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Remembering ancestors on Qing Ming Day

CC Pung’s dose of philosophical musings.
Justice of Peace.
Tokoh Wartawan Sabah and Labuan.

It’s Qing Ming, a day when the Chinese people observe a ritual of remembering their ancestors and visiting their graves.

If my knees had been more cooperative, it would have been a visit that marked the 35th year of my dear Mum’s passing.

Mum’s grave is located at the main Chinese cemetery at Papar, side by side with Dad.

She told me a long time ago that she purchased the burial site years earlier.

It is supposed to have a good feng shui, at one of the highest elevations of the hilly cemetery.

It used to be a casual, east 3- instead trek from the car park.

But the climb has been taking more time over the years.

Physical burial and elaborate rituals were the norm  for taoist Chinese like my parents.

My mum, being the seamstress that she was, even sewed her own burial dress.

She had occasion to show me, rather morbidly, that rather delicately embroidered piece.
With modernity trumping tradition in many aspects of our lives, funerals are changing.

While elaborate funerals are still common, more and more are toning down on the ceremonies.

Many are opting for egalitarian resource-saving approack: no coffin, no portrait,  no funeral service, no wreath.

Just cremation, no urn, never mind the ashes.

That sounds good for me.

I’ll be forgotten sooner than I think, and no urn, nor tomb stone nor portrait is necessary.

Come to think of it: why do I want to be remembered?

If I have meant something to my children or anyone, they’ll remember me or something about me.

I remember my mother. She’s etched in my memory whether she has a grave or not.

Grave sites take up space. Burial sites are costing more as land becomes scarce.

Developers are preying on the vanity of people who, with money and fame, somehow think that their tomb must be akin to the extravagance when they were alive.

Philippines reminds me of the many paradoxes.

On one side of Manila, the less endowed have graves on top of graves

On another side of the city,  the rich built graves with attached facilities for the living, such as air-conditioned rooms.

Life is a show. If you died rich, rich death is an opportunity for another show, albeit without you. ha ha ha….

Editor :The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of Talantang.

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