continue to the next chapter.
Thanks to the Tree family especially Tuah, Kamal, Harry and others for the wonderful time and well-organised trip.


  1. Great Documentation of trip Lina.

    1. Thank you for your compliment. DiagnoVeritas :)

  2. Do we have to get permission to enter the Royal Mouseloum_