Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Grandma's Funeral; The Continuation

Continuing from the previous entry about my grandmother's funeral. You guys are probably bored of it. No more condolences, please. I am fine now, thank you.
It's just an update and to document what happened.

I went back to Danga Bay for the night. Chatted with Chris Tock for over an hour. How nice of him! Suling also said I could call her whenever I was emo, but I never was. It was mostly shock, I was rather in denial.

Day 2, 17th November.

I woke up at 11AM, having hope that my grandma would be on the sofa watching Channel 8 as usual. Nope, I was all alone. It was starting to sink in.

This was part of the living room. Popo's biscuits, medicine, chicken essence, and calender. It's always that Chinese one, never changes.

My mom came to pick me up at around 2PM. I thwot I had to swear the white socks, such trouble. White tee and socks. Aren't we supposed to wear dark colors for funerals?

Mommy said I was to wear the socks only when we prayed. Which was a 3-hour Buddhist prayer/ nonsensical chanting EVERYDAY. It starts between 7-7.30PM. Before that, we do things like folding hell money which will be burned to help warm the Earth a little. Isn't North Pole chilly? Why don't we just melt the ice for you guys?!

It's crazy, I swear. Whut's up with all this.

Even though the bag was right beside my cousin's side, why didn't she throw it in herself?

'Cus I wanted to gather all of them and put it in together!

Food was a great aid. Kept our thoughts off everything and helped us lighten up to chatter a little and laugh. This fried banana is DELICIOUS.

Looks shitty with my 2 mega-pixel cellphone camera but it's lovely. Most fried stuff are delightful, aren't they?

For one KDU workshop, the lecturer for Hotel Management was teaching us how to fold napkins in this shape. He asked, "What is this?"
"GOLD!" I said, thinking about my grandfather's funeral.
"Ahem* It's the bishop's hat." (Origami's point of view, I see.)

Now, all I think of it is a hat rather than hell gold.

No comments.

I bet you one of them is Guan Yin Niang Niang. I love Buddhist goddesses, they look so beautiful and peaceful.

I folded this for you, Popo. Too bad it's useless. :[

I needed rest from all the paper hell-money-folding. So I went to have a look at grandma. Suddenly, this dude working there asked me why I wasn't burning money and asked if anybody told us to do this job, etc. What?! He proceeded to light a candle and grab a bundle of hell money and did a demonstration for me.

We had to consistently burn badly printed paper for grandma so she can have enough money in Nirvana. If we're tired, we can take short breaks but this is REALLY important. Ouh-kay, sir.

I ended up sitting there for 2 hours passing paper down the steel container filled with ashes. Above it was some sort of chimney, LOL. I don't know, a smoke vacuum or some shitz. Good, smart religious people, the room won't be polluted with smoke now.

Look at the stacks! I thinking, "4 more days. 10 stacks. 2 each day, the rest for folding." I've got it all under control, Granny.

This is believed to turn into money notes in heaven when burned.

I love the red candles, it's so spooky. Like vampires would use them for rituals.

We wanted to move the candle nearer to the metal container 'cus we wanted to sit nearer to observe how/when the paper burned. Anyways, some of the paper were misprinted. The golden rectangle was sometimes at the top right corner and stuff, what will that become in Nirvana, MISTER!? Counterfeit money, won't it?

I was getting impatient after an hour of gently honoring Popo by passing down each single piece one by one. Hell, to quicken up the pace, I threw two every second.

Wonder how we make the COOL spiral thingie?! I'll teach you! You place the stack of papers on your palm, with your other hand, use your index finger and press it gently in the middle. Start making wavy movements with the hand that's holding the papers finger by finger in smooth motion. Usually from the pinky to your thumb, after a while...

Voi la! Cool spiral thingie :D

First time I did this, was my grandpa's funeral. I walked my middle and index finger down like it was the stairs.

Grandma's gonna be so happy in Nirvana with this huge mansion and two cars with chauffeurs drawn in it.

I can't take it anymore! Don't you find ALL OF THIS so ridiculous? I observed the paper car and it had "Mercedes Benz" on the wheels, and even a drawing of a man at the driver's seat. Isn't Nirvana like, nothingness or something?! Oh my, you forgot the utensils and cutlery for the mansion. How is she gonna cook?... AND THE MAID, who's gonna take care of my grandma? I don't see any paper Colgate toothpaste, doesn't she needa brush her teeth?

No? 'Cus she's in heaven. Okay, what's all this for then? Period.

I guess these are the people protecting her.

I was occupied with all these questions and religious debate. What for, I was missing Popo. I went back to burn money after taking a short walk in the parlor.

*ding ding* Lunch time. One thing I was pleased about was the food. Vegetarian meals all the way. Go Buddha!

I did a lot of folding because SOME inconsiderate lazy cousins just sat around doing nothing without offering a helping hand. NEVER DID AT ALL. I like doing the Bishop's Hat.

Pardon me for the crappy quality. We received over a dozen regards with pretty flower decorations.

I now know why they send flowers. It fills the air with sweet scents that refreshes your soul! I was gratefully taking deep breaths as I passed by them, a whiff of fragrance could be smelled.

It is important for you to go to good flower boutiques. Nice flower arrangement, sweet messages on nice signboards. Even though it might get a little bit pricey.

Unlike some people. Spelling error ruins everything, really. Crappy looking flower stands doesn't help much. Cheapo!

Well pardon me.


I returned to my seat after getting sick of the noise outside. The family tfriends and distant relatives all chattering and gossiping like it was Chinese New Year. I had a feeling that I wanted to do this forever, just to stay with Grandma. Just so that I could see her everyday. I feared the day she would be buried. I could never see her again.

This is only a quarter of the whole stack.

The fire warmed me. It was slightly entertaining to watch it flicker and die out then jump up back in flames.

I went back to Popo's place at 11PM. When I was in the kitchen making myself a drink, I still thought I'd see Popo walking in asking what I was doing and what I would be doing later.

Nope. It was Mother and I. "Popo is really dead." I tried to get it in my head, but you know. The whole shock, denial, unbelief thing. It takes some time for you to accept it.

Day 3, 18th November.

Darn, it's MORNING ALREADY?! It's been the same repetitive things each day. I wake up, shower and change into the white T-shirt and black jeans and carry the socks along for the bloody 3-hour long prayer meetings.

I go to the parlor and either fold or burn hell money. This day, it was the silver notes.

The monks sit around this table, hitting the wooden instruments in a tempo and drink water when their mouths get dry. This is one table I do not wish to ever see again in my whole life.

Asia Conference was starting the next day. Tze and I left at night to at least make it for the opening. I brought most of my stuff with me and conveniently left my luggage in my hostel. I shall blog about Asia Conference is another entry.

Day 4, November 19.

WHAT SUCKED WAS, we had to leave at 3 to make it in time for the bloody prayers. I only got to attend ONE elective and we had to go. We missed the second session, GREAT. We reached Malaysia just for it started to jam up, so I thank God for that.

The pick-up point was Hong Leong Bank. Funny, I even forgot where it was when I came here a thousand times the past 2 years. It been so long.

After the whole prayer thing-a-ma-jiggy, it was time to BURN MOTHAFUCKA BURN! burn the paper of arts and craft. With all honesty, all I could think was how stupid this was and global warming. You can't expect me to wave my arms hysterically to stop them from the whole Buddhist funeral process.

All of us held incenses and bowed down in respect. We watched as the flames grew. It got so hot we had to step a few meters back. It felt like the sun, a mini nuclear explosion. (I know it's nothing compared to it.)

Hell. Lake of fire. A million times worst than this. We're actually IN it, burned and in pain, screaming for mercy. It's too late, we had all the time in the world to change. Stubbornness, pride and sinfulness brought us here. I thank God I'm alive. I still kept the thought of Popo being in hell away.

As the fire engulfed the house, cars, money, all we did was stare silently. I could feel the pores on my face opening due to the heat. The size of the fire shrank, centimeter by centimeter. By the time we knew it, it was just a small campfire (-.-) I stayed till I couldn't wait for the fire to die.

We stayed in a very new hotel, the Grand Paragon. Located beside the New York Hotel and some other hotel which I forgot. Strange, 3 hotels barely 2 blocks away from each other. Could it be... like some hotel triangle competition?

I LOVE THE CARPETS! So soft and smooth. It hasn't been stained or dirtied by old/frequent customers or tenants (whutver), hmm.

FLUFFY BED, AIR-CON, AIR-CON! I haven't slept with air-con since God knows when. Wait, when I stayed over my friends' place, BUT THAT'S NOT COUNTED.

Blue's Clues thinking chair!

Doesn't this picture remind you of something? No...?

I was annoyed that someone was smoking in the room, so I left to take a walk along the corridors. I felt creeped out for some reason, maybe that's because it resembles HOTEL 626.

The Last Day; November 20.

Bloody 8AM. Argh, burial day. BURIAL DAY?! I calmly reminded myself. Chill, not yet. The praying pretty much killed my sadness, I felt miserable attending the funeral now. I was no long depressed, I was fcuked up about the whole ritual.

I guess that's a good thing.

Breakfast was great. I had cheese omelette, yummy! Crunchy, fresh cereals with cold milk. I wish I could have buffet breakfast everyday! It was about RM$75 per person, or was it RM$70?

We were sent to the cemetery after gathering at the parlor. We were told not to look at the coffin when it was being carried into the van.

It it because it's rude? I doubt so. Maybe they think you'll get bad luck. As we all know Chinese superstition...ugh. We arrived at some far away land where concrete blocks and marble statues with the deceases' name and portrait were displayed.

It's a Buddhist cemetery.

While walking midway, we were told to turn our back so we wouldn't even have a glance at the coffin being placed in the earth. What is up with that?! We're gonna see it anyways and I did have a glimpse. =O

It's always on the first and last day when they really start crying. I never cried or mourned. It felt weird for me to see my cousins crying. I never have before. We did another prayer for 30 minutes. I was just hoping for it to end already. All of us had to grab a tough ball of earth/soil and throw it at the coffin.

That's nice. :l

Woohoo, I thought we were done but we weren't. We had to go back to Grandma's condo and do some religious stuff again.
It was a beautiful day though; baby blue skies hovered by thick, bright clouds. I wasn't feeling it. Not one bit.

Sorry for the horrible grammar. I haven't proofread it. It's like bloody 8.30AM. I didn't sleep for a day. This post was written on the 29th of November. I'll edit the post when I wake up and actually read the whole thing over again. For now, GOOD MORNING EVERYONE.


§pinzer said...

good morning Zoe!! you're looking good :) reading your post reminded me of that time my Uncle passed away from an accident... and all these things ensued after it.

i have to say it's a really refreshing take of a bhuddist ceremonial burial in the eyes of a Christian, an innocent one at that too!

Missyve said...

Refreshing?! Whut the O.o

Good mourning to you too! hhaha, I would say I said quite some mean but honest things too.