I was speaking with my brother yesterday about a few historical research articles that he had to be added on to the library at bruneiresources.com. He gathered the articles when he was at Tourism Unit and one of the projects which he did was to gather all the information about historical sites in Bandar Seri Begawan. One of them was an article on the rather unknown but quite famous graveyard across the road in front of the General Post Office or rather in the carpark yard of the TAIB Building.
A lot of us must have seen the grave or rather the walled part of it and there is a roof structure over it. I am not sure whether the younger generation if you passed by it actually realised it is a grave. The older generation know it as Kubur Dang Ayang or rather the Dang Ayang's Grave. Dang is the Brunei colloquial term for Dayang and Ayang is the name of that person.
I have not had the chance to read the said article but my brother described the contents of the paper to me. The grave is not exactly a grave as such and it may or may not contained the remains of one or more persons. It is a very sad story. Apparently in the old days, a sister and a male sibling was caught in an unlawful relationship (sumbang mahram is the Malay term). According to the laws then, the crimes must be punished by being stoned to death.
However nobody then had the heart to stone them to death but neither could they leave them unpunished. So they compromised. what they did was to build a cavern in the middle of the forest (remember most Bruneians in those days live along the river and this 'kubor' was about a mile inland then - so it is quite far from the other Bruneians) and forced the two of them to live in it. Some versions said only Dang Ayang was forced to live in it and some versions said both of them. The cavern was fitted with an air ventilation and presumably some food was left with them as there was supposedly a small chimney where smoke can be seen coming out of the chimney. This smoke indicated that they were still alive. They must have been kept there for a long while until one day no more smoke was seen coming out of the chimney and everyone presumed that she or they died.
According to elder Bruneians, the place was actually a mound and during the bombing of the second world war, the mound was flattened and up to now that's why there is no mound left. Nobody knew when the graveyard started to be walled but presumably someone did it because it is still technically a grave and up to now it is left there - to be left unknown and a rather sad testimony to an indescretion of a young Brunei lady.
PS. I finally managed to read the article and according to the research based on the gravestones found there, the lady in question named Raja Ayang was a member of the aristocracy (and whose father was said to be the son in law of the third Sultan) and most likely the crime was during the time of Sultan Sulaiman (circa 1432-1485). It was said that the lady realising what she committed was very serious that she and her entourage (so it wasn't just one person but the whole household) voluntarily went to to their deaths. Before the second world war, the mound was said to be as high as 10 meters but when bombed it was flattened with some saying that it is possible that the mound is empty in the first place.
PPS. I was chatting with my driver about my entry and he told me that his wife had studied another version in school as part of her Malay Literature class something along the line of a 'were-crocodile' (buaya jadi-jadian) and that she hid inside the cavern to escape from him. I will be getting more details on this one and maybe post this as well.