Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Bubble Tea

It's that time of the year again, where we would go clean up the tombs of the late loved ones, and bring them lots of food and "money".

The Mandai columbarium was filled with people, joss papers and joss sticks, food, smoke and ashes. I pretty dread going there over the weekends for Qing Ming. You had to queue like an hour plus before you can get your car parked. It's smoky and hot, with little children running about, people talking loudly ... I was thinking if I want to be put in here for some eternal peace and quiet, I certainly wouldn't be getting any for at least a few times of the year.

During such events, it involves quite a fair bit of waiting. During these times, I would roam about the place, looking at the stone tablets of the deceased. It usually captures my attention if I see a particular young picture.

I was reminded of one time, when I was there offering prayers to my father, it was a very quiet day. The niche opposite my dad's was recently "occupied". There were some offerings on the floor, but there wasn't much food. What caught my eye was a plastic cup with a colour straw. It was a cup of bubble tea.

My eyes shifted to the stone tablet to which the offerings were left for. The picture was a young boy, and upon calculation of the date of birth and death, the deceased was a twelve year old. This led to my recollection some time ago when I was there, I saw this pair of young parents, who were looking at the stone tablet sadly. The woman was wiping her tears.

No doubt the parents of the deceased would be heartbroken. But how much do we know about their pain? I kept wondering, did the boy die of a long disease, or was it an accident? No matter what caused the death, this pain would shadow the parents for the rest of their lives.

I have never been a parent. So it really makes me wonder how can the parents of the deceased ever get over the death of their child?

I only hope that, one day, should i have kids of my own, I would pass on before they do.