The Bukit Brown Cemetery Documentation Project

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Tan Boon Hak (陳文學, ? – 1923, LTA Peg No. 1005)



Tan Boon Hak was a timber merchant and also a cousin of Tan Kah Kee, who was a prominent Chinese businessman and philanthropist.

Grave characteristics: The grave of Tan Boon Hak had elaborate reliefs sculpted from green stone imported from China. Besides depicting Chinese moral tales, the reliefs also included a unique sign of political affiliation in the form of the Chinese Republican Flag. This can be found at the centre-top of the headstone, just above the inscriptions. As the first flag of the Republic of China, the flag was also known as the "Five-coloured flag", where the coloured stripes represented the five great races in China's history, namely Han Chinese, Manchus, Mongols, Muslims and Tibetans. Widely flown even before the founding of the Republic of China by Chinese on the eastern coast, the flag was used mainly in Shanghai and the eastern parts of northern China from 1912 until 1928.