Funeral Rites Final

28 09 2008

Today, my mother-in-law was finally laid to rest via cremation at the Fairy Park cemetery in Sendayan. There was a band to play some sombre music, which would also make it a grand sending-off for her. We were asked to have one final look and say our goodbyes before the coffin was really nailed shut for good.

As per Chinese custom, we looked away while they nailed the coffin shut and again, when they brought it out into the road for final rites. The hearse was estimated to leave at around 1.00 pm. Interestingly, only then did I know that all bereaved, relatives and friends would follow behind the hearse while the sons-in-law (and grandsons-in-law) would travel in front of the hearse.

If you note the tall red banner flag from the picture above, it actually has writings on it that glorifies the deceased and it is meant to represent the sons-in-law honouring their mother-in-law. Chinese customs deem a son-in-law as ‘fu-ma’ (emperor’s son-in-law) that have married the family princess, thus it is right for a ‘fu-ma’ to glorify the princess’ family.

I was asked to do the honour of carrying the banner flag for the family.

A short walking journey ensued from the house till the main road, before we all got into a bus to travel to Fairy Park. There, we witnessed the symbolic push-in of the coffin into the crematorium before we were asked to leave.

We rested at the waiting hall, where all the bereaved kin were asked to remove their mourning clothing to symbolically avoid bad luck associated with death. We then feasted on roast pig meat that was presented by the sons-in-law as a tribute to the deceased. We then left and got back to the house, where final rites were made to allow her tablet to be placed at the ancestral altar temporarily.

She had lived a long and fruitful life, surrounded by many relatives and friends. May she finally rest in peace.

Funeral Rites III

27 09 2008

Most of the people here are quite tired by today, as it has been four days and three nights of endless activities, rituals and rites.

The coffin was symbolically ‘shut’ to signify a separation of the dead from the living. Before it was shut, all of us were asked to place some ‘scripture money’ inside her coffin, so as to enable her to carry it forward into her reincarnation and be reborn into a wealthy life. The real nailing shut of the coffin would be done tomorrow.

Nearing the end of tonight’s rituals, it was time to burn the paper house, car, effigies and ‘hellnotes’ that were folded since the first day of ritual. It is hoped that she would not need to toil in the afterlife with all these ‘wealth’ sent to ease her journey in the other world and bribe her with the officials of the other world so that she may be allowed to be reincarnated.

Well, that’s it for the night rituals. Tomorrow, she will finally be laid to rest.

Funeral Rites II

26 09 2008

Folklore says that when a person dies, the deceased will somehow come back in one form or another to have one last look at the living before the soul rests in peace. Well, if this is to be believed, then my mother-in-law  could be claimed to have come back to take one last look.

This leaf insect appeared this morning and stayed around till late at night. Some of the kids even teased the insect by calling out her name to it and if twitching is considered a response, then I guess we can console ourselves that she’s back for one last look.

It had been decided that she would be laid to rest by cremation this Sunday, the final resting place at Fairy Park in Sendayan. A notice was put up as per Chinese custom to inform all concerned.

Paper effigies were also sent here for rituals in time for burning tomorrow. The usual ‘material wealth’ to be ‘sent’ to her included a house, a car, a butler, a maid and plenty of servants.

Oh, not forgetting the modern-day handphone and (surprise!) ‘Astlo’ satellite entertainment.

'Nokkia' phone with Bluetooth accessories!

'Nokkia' phone with Bluetooth accessories!

'Astlo' satellite dish for Wah Lai Toi programs.

Ancient Chinese funeral rites were long and complicated. Back then, the bereaved family members were to kneel by the side of the coffin most of the time, even for meals and sleeping. They were expected to wail and cry loudly as a sign of respect and loyalty to the deceased.

Today however, as times have progressed and changed, modern funeral rites are more relaxed. Kneeling and crying has been kept to a minimal as and when necessary, and the bereaved are free to attend to anything that requires their attention.

Funeral rites resumes this evening, and will continue tomorrow.

Funeral Rites I

25 09 2008

Funeral arrangements started since last night, where the body was dressed properly and laid in a coffin. By noon most of the arrangements were in place and the wake started. Her sons and daughters-in-law, as well as her daughters, all wore black pants/white shirts, while the grandchildren all wore blue. Sons-in-law were exempted, as we are considered outsiders.

An interesting point to note is about the age written on the lantern above. Roman calendar dictates that she would be 65 years old but Chinese calendar would normally add one more year to take into account the nine months of one being conceived. How then does 70 years old get represented for her?

Chinese custom dictates that when one dies, three additional years are normally added, one each for Heaven, Earth and Mankind. So 66+3 = 69, right? One more was added due to the fact that she had ‘five’ generations of lineage when she passed away i.e. ancestral, herself, her children, her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren. So, all in it would be 69+1=70 years old. Interesting.

Anyway, Hokkien funeral customs meant that funeral rites started only in the evening.

Taoist funeral rites started from 7.00 pm to 11.00 pm, and will continue tomorrow.

Mother-In-Law Passed Away

24 09 2008

It is with deep sorrow to note that my mother-in-law passed away today. Madam Lew Wai Tai, aged 65, passed away after a brief illness at the Tuanku Jaafar Hospital in Seremban at 5.07pm, surrounded by kins and relatives.

Cause of death has been stated as septicemia in the Death Certificate. Arrangements are being made to bring the body home to her house in Seremban Garden for funeral rites.

During our day trip back last Sunday, we did drop by to see her for a short while. She was feeling under the weather but she did look fine generally when I saw her then. I guess I can’t get over the fact that she would be gone just days after last seeing her.

She had lived a prosperous and fruitful life, surrounded by many friends and relatives. The last few years of her life saw her leading a blind and immobile life, but she was generally upbeat about life despite the circumstances. Many saw her demise as her relief from her perceived sufferings of the circumstances. May she rest in peace.

Day Trip Back To Senawang

21 09 2008

We made a day-trip back to Senawang today to have a look at the house. This will likely be a monthly affair now that we’re staying in Klang for now. We left early at 10.30am from Klang, with the weather fairly shady making it just nice for a leisurely drive down. We reached Senawang around 11.30am decided to have an early lunch at King’s Cafe in Giant Senawang. Upon finishing lunch, we then headed to Taman Bandar Senawang.

A whole stack of letters were in the mailbox, waiting to be collected. Gotta remember to update the correspondence address for some of the mails. The saddest part about coming home is seeing the plants dying, and the lawn overgrown with weeds.

I think I’ll need to take a few days’ leave to come back and rectify the situation there. It breaks my heart to see my home in such a deteriorating state.

Anyway, I went about mopping the floor while the wife gave the kids a bath. Once everything finished, we just rested to enjoy the comfort of our own home for a while.

Going through the bills, mails and junks in the mailbox.

Going through the bills, mails and junks of the mailbox.

Julia seemed happy to have found her necklace again.

The wife and Jason just glad to be home.

The wife and Jason just glad to be home.

We dropped by to mom-in-law’s place briefly before we headed back to Klang at 3.00pm, tired. We’re glad that the home is still fine for now. Home is where the heart is, and my heart still goes for the house I have in Senawang.

Mooncake Festival Celebration

13 09 2008

The mooncake festival’s actual day is on Monday 15th Sept but like most people, it tends to be celebrated earlier on a weekend when everyone’s available for a gathering. Thus, the family gathered for dinner as usual today for this cultural celebration where we savour all sorts of ridiculous-flavored mooncakes.

Darrell and Jason vying for each other's attention.

Darrell and Jason clowning around.

My dad checking Jason's dirty hands for food scraps in the nails.

My dad checking Jason's dirty hands.

Miss hula-hoop preparing to show off.

After the dinner, it was time for the kids to play with the candles and lanterns.

"Yeah... I got a yellow lantern."

"Yaayy, I got myself a yellow lantern."

"Yaayy, I got myself a beautiful lantern too."

"Yayy, I have a pinkish lantern that goes with my shoes."

The kids are the happiest lot.

More lanterns being prepared by my dad.

More lanterns being prepared by my dad.

The clown prince hamming it up for the camera.

The clown prince hamming it up for the camera.

Move over, Chang-Er. The smiling moon fairy is here.

Move over, Chang-Er. The smiling moon fairy is here.

The missus gets the son to join the fun.

The missus gets the son to join the fun.

"Gimme the camera, I wanna take pictures too!"

"Gimme the camera, I wanna take pictures too."

"Oh well, gimme the lantern then."

"No? Oh well, gimme the lantern then."

The two girls were actually having mild fever since yesterday, but all that was forgotten temporarily during the happy moments playing and having fun with each other.

Not in the best of health, but still happy.

Not in the best of health, but still happy.

Two's company, third one's a clown in the making.

Two's company, third one's a clown in the making.

It was time for a ‘showdown’ to see who was the Clown Prince of the night.

First, the reigning champion…

Next, the new contender…

And the winner is……… (drumroll, please)………

Rats! I hate losing but I gotta admit, the new kid on the block out-cute me by a mile.

The winner trying to get the last word in. Sudah lah...

Haircut For The Kids

10 09 2008

The weather’s been kinda erratic lately, so we decided to give the kids a haircut to make them feel refreshed.

Julia got hers cut into a short bob, done at Quick Cut Giant Bukit Tinggi for RM15 on 30th August.

We gave Jason the fastest and quickest style – crewcut. Done at a barber shop at Klang for RM5 on 9th September.

Jason Walks The Walk

4 09 2008

FINALLY! After months of trying to get Jason to walk on his own unaided, he has finally managed to gather the courage to do so today, exactly one year and one month after being born. The stubborn lil’ fella is actually strong enough to walk but probably lacked the confidence to do so in the past.

We’ve been trying to training him to walk by holding his hands, first with two hands then eventually on one hand. Slowly we tried to let go the hands and today things seem to go according to plan.

And off he goes...

And off he goes...

He seemed excited, and naturally we cheered him on.

Look mommy, I can walk.

Look mommy, I can walk.

Let's go, let's go...

Let's go, let's go...

Kids will be kids. When he starts to walk a bit, he quickly wants to go somewhere already. And he’s taken the car keys too!

Now to see when he’ll start to talk the talk.

"Can walk means can drive lah..."

"Can walk means can drive lah..."