Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Qing Ming Adventures Part I

Slept at 2am after completing my final essay of the semester *phew* and woke up at 6.30am to head out for Qing Ming "grave sweeping". Today is the actual day of Qing Ming.

Since I'm such a klutz, I thought that today we were going to my maternal grandparents' grave. Instead, we went for my paternal grandparents side at Brights Hill and Bukit Timah's Bee Loh See. The systemization and commercialization of Qing Ming sickened me. At Bright Hill, we didn't have to bring anything, went to an aircon room, look at a piece of paper on the wall and paid out respect. All the food was prepared. Even burning of offers was done in a systematic way where a relay is formed from the people giving the offerings to the bangladeshi workers who then throws it in a swift motion straight into the big burning pit that is the end of your offering.

Nothing personal about the whole process at all. It was depressing. It totally undermines the entire purpose and meaning of Qing Ming. This corruption of our tradition with convenience speaks only of the generation's obligation to do something they do not necessary enjoy.

On the other hand, my maternal grandparents are at the crematorium in Mount Vernon where you are allowed to pay your respects and offer food and incense right in front of the urn-stone (since it's not exactly a tombstone). All of us chip in, chit chat, then proceed downstairs to burn the offerings together. After that we split the food and buy 4D of our grandparents "numbers" over breakfast. THAT is the true modern interpretation of Qing Ming. We do not need to be at a cemetery but the spirit lives on.

Photos to follow with Part II on April 16 when we head down to Mount Vernon for our second Qing Ming! Yay!

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