Good time to reflect on filial piety


  • Focus
  • Tuesday, 09 Apr 2019

Family members paying their respects to their dearly departed during the Qing Ming festival at the Batu Gantong Cemetery in Penang.

THEY are getting more creative these days when it comes to paper offerings for those in the netherworld.

From the Musang King durians, health supplements, dim sum to life-sized vehicles – you name it, they have it.

Filial descendants are certainly spoilt for choice these days during Qing Ming (Chinese All Souls Day).

In China, it’s getting ‘trendy’ where cemetery managements in major cities help to sweep tombs for those who cannot make it to the graves of their ancestors.

Workers would visit the grave, clean it and record the entire process in a video. The descendants would be billed between 100 yuan (RM60) to 500 yuan (RM304) for each visit.

Such services are popular for those who are busy, living abroad or too old to move around.

Since young, we have been told that the festival is a time for us to get together for a common purpose – to show respect for our ancestors.

The annual pilgrimage to cemeteries or columbariums, 10 days before or after the actual day, holds the promise of uniting the families.

Besides paying homage to our departed loved ones, the festival is also actually a time when I get to meet my relatives.

A few days ago, my dad called and his words still keep ringing in my ears.

“Qing Ming is not about what you burn for your grandpa, or the food offerings that you give.

“It is to remind us of the good times that we had with him,” my dad said.

Feeling guilty and sorry, it’s indeed food for thought for me to reflect on my inner being.

After leaving my hometown Ipoh for Penang several years ago, I have been making time for my friends above anything else.

I planned holiday trips with them, but get frustrated easily when planning one for my family.

We always assume that all’s well in the family, and forget that they too, need our love and care.

Times have changed and nowadays we tend to get too attached to our smartphones than talking to our loved ones.

In this IT world, gadgets and electronic devices are ‘double-edged swords’.

While it connects us and keeps us updated on what’s happening around the world, over-reliance on digital devices can also limit our social development and face-to-face interaction.

The Asian society always prides itself on filial piety and respect for elders.

Perhaps, we should spend more quality time with those who matter most in our lives. Shower them with love and care.

It’s really the kind thoughts and actions that count, as technology will never replace the need for the understanding of a face-to-face interaction.

I, for one, will start doing that, since Ipoh is a mere two-hour drive away from Penang.

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