Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Are you prepared for your eventual death?

In Asian societies, most people will refrain from talking about death, in whatever context. I feel that it is really interesting as people will find it a taboo to talk about something that will definitely occur to everybody.

Dying is the only equalizer for everybody, so the wise man says. However, it seems that nobody wants to talk about it. Although most religions evolve around death, or rather the fear of death, but in modern days, most religions have become a "tool" for us to pray for prosperity and safe living!

There philosophical side of death as well as the practical side. The long old argument of life after death will continue to go on and on but the simple practical aspect of what to do with the body, remains, ashes, what kind of urn to buy for the ashes, what kind of rituals, distribution of the money left by the deceased etc have dominated the agenda of those living in dealing with the dead.

Most of the time, the living will even take the opportunity to "make use" of the dead to ensure prosperity for themselves! i.e. choose the "best fengshui site" for burial or placing the urn of ashes. It seems strange to me because if religion dictates that once a person is dead, he will either go to heaven or hell or reincarnated into animals or human again, then would the dead be bothered with his own remains or ashes? But it seems that it is the living that is more concerned about the dead's ashes.

There are many different rituals for the dead, in the name of doing good to the dead as well as the living. The "price tags" on these rituals are not cheap at all. It seems that it is a very lucrative business in dealing with the dead. But it will also mean that the living will have to bear a big bill on dealing with the funeral for the dead.

On the other hand, there are people who will always want the "BEST" for the dead. This is intriguing in the sense that if the person is dead and gone to whatever places (depend on what your religious belief is) he or she should go, then could the dead really "enjoy" the "BEST" things that you are trying so hard to provide AFTER being dead?

It is also interesting to note that many people have many apprehension about being dead and how a funeral should be conducted. There are many mixture of folks tale, custom belief and religion in carrying out the funeral. In the end, money are spent based on the "fear" of "not doing enough" for the dead as well as the living.

I believe everyone of us should spend some time in contemplating on our eventual death itself. Our will should also include how we want our funeral to be, what need to be done and what need not to be done. Else, those we left behind will suffer unnecessary financial expenses.

Goh Meng Seng

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