Burning the Joss Money (Paper Money, Silver and Gold papers) to Ancestors and Gods in Chinese new year, Qingming (Tomb sweeping day) festival and Ghost festival. Selective focus from Shutterstock.com

NEA advisory on religious activities during Qing Ming festival

National Environment Agency (NEA) urges members of the public who observe religious activities such as burning of incense papers during the Qing Ming festival to do so in a considerate manner and keep the environment clean.

For those visiting the Choa Chu Kang cemetery and government columbaria, NEA noted that there will be special traffic arrangements in place to help ease expected congestion, adding, “We would also like to remind the next-of-kin to exercise discretion when engaging grave maintenance services offered by individuals or commercial entities.”

NEA also advised members of the public to use burners and containers when burning joss paper to help keep the environment clean, minimise fly ash, and reduce fire hazards, and to burn joss paper in small quantities to minimise smoke.

For residents in housing estates, NEA noted that Town Councils will be providing bins and containers for their use. Burners have also been made available at the Choa Chu Kang Cemetery and government columbaria at Mandai, Yishun, Mount Vernon and Choa Chu Kang, during this period.

To keep the public areas clean, it also reminds members of the public not to leave any food offerings and litter behind, as that may potentially result in mosquito breeding or rat infestation.

NEA noted that its maintenance works at the cemetery involves regular grass-cutting in the common areas of Choa Chu Kang Cemetery. It does not cover the maintenance of carpet grass and flowering plants on the graves, or maintenance of the monuments and tombstones.

NEA caution to members of the public that they may be approached by freelance gardeners or tombstone contractors offering gardening or tombstone maintenance services at the Choa Chu Kang Cemetery for a fee. These services are not regulated by NEA. Next-of-kin who have not made prior private arrangements for such services are advised not to pay anyone who claims to have maintained the graves of their loved ones.

Members of the public who encounter freelance gardeners and contractors engaging in any illegal activity such as touting, extortion, harassment and cheating especially during the Qing Ming period may choose to lodge a police report at the nearest Neighbourhood Police Centre or Police Post. Alternatively, they can contact the Cemetery Office at 6793 7428 during office hours or call 1800-CALL NEA (1800-2255 632).

As with previous years, the agency noted large crowds are expected at the Choa Chu Kang Cemetery and government columbaria at Mandai, Yishun, Mount Vernon and Choa Chu Kang on the Qing Ming festival date (5 April 2018); the Good Friday holiday (30 March 2018); and the Sundays within the festival period (25 March 2018, 1,8, and 15 April 2018).

NEA advised members of the public who wish to avoid the crowds and traffic congestion to avoid these peak periods, if possible.

To minimise traffic congestion, NEA advised visitors to these facilities on the above dates to take public transport. Drivers are advised to follow the directional signs and instructions given by the Traffic Police and traffic wardens. NEA officers will also be stationed on-site from 6.00am to 6.00pm in shifts to provide assistance and directions. Vehicles exceeding 2,500kg unladen weight are not allowed into the Choa Chu Kang Cemetery Complex during the peak periods. 

Source: NEA.

Drivers are advised to park in a considerate manner to aid traffic flow. Drivers can use the car park lots available at Car Park A along Jalan Bahar and Car Park B, C and D along Old Choa Chu Kang Road. Temporary car park lots at Path 9 Chinese Cemetery have been made available at the cemetery during the Qing Ming period too. Alternatively, drivers can park along the left hand side of the cemetery paths.

Source: NEA.

NEA also reminds visitors that the graves at the Exhumed Remains Section along Chinese Cemetery Path 10 announced under Choa Chu Kang Exhumation Phase 5 Exhumation Programme on 23 July 2014 are closed to visitors as the exhumation of graves has commenced since 17 July 2017.

Due to ongoing construction works for the development of a new crematorium complex, NEA noted that there will be temporary closure of some roads and open-air car parks near Mandai Columbarium Blocks B and C.

Source: NEA.

To complement existing public bus services, NEA stated that a shuttle bus service will be provided at a fee of $1.40 per trip between Khatib MRT Station (Exit A pick-up point) and the rear entrance of Mandai Columbarium (bus stop no. 48149 along Mandai Avenue) at 30-min intervals from 0700 hours to 1700 hours on the following dates:

–       23, 24, 25, 30 and 31 March 2018

–       1,  7,  8, 14 and 15 April 2018

As high traffic congestion will be expected with limited carparks at the Mandai Columbarium complex, NEA encourages drivers to Mandai Columbarium are encouraged to park their vehicles near Khatib MRT station and use the shuttle bus service. Visitors attending the cremation services only will be directed to park in the basement within the crematorium complex.

To view the real time traffic camera images of the traffic conditions outside Mandai Crematorium and Columbarium complex from 23 March 2018 to 15 April 2018, please click here..

Source: NEA.