Friday, October 24, 2008


1. Which is the best funeral you ever visited?
2. Which is the worst funeral you ever visited?

In our world, there are indeed formal funerals which the format might be different as westerns or joyous as Balinese… I indeed never visited such formal funerals (I view this as a good thing so far in my life), what I could remember is only the two funerals that I attended for my grandfather and grandmother – they were even not called as funerals. At the age of 7 and 12, I was brought to the hospital, and saw how my father (as a doctor and also as the son-in-law) to make them looked decent… I saw my father got his eyes red and tearing, but I was in a very strange mood – I did not cry, I was not very frightened, but after such “ceremony”, when I walked on the way to school in the chilly winter alone (I remember both happened in winter), I felt a bit “shame” – I am still not able to explain such mood, I guess in a youth’s mind, having someone dead in family is a bad thing that I also felt a bit angry.

So, neither really gave me the feeling of best or worst. The overall feeling is bad. Especially when I saw my grandfather lying there with wax yellow face, looked cold body, I felt regret on what I did during his last days of staying with my parents and kids – he was not a very pleasant old man in his last days – complained everything with bad temper, so we kids sometimes were not happy with him or just naughty to him.

Another funeral I missed but I think would be the worst in my life is my uncle’s funeral in LA. My 2nd younger sister, Liping was in charge of that when she was at University of LA. It was such a sad thing happened so far in our family. By only reading the letter from my sister, my heart was broken. My father kept quite and in deep sadness for almost the whole month… My uncle was raised by my father and died at 42 years old in the US due to liver cancer. He was deemed as the most achieving person in the whole family’s history.

3. Did you make any plans for your own funeral?

I never thought about this till I saw the question. Even now, I have no idea… The least thing I would like to think in my life so far is the day for my parents…no, I have been always avoiding to think about it. I know human has nature reaction when the time is there but that’s the only thing that frightens me to think over. As for me, if I think now, the “traditional Balinese” that was described by Peter sounds not bad. I wish when the day is coming, I feel restful and happiness in my mind and people who are around me are not so sad…

4. What are your thoughts on burial in the soil versus cremation? Which is better? Which is better for you? (And did you hear about the Swedish method, not yet sanctioned, where the body and the casket is frozen very very cold, and then vibrated into a powder...? Apparently very friendly for the environment.)

I refer cremation and bury the dust somewhere to be absorbed by the soil. As for the Swedish method, to get it very very cold may also consume a lot of energy which could be anti-environment…?:)

5. And finally: Isn't it just odd that the word funeral starts with fun...? What are your thoughts on the very word? And what is the word for funeral in your language, if your first language isn't English?

You raised an interesting point that the word of “funeral” starts with “fun…”, that’s what I expect happened in my funeral, as I said, not so much sad but more of restful and happiness for a life with fruitful joy and meaning. In Chinese, the translation of “funeral” means “a forum of mourning” – so it doesn’t mean “fun” and the Chinese funeral music is really sad which would bring your tears out naturally…. I guess that’s why inner side, I would prefer never to attend such funerals in my life.

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