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Monday, October 31, 2011

Understanding Digital Preservation

Today, I attended the Seminar On “Understanding Digital Preservation in the Context of Digital Library” organised by ExLibris Singapore:

Date: Monday, 31st Oct 2011
Time: 1400hr – 1700hr
Venue: Library Instructional Commons Block N2 Level B3A-01 Nanyang Technological University50 Nanyang Avenue, Singapore 639798

"With the transition from traditional paper to a digital library, many institutions are facing new challenges. One of the emerging challenges is in the field of digital preservation and its role as part of the digital library."

"Ex Libris Rosetta digital preservation solution provides a sustainable digital preservation model which enables institutions to collect, manage, preserve, and provide access to institutional documents, research output in digital formats, digital images, websites, and other digitally born and digitized materials."

Listening to Mr. John M. Meador, Jr, Dean of Libraries on his digital preservation experience in Binghamton University, was most inspiring to me.

He reminded us that "Digital Preservation Project" have to be conceived with the needs of interest groups in mind.

With interests from the academic groups who see the needs to preserve the objects, pictures or photographs etc, funding will follow.

Start with manageable and low hanging fruits first and move on to the higher goal.

It is not a "Zero or All" game. You can do comprehensive digital preservation steps by steps, not all at once!

1330 – 1400 NTU Library Tour (Business Library) & Registration

1400 – 1405 Welcome Speech: Mr. Choy Fatt Cheong, University Librarian, Nanyang Technological University Mr. Ziv BenZvi, Vice President, Ex Libris Asia Pacific

1405 – 1450 Overview of the world of digital preservation: Mr. Nir Sherwinter, Rosetta Business Analysis & Implementation Manager

1450 – 1535 Building a Digital Library for Binghamton University: Mr. John M. Meador, Jr, Dean of Libraries, Binghamton University

1535 – 1605 Tea break

1605 – 1650 Rosetta Overview & Live Demonstration: Mr. Nir Sherwinter, Rosetta Business Analysis & Implementation Manager

1650 – 1700 Q&A

Source of information:

Monday, October 10, 2011

A joyful experience: moving around shelf

Just received some photos via email from one of the trainee and here I share with you two of the photos we took on the first day of SUPPORT COLLECTION MAINTENANCE (LAS WSQ Level 2 course: Module 4) held on 6 Sept 2011, Tuesday at National Library Academy Agatha Room.

Shelf reading: after lunch walking and standing exercise

All of us enjoy to be a "movable book" for once, and we are in the "right order" after the fun-filling shelf reading exercise!

For more information on the module, please refer to Library Assiciation of Singapore (LAS) Webpage at

The course fees are listed at

LAS is the Approved Training Organisation (ATO) by WDA and offers the following five WSQ Level 2 Courses:

The third run of the WSQ/LAS Level 2 training for Support Bibliographic Control work is on 8 – 10 November 2011. This 3 day course will be held at CR605, NTU@OneNorth.

The registration for November course "Support Bibliographic Control" is fully subscribed today!

If you are attending the course next month, see you at NTU@OneNorth then!

Dexterine Ho

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Hertitage trail of Bukit Brown Cemetry

"But once you're gone, you belong to the world."

----Steve Jobs

I understand this quotation better today when I follow Mr Raymond Goh for a heritage trail of Bukit Brown Cemetery this morning.

With the inscriptions on the tomb stone, many personal information is revealed to the world and personal information is being channelled into public domain. Learning the intricate relationship among tombs in Bukit Brown Cemetery is an "eye and mind-opening" experience!

The trail started at 9am and I left around 12 noon. Many thanks to Raymond Goh, Charles Goh, Rosalind M Tan, Charlotte Chu and many other volunteers for making the event possible!

From the article "S’pore’s oldest grave?" at'pore's%20oldest%20grave.aspx , I understand that Mr Raymond Goh is a pharmacist by day and use his free time researching tombs and cemeteries. The interest began in 2006 after he felt the importance of "preserving the past". He has since found many graves of Singapore's pioneers.

This evening, I learned from the News on TV at 10pm that My friend Ms Rosalind Tan, 陈如, was able to re-locate the tombs of her grand parents, Mr and Mrs Tan Yong Thian, with the help of Raymond.

According to Rosalind, her grandfather Mr Tan Yong Thian (also known as Tan Ah Tian) born in 1855, came to Singapore in 1882 at the age of 27 from Chaoyang, in Swatow, China.

From, I learn that "He started life in Singapore as a building contractor and later invested in various plantations. He was the first Chinese to distil patchouli oil successfully and his company, Chua Seng Heng, became the largest producer of essential oils in the Straits Settlements."

Viewing the [Obituaries] in The Straits Times, 4 March 1926, Page 8, I learned that Mrs. Tan Yong Thian nee Ng Hean Neo, passed away at age 59 on 1st March 1926.

Follow Raymond for the morning trail to explore and re-discover the pioneers in Singapore is a fulfuling experience for me. We have the chance of unveiling some interesting links between famous families in Singapore and understand the tombs' "networking pattern". Listening to the anecdotes and insightful decipher of the tombs and the plaques give us more indepth understanding of the hidden meaning embedded in the inscriptions and sculptures.

I recited and sing the poem "Qing Ming" by Du Mu, Tang Dynasty Poet, at the Tomb of Rosalind's Grand Parents in Teochew as a symbolic tribute to her ancestors. (晚唐著名诗人杜牧有一首脍炙人口的绝句《清明》,诗云:“清明时节雨纷纷,路上行人欲断魂。借问酒家何处有,牧童指杏花村。”

My translated version:
Drizzling rain always falls during Qing Ming days.
It's like the mourners' heart tearing sadly on their ways.
Where can a winehouse be found to diverse one's deep sorrow?
A little cowherd pointed to the Almond Flower (Xing Hua) Village, a distance away!

(Chinese words edited and English translation added on 15 Jan 2012 in response to Mr Ang Hock Chuan's posting the video on Facebook at )
Being Teochew, Rosalind made a general request for a Teochew Tune/Song before we start the trail, and I think it is meaningful for me to do it for the deceased and share the sentiments with friends who make their way there.

For background information, I found the following infopedia article very helpful:

Bukit Brown Municipal Cemetery

By Kartini Saparudin written on 13-Jul-2009
National Library Board Singapore

Here are useful pointers and information from the full text of the article (Some headings and dates are highlighted/added for quick reference, it is like reading the full text with some annotations, esp the name of places in Chinese translation):

Bukit Brown Municipal Cemetery

"The Bukit Brown Municipal Cemetery, located between Lornie Road and Mount Pleasant Road, was officially opened on 1 January 1922."

1973: "Previously a 211-acre plot of land that belonged to the Hokkien Ong clan, the Municipality had acquired a section of it in 1918-1919 to serve the burial needs of the wider Chinese community. It was opened for more than half a century until its closure in 1973."

Early beginnings of Bukit Brown

* George Henry Brown:

"Bukit Brown was named after George Henry Brown, a shipowner, trader and broker who arrived in Singapore in the 1840s. He opened a company named Brown, Knight & Co., at Malacca Street in 1865, and was also listed as a petit juror in the Singapore almanack and directory (1870). "

* Bukit Brown:

"Brown's place of residence was located at Mount Pleasant Road/Drive, a road close to the present Bukit Brown site. Although the hill on which Brown's residence stood was named after him, the road leading to Bukit Brown did not exist until much later."

* Bukit Brown Road

"When an access road to Bukit Brown was constructed, the road was named Bukit Brown Road in 1923. This road has since been expunged."

Seh Ong (Hokkien) Cemetery

1872: Ong clan "self-sufficient village"

"Prior to the opening of the municipal cemetery, the area was owned by three wealthy Hokkien entrepreneurs, Ong Kew Ho, Ong Ewe Hai and Ong Chong Chew, who came from the same village of Bai Qiao in Xiamen, China. In 1872, the trio bought a 211 acre site at Bukit Timah Road, also known as Bukit Brown (next to the Teck Rubber Estate at the fourth milestone), with the intention to set up a self-sufficient village for poorer members of the Ong clan. The land was to serve the community's residential, agricultural and burial needs."

Tai Yuan Shan 太原山, Xing Wang Shan 姓王山 and Kopi Sua (咖啡山Coffee hill)

"However, the land eventually came to be used solely as a burial ground. The reason for this change is unclear. The hill on which the Seh Ong Cemetery stood was also known to the Chinese as Tai Yuan Shan , Xing Wang Shan and Kopi Sua (coffee hill). The latter probably derived its name from the coffee plantations at Mount Pleasant."

Opening of the Bukit Brown Cemetery


"To meet the pressing need for more public Chinese burial grounds, the Municipal government acquired a section of the Seh Ong Cemetery in 1918-1919 to serve the needs of the wider Chinese community."


"The cemetery officially opened on 1 January 1922. Initially, various aspects of the cemetery's management were handled by the Municipal Commissioners."


"However in 1923, they decided that internal arrangements relating to the cemetery should be left to the Chinese Commissioners to make their recommendations to the Board."

A cemetery for the wider Chinese community

25 August 1922 Amendment (Section 245, no. 9)

"Since the Bukit Brown Cemetery was set up to serve the burial needs of the wider Chinese community, rich and poor, all were to be given equal access to burial plots. To this end, an amendment (Section 245, no. 9) was passed at a special meeting of the Commissioners held on 25 August 1922."

January 1923 and April 1923

"The amendment stated that no special favours would be given to any members of the community. Incidences where one person was allocated to two burial plots were no longer permitted. The by-law came into effect on 21 September 1923. Between the date when the amendment was passed and its effective date, two cases of double occupancy took place in January 1923 and April 1923 respectively."


"Bukit Brown was initially unpopular with the Chinese because of its small plot sizes. However, it slowly gained acceptance after improvements were made to the layout. It was reported that by 1929, 40% of all officially registered Chinese burials within the municipality took place there."
Up-keeping problems

"The Commissioners also sought to improve the conditions of the cemetery. In the beginning, two rest houses were allocated for funeral visitors. A regular water supply was provided through the construction of water pipes and wells, and gardeners were hired to maintain the site. Despite this, complaints about the unkempt appearance of the cemetery occasionally appeared in the newspapers."

Other problems at the cemetery

"Aside from municipal issues, murders, robberies and faction fights were also known occurrences."


"One of the earliest murders at the cemetery took place in 1927. A fight between two groups led to the fatal stabbing of two Chinese men."


"On 24 July 1933, The Straits Times reported on a fight which broke out in the middle of a full funeral procession of a famous towkay, attended by 1,000 people at the cemetery. The clash was sparked by two secret societies in conflict. As a result of the skirmish, six people were taken to the hospital."


"In 1980, a robbery took the life of the cemetery's caretaker and part-time gardener. The caretaker was found dead with 15 years of his life savings missing."

* Swapping of burial plots

"In addition to murders, fights and robberies, there was also the peculiar problem of the illegal swapping of burial plots. There was considerable black-marketeering of Chinese burial plots. This is evident in the advertisements of that period. Notices inviting transfers of burial plots at Bukit Brown Cemetery were advertised in the newspapers. Such transactions were against the Municipal's by-laws and were not recognised by the Commissioners."

"Despite the Commissioners' assurance that there was no lack of burial space, such practices continued. It is not clear from the reports what drove the demand for blackmarket burial plots or the illegal swapping of burial plots. It could be due to lack of space as some felt that the sizes of the burial plots were too small or the Chinese preference for burying family members close by, hence the need to swap plots."

Prominent personalities buried at Bukit Brown

"Many well-known and prominent Singaporeans are interred at Bukit Brown Municipal Cemetery. They include Mrs Eu Kong, mother of Eu Tong Sen; Loh Kye Wee, director of Malaya Broadcasting Co.; Tan Lark Sye, philanthropist and rubber magnate; Ong Sam Leong, renowned entrepreneur; Ong Boon Tat, proprietor of New World Park; Mrs Lim Nee Soon, Lim Chong Pang, which Chong Pang village was named after; and Chew Boon Lay of Boon Lay estate. Some of these graves have been around since the establishment of the Seh Ong Cemetery."

"One of the more memorable funeral processions that took place at the cemetery was the singing of Malay pantun-pantun (poems) at the funeral of Koh Hoon Teck, one of the "old guards" of the Peranakan community in Singapore. It had been one of his wishes that Malay poetry be sung at his funeral. As he was a pantun expert and a founding member of the Dondang Sayang Association, his family members, close friends and members of the association arranged for a "pantun party" to be held at the cemetery. This was done in an elaborate Ming fashion as his other wish was to be interred in robes of the Ming period."

Features of tombs

"The tomb of Ong Sam Leong and his wife in Bukit Brown is said to be the largest tomb in Singapore. Built in 1918 before plot sizes were fixed, the area is reported to be as large as 10 small Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats. Unlike most tombs that have either a small groove or ditch, its front perimeter is 15m long. Also, while most graves are adorned with decorations from traditional Chinese mythology such as lion statues, the Ong tomb is one of several tombs that have statues of Sikh watchmen which stand guard over the grave instead."

Oldest grave?


"On 21 March 2010, a newspaper report claimed that the oldest grave in Bukit Brown dated to as early as 1833, not 1844 as previously claimed. The headstone belongs to a man called Fang Shan, who died in 1833. Fang Shan's grave is looked after by the Fang Shee Association, a local clan association for those with the surname Fang. The more important part of this discovery was that it was also believed to be the oldest known grave to date."

"According to the National Archives of Singapore, which keeps burial records, the oldest grave here dates back to 2 April 1865. This grave was at the Bukit Timah Road Old Cemetery, also known as the Kampong Java Cemetery. According to the National Environment Agency, it was exhumed together with the other 8,461 graves in the cemetery, and the remains reburied at Choa Chu Kang Christian Cemetery in 1970.In 2006, The Straits Times reported that a tomb dating back to 1842 had been found near the current National University of Singapore law school campus."

Roads in and around Bukit Brown

1923: Bukit Brown Road & Kheam Hock Road

"On 1 June 1923, the Committee of Municipal Commissioners decided to name the first portion of the road from Bukit Timah Road to the golf club Bukit Brown Road. It was also decided that the the road from Bukit Brown Road leading to the cemetery should be called Kheam Hock Road, in memory of Municipal Commissioner Tan Kheam Hock, who had actively lobbied for the establishment of the cemetery. Tan had passed away in April 1922. In 1925, one of the Municipal Commissioners, See Tiong Wah, noted the growing popularity of the road leading to the cemetery and suggested a widening of Kheam Hock Road to 60 feet and the wooden bridge leading to it. This suggestion was, however, rejected."

1965: Graveyard divided into two

"Though the Bukit Brown Cemetery faces the threat of redevelopment in land-scarce Singapore, no formal plans have yet been made known. The Land Transport Authority has, however, announced the construction of a Bukit Brown MRT station at Jalan Mashor, near the cemetery. It will be one of the 13 new MRT stations along the Circle Line between the Thomson Road area and Harbour Front. Although the Circle Line is due for completion in 2010, the Bukit Brown MRT station will remain unfinished until the area becomes more developed. In the meantime, the proposed MRT station will be constructed as a "shell station" - a stop with basic structures such as ventilation shafts for the MRT tunnel, and underground concrete boxes to house the future station."

"The portion of the state land of Bukit Brown was exhumed to make way for the alignment of Lornie Road, off Adam Road, in 1965. Later, the graveyard was also divided into two sections due to the construction of the Pan Island Expressway in the 1970s. The other part of the cemetery is called Mount Pleasant Cemetery."

Exhumation in Bukit Brown Cemetery

1965: 237 tombs

"In 1965, the Public Works Department (PWD) issued a statement that the graves on state land in Bukit Brown Cemetery, about 237 tombs, were to be exhumed to make way for the realignment of Lornie Road, off Adam Road. On 18 January 1965, these tombs were exhumed for interment at the Choa Chu Kang Cemetery. A notice by the PWD, published in The Straits Times on 25 March 1965, provided the names of the deceased, the number of the corresponding grave plots, previous addresses and burial dates."

Closure of the cemetery


"The Bukit Brown Cemetery closed for burial in 1973. There were about 100,000 tombs at that time."

Future developments

"Though the Bukit Brown Cemetery faces the threat of redevelopment in land-scarce Singapore, no formal plans have yet been made known. The Land Transport Authority has, however, announced the construction of a Bukit Brown MRT station at Jalan Mashor, near the cemetery. It will be one of the 13 new MRT stations along the Circle Line between the Thomson Road area and Harbour Front. Although the Circle Line is due for completion in 2010, the Bukit Brown MRT station will remain unfinished until the area becomes more developed. In the meantime, the proposed MRT station will be constructed as a "shell station" - a stop with basic structures such as ventilation shafts for the MRT tunnel, and underground concrete boxes to house the future station."


Source of information:
Bukit Brown Municipal Cemetery
By Kartini Saparudin written on 13-Jul-2009
National Library Board Singapore

You may like to read the original article via the above link and follow the reference and other related links!

Here are two links that I think will be useful for researcher:

  • Other good reads are:

    History for the surname Wang (Ong) in Singapore

    Bukit Brown: At one with Nature and history
    Text and pictures by Liz McKenzie
    Bird pictures by Raymond Poon

    After reading, you will be inspired by looking at our surroundings with a quest to learn something about the history of Singapore.

    The culture, beliefs and practices that we thought we are familiar with may have a new layer for you and me to explore further!

    With that, we then can be at home with what we call our home country "Singapore".

    Dexterine Ho
  • Saturday, October 08, 2011

    POSB (Post Office Savings Bank)

    I just browse my old post on POSB and thought it is nice to post something I found on Wiki

    POSBank (or POSB) (Chinese: 邮政储蓄银行) is a brand of consumer banking services offered by DBS Bank in Singapore, after it was acquired by the latter in November 1998.

    Prior to this, it was a major public bank which began life as the Post Office Savings Bank, offering low-cost banking services to Singaporeans.

    DBS Bank attempts to continue this tradition by promising to keep costs low for basic savings accounts, and to exempt children, full time students below the age of 21 years and full time National Servicemen from bank charges.



    The Post Office Savings Bank, part of the Postal Services Department (prior to independence) was established on 1 January 1877 in the General Post Office Building, in Raffles Place by the British Government.

    The bank had a relatively glorious past; by 1951, the bank had its 100,000th depositor, and followed a slow decline after the reaching its peak in 1955.

    It was only after independence when the then Minister for Finance, Goh Keng Swee, who rediscovered the potential of the bank to develop the infrastructure of the infant city-state.

    In 1972, the Post Office Savings Bank, or commonly referred as the POSB or POSBank by then, was made a statutory board under the Ministry of Communications.

    Prior to the consolidation, the Post Office Savings Bank Act of 1971 was passed to govern the structure and operational efficiency of the bank.

    In 1974, POSBank was transferred to become part of the Ministry of Finance; Credit POSB Pte Ltd was established in the same year to provide custom-tailored loans relating to HDB housing ownership.

    By 1976, POSBank had one million depositors, while deposits crossed the S$1 billion mark. In 1980, it introduced the Passcard, and set-up the Principal Branch.

    In 1981, its first Cash-On-Line ATM opened at the Newton Branch.

    In 1983, its headquarters were shifted to the new 8-storey complex, the POSBank Centre at Bras Basah Road.

    In 1984, the current account facility was introduced, and by 1986, deposits crossed the S$10 billion mark.

    The Post Office Savings Bank was renamed as POSBank in March 1990.

    It was subsequently fully acquired by DBS Bank on 16 November 1998 for S$1.6 billion; at the same time, ceased to exist as a statutory board under the Ministry of Finance.

    POSBank still operates one of the highest number of bank branches in Singapore, especially in the suburban neighbourhoods, and operates the highest number of ATM outlets throughout Singapore.

    The integration of both banks allowed customers of either bank to share the facilities; DBS Bank depositors may use the Cash Deposit Machine installed islandwide in POSBank branches, likewise for POSBank depositors.

    Source of information:

    Thursday, October 06, 2011

    Apple Visionary Steve Jobs Dies At 56

    Steve Jobs, Poet Of Computer World, Dies 

    Life is short, yet he had lived well and contributed more than average people who lives longer than him!

    In retrospect, I re-"view" the following video and find his life philosophy even more insightful than the first time I viewed it years back: 

    Steve Jobs: How to live before you die

     *To love what you love to do, even you are rejected.
     ***He was rejected at birth, and was also rejected by a company he created!
     ***The only way of doing great work: to do what you love!

     *Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself.

     *Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice.

     *And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

    Steve Jobs: How to live before you die

    Transcript of Steve Jobs' address:

    The same video is on Youtube with a different title:

    Steve Jobs' 2005 Stanford Commencement Address

    "Drawing from some of the most pivotal points in his life, Steve Jobs, chief executive officer and co-founder of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, urged graduates to pursue their dreams and see the opportunities in life's setbacks -- including death itself -- at the university's 114th Commencement on June 12, 2005"

    Here is the news from NPR today:

    Apple Visionary Steve Jobs Dies At 56 

    Silicon Valley venture capitalist Roger McNamee says, "the sum of which put him in a place where no one else has ever been before. To me he is of his era what Thomas Edison was to the beginning of the 20th century."

    NPR (National Public Radio) "In many ways Jobs was the poet of the computer world. He'd gone to India and become a Buddhist. He took LSD and believed it had opened his mind to new ways of thinking."

    Google "Steve Jobs" and read on and you will get to know more about him!

    Dexterine Ho

    Sunday, October 02, 2011

    How to Turn an Old Book into a Secret Hiding Place

    I think most of my friends who have old books that they do not like to read may like to recycle the book this way!

    I just find the ideas useful and creative!

    How to Turn an Old Book into a Secret Hiding Place

    Step 1: Select a hardcover book at least 1½ inches thick. Open the book and bind the first 10 or 20 pages with a paper clip.

    Step 2: Mix the white craft glue with water. Using a foam brush, apply the mixture to the edges of the non-clipped pages, holding them tightly together.

    Step 3: Use a spacer to separate the glued pages from the clipped pages and allow 30 minutes to dry. Add the weight to keep the pages flat.

    Step 4: Open the book to the first glued page and, using your straight edge, draw a rectangle, leaving a half- inch border around the edges.

    Step 5: Cut along the lines using your craft knife or box cutter. Cut the pages until you reach the back cover. This may take a while because you'll need to remove pages in sections.

    Source of information:

    You can contribute too! Create your own DIY guide at or produce your own Howcast spots with the Howcast Filmmakers Program at

    For those who like to attend a workshop and turning an old book into a treasure box may like to visit for more details!

    Dexterine Ho

    Saturday, October 01, 2011

    Pack Your Luggage Like A Pro Quick Tip

    I find the above idea very much like organising books in the close stack. You can classify it first, then box it, layer it and all the units are movable by itself!

    Well, it is something useful for me to remember and do likewise when I travel!