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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Our last ancestor

Thanks for the warm wishes and condolences from some of you who have read this blog.

My uncle, aunt and dad have just returned from Singapore; from grandaunt's funeral and procedures which all ended on Tuesday morning.

I talked to Dad yesterday, and I was enlightened on the way funeral was conducted in Singapore.

I have attended only Christian/Catholic funerals so far and it has been nothing out of the extraordinary from our usual church services, etc.

My grandaunt was a Buddhist/Taoist and I was expecting that her funeral services were conducted in the conventional method that I used to see on TV or in other typical Chinese funerals; which include the circling of the coffin while conducting the prayers and rituals led by the Taoist priest who will be constantly ringing a bell.
Family will be dressed in white with the sack-like material hovering above their heads and burning incense and paper money while relatives come and pay their last respects.

My dad told me otherwise.
Grandaunt's funeral was conducted in a very elaborate manner; and in the local clan style; Teochew.

I was like, huh, what do you mean by Teochew style? I thought funeral is general in the Chinese customs?

Apparently not, so my dad says, as there was this Teochew association which performed the rituals.
They had praying and singing/performing of songs in Teochew, singing of filial piety and the great sacrifices made by our parents.
It was touching to the sentiment; if you understand the dialect/accent correctly, which was something my dad, uncle and aunt needed the translation from my aunts there.

It was not that they were not familiar with the dialect, they were all Teochew, mind you, but the accent was distinct from those that we speak over here.

The whole affair ended on Monday when grandaunt was cremated and her ashes were collected on Tuesday morning.

Also, I just found out that funeral services cost a bomb in Singapore as well, wow, it is really a FINE city to live in huh?

Grandaunt is now in a better place, and we pray for her eternal rest.

As a matter of fact, her passing marked the last of the ancestry line in our family on my paternal side.
She was the last of all my grandfather's siblings; the rest have gone to their rest (no pun intended) long ago.

She was 94, and was the oldest in the line. The other granduncles and my very own grandfather, also passed away at the ages of 82 and above.
Guess this was really a longevity gene which may be passed down to us as well?

With the passing of grandaunt, there will be no more way for us to track the origins of our ancestry and the root of our unique surname.

Rest in peace, grandaunt