Duxton Plain Park

Text by Eugene Tan

Flanked on both sides by the backs of shophouses, the park is a unique luxuriant spin on the typical shophouse back alley. Meandering along the site of an old railway line, the park is a peaceful respite for residents and visitors alike. A solitary Muslim tomb provides an incidental attraction in the park, with accompanying tales about the interred body and its powers.

The Muslim tomb along Duxton Plain Park in 2011 (Photo credit: Eugene Tan)

A linear green tract connecting New Bridge Road and Yan Kit Road, Duxton Plain Park makes use of the land previously occupied by the Singapore-Kranji Railway Line. Completed In 1907, tracks once extended from the Southern docks to Tank Road, and then on to Kranji. Running between the shophouses in Duxton Plain, the noisy trains were unpopular with adjacent residents. Falling defunct in 1914, this section of the railway was eventually dismantled in 1925 after the realignment of Singapore’s rail network.

The Pinnacle@Duxton overlooks Duxton Plain Park

The Muslim Tomb at Duxton Plain Park

Of special note is a tomb in the park, near the back door of one of the shophouses. Some believe it to be the tomb of Sharifah Rogayah, the granddaughter of Habib Noh, a famous 19th century saint. Despite claims by her descendants that she was buried elsewhere at Paterson Road, it appears to be the last surviving tomb of a former cemetery, which for mysterious reasons, escaped exhumation. It is now being maintained by a young boy named Mohamed Ridhwan, who believes he was instructed by Habib Noh to look for his grand-daughter.

Pedestrian underpass along Duxton Plain Park

Also calling this green spine home is the Chin Woo Athletic Association which holds training sessions on the premises. Members can be seen bearing martial arts weapons or rehearsing the lion dance, with drum beats echoing through the park.

Chin Woo Athletic Association training session at Duxton Plain Park

The completion of The [email protected] in 2009 adds a strong physical presence and with it, a new generation of residents who will come to remember Duxton Plain Park differently, imbuing it with fresh meaning.