Wednesday, October 22, 2008


1. Which is the best funeral you ever visited?

Two weeks ago I was a bystander to a traditional Balinese funeral which is by far the best and most joyous celebration of life at a funeral I’ve witnessed. Much of Bali is Hindu and they believe that the spirit is released through ritual cremation. The body is placed into a cremation tower which is then paraded down the middle of the village on the shoulders of men. The women dress colourfully and carry white umbrellas – there are drums and singing, music and movement. See

for photos and more information on Balinese funerals.

2. Which is the worst funeral you ever visited?

Easily my wife’s cousin’s funeral who died tragically in his early twenties. Lives cut short, children dying before parents – these are the worst and most difficult to process.

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

What a happy thought! No but I certainly should given earlier remarks on the importance of responsibility. I need to get my Will in shape though like Bianca, I have given some thought to music – perhaps some Jeff Buckley and Queens ‘Who wants to live forever?’...

Who dares to love forever?
When love must die
But touch my tears with your lips
Touch my world with your fingertips
And we can have forever
And we can love forever
Forever is our today
Who wants to live forever
Who wants to live forever? Forever is our today

4. What are your thoughts on burial in the soil versus cremation? Which is better? Which is better for you?

Cremation is for me I think after all that is useful to others has been removed. Like Bianca I am a declared donor and what remains might be scattered off the coast where I was born or across some mountains in Tasmania where I have walked.

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?

Yes but the etymology of the word doesn’t suggest that ‘fun’ is the origin. Nonetheless, I agree with Brett that a joyous celebration of life with a few jokes is probably the way I’d like to be seen out. Ideally, I would have Larry David (from Curb Your Enthusiasm and Seinfeld fame) give the eulogy.

No comments: