And Why Not?

A taboo subject which nobody likes to tread but should we avoid it? One’s own funeral – stone cold frightening – some of us said they’d avoid seeing.

Am I the only brave one? Don’t think so. Are you also like me?

Many years ago a head of department whom I knew who passed away due to cancer, planned her own funeral – I remember singing the hymn, one of things that she selected herself when she was still with us.

So when there’s a service for one’s customized pre-planned funeral, I was curious and took a look, asked questions, mulled over it, and went for a second appointment in the office of the company in Sin Ming Road. Young boss in her late 20’s following her father’s established business. Smack all round me along the four walls were respectable looking “boxes” – white, mahogany in gloss/matt finishing, slim looking – slim is the “in” thing nowadays, why, even coffin designers are joining the fray.

So we went through the checklist – flowers that I like or dislike? Some ideas how to start building up your photos for a montage if you like, how you’d like to be clothed, the venue for your resting place and the place of the wake, even the catering, even a collection box that’s secured – and how many would you expect to be visited, LOL, and what is your budget. Nothing new to know about, but I see – this is a personalized service and my body will be handled with utmost respect by the same gender, and I will not shock my loved ones and friends when my hair is skillfully coiffeured. And it’ll not be so mournful – it’ll be a time to reflect and celebrate my life.

My friends are quite puzzled, amused – why need to do this? Never heard of this kind of service and anyway, this will be taken care of by our loved ones – let them handle, they say. But how about opening your mind to it and maybe it’s the beginning of one’s acceptance of one’s mortality and overcoming the fear of death. My time will come so I’d rather plan it and spare my family of all the preparations and work – but knowing my wishes, family and friends (and I too) will have peace of mind knowing that funeral arrangements are done according to my wishes.

Sounds too morbid to talk about it? Someone told me this morning that I’m too perfect. True,true, got my will done, all my insurance mapped out. Do you ever think about it? My friends had a good laugh. Will you too?

7 thoughts on “And Why Not?

  1. Hi Susan

    Not morbid at all to me. Although I have yet to make plans, I am in favor of planning our exit the way we would like it to be.

    Do not like to bother loved ones or frens, for that matter, to stress over the what/how/should/should not.

    Most importantly, they may screw up and I may be dressed in an outfit which I absolutely HATE; not to mention the wrong color, the photo which shows all my freaking wrinkles and stuff like that. Gosh, can’t even rest in peace.

    “….but knowing my wishes, family and friends (and I too) will have peace of mind knowing that funeral arrangements are done according to my wishes.” Exactly!

    Your meticulous planning – with the Will done, insurance taken care of etc, not forgetting your checking out the customized service gets the thumbs up from me!

  2. In my contacts, I came across a Insurance Agent ( was my agent) will make such an arrangement. He will tailored a policy plan ( you save regularly ) to finance aspect of the funeraal package that one wishes to have upon report to heaven OR on Journey to West.

  3. Hi Susan

    I think you are a real 21st century women. Totally confident and capable of looking after yourself, even until death. It is indeed refreshing to read your post especially now, at the end of 7th Month when the spirits are active making their final rounds before returning to wherever they came from, till next year.
    I stood fascinated at Boon Lay Jurong just now, watching a 7th month celebration including a puppet show with quite large dolls. The life music was so good I want to add them to my CD collection but the performers don’t understand my Mandarin and they laugh at my Hokkien……I only know vulgar words.
    Have you consider what kind of activity you would have in your wake? The reason I ask is because I don’t know what I should have for myself. For my body, it will be simple, burn it and spread the ashes in the forest and the sea. They can burn me naked if they like. But we do need a wake for the sake of those who have memories of us. It gives THEM comfort. I don’t want any preachers to sell their services and tell lies at my funeral. Chamber music will nice.
    I will value your advise .

  4. Hi Geraldine, Yes, squaring up to the reality of life, and the great beyond, or what Tonio says “journey to the west” or to put it nicely “after life” haaahaaa… probably what some people are thinking of. Too early for you to plan, Ms SHC, you’re still in the prime of your life.

    And Tonio, the insurance policy plan was also offered but to buy it now, not young any more, is a disincentive due to higher premium to be paid. Cleverly the company offered a carrot – if I pay in one lump sum I will get a good discount. Buy the insurance now and if “it” happens sooner than I want, I “untong” lor. Haiya, see how.

    Hello Tian Soo – I always enjoy your regaling SHC with your stories and tales, or what we used to call during our school days “fables”. I still remember your worm story but forgot the details, errr…… I missed your subtle jokes and have been waiting patiently and am I glad to see your re-appearance. Welcome back.

    The 7th month festival did enter my mind yesterday “are we still in the 7th month?” as I scrutinised the dates in my calendar – it’s only 1 day more to go before we bring in the happy Lantern festival month but don’t care la, I was feeling very contemplative.

    I did some curious searches on Google to get some answers myself – just keyed in “funeral arrangements” – wah, lots of things to see. Like the idea of a poem and in our own local context I saw a picture of a rock-acoustic band gathered at a funeral wake doing a live performance for their departed friend who shared their common passion for this kind of music. Chamber music is what you like? I can’t decide yet but it will not be a rock type for me. So my advice is, just Google. Are you serious leh?

    “More choosing to celebrate the life of the deceased” – headline also from a Singapore story. Though the numbers do not seem to support this statement I have a feeling that this will be the new funerals of the future, hmmmm perhaps slowly, slowly. Just curious am I the odd-one-out?

    But waitla, not too soon to go yet – yeah, life is short but we are all like a bad penny cant disappear too soon – life at SHC too good to let go and disappear.


  5. Hi Susan

    Great that you have your Will done, and insurance mapped out which will make
    things easier for your family members when you are gone. But just a reminder,
    that you also need to draw up an LPA (Lasting Power of Attorney) and AMD (Advance Medical Directive). If you are not aware of these documents, please check these up. I think they are more imprtant than the Will.

  6. Can i add my thoughts here. I seldom attend wakes..except those if close frens.. And janet’s was one. She had it all organised before she left.. Down to the last detail for orbiturary. Amazing!

    Well its a resounding yes for me too.. When my time comes.. I will like to plan out the details…. Hmmm. Someone told me he already had his planned out.. And he is in top form of health… Hmmm.

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