Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Final Episode

I don’t see my grandmother often, in fact not even a dozen times, and though I wasn’t very close to her, still it is a painful loss. The wake lasted for seven days in Batam. I was there only on sixth day due to my work commitment. It is been years since I last went, I realize only when I saw the age prints on the faces of my aunties and uncles. I couldn’t recognize them all, but they were happy to see me. They just hold my hand and smile and I can feel the closeness of our heart, the bond of our blood.

I could see from far the lantern were red signifying longevity. The Chinese believes that if one hit the age of seventy, or has five generations under them, then one is consider to have enjoyed longevity and the death is not a sad event. The setup was more or less similar what we have in Singapore. Unlike here, there are some restrictions to be followed very strictly, one of which is all forms of gambling activities are not allowed, this included manjong or card games which the authorities in Singapore would not enforce most of the time, so we could only spend the night chatting or sleeping.

After midnight, it was consider the seventh day, everyone have to kneel around coffin to wake the decease up for a shower, change to her new cloths and take her meal, we then burned the paper house, car and money for her to bring along before she move on to her afterlife.

The next day which was the last day, I found out that Band is also in the restriction list. We went through the Buddhism ceremony, before the coffin is transfer to a van, a police petrol car would clear all traffic lights along the way and escort the convoy non stop from the funeral parlour to the crematorium.

I was told that the crematorium uses kerosene and not gas. After a short prayer, the coffin was send into the funnel. The memorial tablet was then brought back and setup in one of the uncle’s house. The ceremony is then considered as ended after we change into our daily clothes. In Buddhism, the living is supposed to let go the sorrow and move on as death is just part of life.

My aunty drove us to the jetty after a short rest, where we book the 5.30pm ferry to Singapore. It was full of people that were there for the “Batam one day tour”, we could see many tour guide holding the little flag, shouting all over the place. Thanks to the human traffic on this last day of the school holiday, our ferry was late for one hour. The sky was almost dark when the ferry left for Singapore, I took some photo with my K810i to kill my boredom along the way.

When the Rasa Sentosa Resort came in view, I know home is near, I am back in Singapore. Each time I attend a funeral, it keep reminds me how importance and precious life is, I must learn to treasure the times I have with my family even more.

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