Tombstone Engraver Raymond Toh from Toh Hong Huat Trading

About the programme

Traditional Chinese stonemasons engrave names and dates on tombstones and columbarium plaques by chipping characters out on pre-cut granite stones. Watch stonemason Raymond Toh demonstrate this dying craft at his workshop and experience firsthand the modern process of granite engraving through sandblasting.

Book your tickets!

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Details

Programme Details

Language

Chinese

Ticket Price

S$40 (excluding eventbrite service fee)

Where

Cargo area of Woodlands East Industrial Estate (Block 22 Woodlands Link Singapore 738734)

Instructions

Please dress appropriately (e.g. long pants and covered shoes). Masks are mandatory. Bring along ear plugs and hand sanitisers.

Event may not be suitable for participants who are allergic to dust.

Participants must abide by the house rules set out by the host (eg. out-of-bound areas, use of toilet). Facilitators will brief participants before the start of the programme.

Please arrive 20 minutes before our scheduled meeting time for registration and temperature taking.

Please do not attend the event if you are feeling unwell.

Look out for our facilitators who will be wearing yellow or blue festival t-shirts.

Meet tombstone engraver Raymond Toh

Hello! I am Raymond Toh, the second-generation owner of Toh Hong Huat Trading. I joined this industry after completing my national service to help my father out as there was an overwhelming number of orders. The work was back-breaking as each headstone easily weighed over 150kg and we had so many of them!

Back in the day, my father and I also hand-carved the characters with chisels and hammers which often injured our hands and wrists. Hence, we started to experiment with handheld grinders to increase the efficiency of our work process. A few years ago, we took it one step further by adopting newer technologies such as stencils and sandblasting! Even as we continue to mechanise our work process to keep up with the times, I think there is an artistry and craftsmanship that remains at the core of our stonemasonry. This is something I look forward to showcase in the upcoming session in August!

More about Toh Hong Huat Trading

Toh Hong Huat enjoys a history of over 50 years. It was established in the late 1960s by first-generation owner Mr Toh Ah Kim as Yew Hoe Marble Trading. He first learnt the craft as an apprentice at Kheam Hock Road where several master masons used to operate. Before moving to its current location in Woodlands in 1997, the workshop was located at Lim Chu Kang and Sungei Kadut where the family resided. Running Toh Hong Huat Trading today is second-generation owner Mr Raymond Toh who has been working in this trade since completing full-time National Service in the early 1990s.

The stonemason trade is facing a steep decline today as sea burials and alternative afterlife arrangements grow in popularity. To keep the business running, Mr Raymond Toh has ventured into new grounds. Besides making panels for temples and niche plaques for the Mandai and Chua Chu Kang columbarium, he also does stone engraving for commercial buildings, swimming pool, and private houses.