Funeral Attendance

One of the woes of a migrant is that one has to start life all over again upon the move. As if we have to re-live our lives from a earlier stage again. No friends. No jobs. No place to stay. No memories of driving routes, good eating places and cheap shopping options. After all the basic needs are fulfilled the established migrant may have higher level needs.

The Singaporeans I meet up with are a group of very cheery people. No gatherings are ever short of food or laughter. So you will not expect them to have sombre thoughts like me. I always think I am the only one who thinks about death. Lately one of my friends here told me to relay a message to the spouse if death comes unexpectedly. Long ago, another one told me she was looking for friends to attend her funeral. That was quite an interesting way to make new friends. "Great to know you, I'm actually looking for friends to attend my funeral because all my friends who would are in Singapore. So I can't expect them to fly over because no air tickets are provided lah." Not the exact words but the idea is there.

This has been on my mind for a long time. I often wondered why people of the first world go on a relentless material pursuit and paper chase, subject their kids to do the same and make themselves so miserable. When we finally hit the dust, will any of these material possession matter? Probably not. The ashes of the poor looks the same as those of the rich, except for the type of container and the location where it rests. Does the dead really care by then? Even if there is such a thing as spirit and ghosts, does it make our ghost feel better because our ashes is resting on more expensive altars or worse if it is sprinkled to the sea? I wonder if ghosts can feel at all, if they even exist.

So if the accumulation of wealth didn't matter, what defines a successful life? How about the number of people who attends our funeral? The more the people, the more you matter to them isn't it? For example, none of us here will have more people attending our funerals as compared to someone like Lee Kuan Yew when if he dies. Woah. It will be difficult to tell apart who are the attendees who really cares, who are touched by the great man, who are there "on duty", who are there for personal gains, who are there to "show face" and who are there to say goodbye to their enemy. Perhaps being famous and powerful isn't such a great thing at all, especially if your ghost spotted someone who spitted on the coffin when your ex-body lies when nobody is looking. So does legacies, fame, power and the grand level of the funeral really matter in death?

Prior to meeting this friend  I thought I was the only one who has peculiar thoughts about our own funeral attendance. The thought of having three to four small cats turning up at a small budget funeral so silent the attendees can hear mosquitoes draw blood is sad indeed. But I've come to realise a funeral for the common folks like us is more for the living than the dead. Attendees are there for the grieving families more than actually saying goodbye to the dead. (which is meaningless unless you expect the very dead corpse to sit up and wave goodbye in response) So with that - I am sure there will be more than a few cats turning up for my funeral because my spouse is a very nice human being as compared to me.

Hmm ... now the horrors at the thought of dying later than my spouse. The horrors, the horrors.

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