I have often wondered.Â If a person is not religious and never practise or follow any faith during his lifetime, what will be his funeral be? Â Â Now, I found my answer.
My uncle Lim is my mother’s elder sister’s husband.Â I remembered he used to take a lot of photos for us when I was very, very, very, very small.Â (LOL, that’s like four decades ago!).Â He opened this tiny, dusty bookshop at Love Lane where the St. Xavier Institution is.Â My auntie and uncle and their five children used to live at this low cost, one bedroom flat.
The flat is so small that each night, my auntie and cousins will need to mop the whole house so that they can sleep in the living room and sometimes, extended to the kitchen floor.Â I spent several school holidays with my mother there.Â Hahaha, as if their home is not small enough, my aunt even got my mom and I to stay there so that the twoÂ sis could catch up with their nasal ‘seng neng’ dialect.
It is very thrilling for me because back then, there weren’t many high rise buildings.Â So, each time I was there, my male cousin who is younger than me and I would go up to the roof top, which I think is 13-14 floors and we would throw bottle caps all the way down.
Uncle Lim passed away yesterday while he was eating.Â He is 83 years old.Â He just slumped over and that’s that.Â Chinese always add three years to the deceased age at their death.Â So, he is 86 years old.Â Lived a simple life eventhough his children are all doing well now.
Funerals. Ah…what can I say but I am apprehensive when I reached the funeral homes in Jalan Farlim.Â The last time I was there was three years ago, on May 1st 2003 for my own son’s funeral wake.Â Never mind, forget that.
Gosh, my aunt haven’t seen me for so long so no one recognise me when I was moving from place to place with my four kids (while atm was parking).Â Â I can’t recognise those photos grinning back at me either.Â There are big funeral wake, loud funeral wake and chaotic funeral wake there.Â Lucky, I remembered uncle’s surname is Lim.Â So, someone showed me which section he is at.
Praise God, uncle is given a very simple funeral wake minus any specific religious rituals.Â Great aunt I have who just allow uncle to do whatever he fancies (his refusal to pray to any gods).Â I am glad it is a simple one because I certainly hate to see my elderly aunt being put through the traditional Chinese funeral. Â So, the children did a simple set-up with a cross.Â But there are no big ‘I am the way, the life and the truth’ or the ‘For God so love….’ or ‘Whoever believes in me…..’ kinda banners that you usually see at Christian funerals.Â (Do you know that many non-Christian Chineses get very puzzled with these phrases?Â Unless you are in Christ, these Bible verses are not comforting but confusing.)
My kids – The older three actually have no qualms at all to view uncle resting.Â Â So, they look and they peek through the glass panel.Â We do not really know what prayers to offer, so I told my kids to just do a cross, ask God for His mercies and bring uncle to His Heavenly Kingdom.Â There aren’t any jossticks too.Â I bet Uncle, along with all the kind souls of this earth whom have lived a full life doing good deeds are granted their resting place in Heaven.Â God bless Uncle Lim and rest in peace.