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Thursday March 17, 2011

iPad and iPhone 4 among Qing Ming offerings for the dead

GEORGE TOWN: In a store here, there is an iPad going for only RM9.80, a 13.3-inch dual-core processor laptop for under RM12 and an iPhone 4 for a mere RM2.

There is one catch, though – while anyone can buy it, only the dead can use it.

Angeli Choo, 43, a Chinese prayer item shop worker in Burmah Road, said paper replicas of electronic items are getting more popular with customers buying prayer paraphernalia for the Qing Ming Festival (Chinese All Souls’ Day).

“Customers want their dearly departed to be able to keep up with the latest in information technology (IT), besides the usual ‘luxury’ offerings of bungalows with maids and security guards, watches, designer bags and gold ingots. The ‘iPad’ even comes with a USB cable for charging and syncing,” she said.

When the dead go digital: Choo showing a paper replica of an iPad and electronic items at his shop in Burmah Road.

Even the specifications are literally out of this world. While the current largest storage size for iPads in our world is 64GB, the “other world” users are already using iPads with an auspiciously whopping 888GB!

Miniature luxury cars and electrical appliances are also popular items, according to James Ong, a retail supervisor at the Bee Chin Heong prayer item shop in Kimberley Street.

“The Toyota Alphard MPV, BMW 6 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class are among the favourites.

“LCD television sets are also in constant demand,” he said, adding that most paper replica products were available within two weeks after the real stuff hit the market.

“Whatever people have and enjoy in real life, they want their departed ones to have,” said Lim Say Saik, a businesswoman who has been in the prayer paraphernalia business for over 20 years.

Families will visit their ancestors’ graves and clean up the tombs during the Qing Ming Festival which falls on April 5.

Lim’s catalogue of paper replica products rivals any hypermarket, with thousands of products in various categories, including food and beverage, clothing, cars, motorcycles, consumer electronics and even boats.

“You don’t have to worry when you die,” she said.

However, no information is available on Internet solutions and pricing for the afterworld.

Perhaps the ancestors will have to figure out their own monthly plans and device commitments.

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