Not a ‘grave’ issue for the diehards


Family members paying their respects to their departed loved ones during the Qing Ming Festival at the Paya Terubong cemetery in Penang last year. This year, many families have to change their plans. — Filepic

DURING this period of the year, many people would have gathered at the graveyards and columbaria to commemorate their departed loved ones with food offerings.

But Qing Ming (Chinese All Souls Day) has been observed in a different way this year.

Due to the movement control order (MCO), everyone was told to pray at home.

This is essential to curb the spread of Covid-19, and ensure that no one plays a part in facilitating the spread.

To the descendants of Chinese heritage, this was as untimely as it got.

Qing Ming itself is one of the most important dates to the Chinese community. It fell on last Saturday this year.

Every year, even the most unfamiliar face within my circle of relatives would turn up to offer prayers to our departed as a form of respect and remembrance.

And I am sure everywhere, most would not fail to honour their ancestors with even the simplest form of offerings like flowers or fruits.

But in this period of a pandemic, it is important to make sure that we all play our part in keeping one another safe.

So far, we have not seen any arrest being made at the graveyards or columbaria. It meant nobody was caught disobeying the MCO by secretly visiting grave sites.

In my own circle, family members and friends have discussed ways to pay respects without thronging the cemeteries and columbaria.

Some decided to postpone their tomb sweeping plans.

Others fixed on setting up a simple ceremony at home to commemorate their deceased loved ones.

Either way, people have been complying with the MCO. At the same time, they are also coming up with the best way to observe the age-old practice.

Regardless of the way we choose to pay our respects, it’s really the heart and thoughts that count.

A simple practice could also be achieved with the best intentions and thoughts.

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