THE candles and joss sticks were lit while a roast pig, duck and chicken were lined up in front of the tombstone together with fried noodles, chai kueh and a bucket of iced cordial.
It was just like a typical prayer ceremony but it was not the heavenly gods that were being worshipped.
It was a ceremony at a mass grave to ask for 4-D numbers so that punters would be able to strike it rich and donate to-wards the construction of a funeral parlour.
The Jalan Heng Choon Thian Chinese Cemetery committee came up with the peculiar way of raising funds recently.
It was the second time that the committee had resorted to getting a prediction of 4-digit numbers. The first ceremony was held on Oct 2.
“Our primary concern is to raise enough funds to purchase land for the funeral parlour. We have written to the government since 2005 to ask for an allocation of land nearby the cemetery but there has been no reply.
“We hope to build a funeral parlour because there are no other funeral parlours nearby,” said secretary of the Jalan Heng Choon Thian Chinese Ce-metery Caretakers Association, Chan Eng Poh, 41.
There are only two funeral parlours in Butterworth which are located in Sungai Puyu and Mak Mandin.
The temple committee had sought the 4-D numbers from a World War II mass grave where victims of Japanese brutality were buried.
The ceremony which lasted 14 minutes yielded only the numbers ‘370’.
“The spirit said that the fourth number is up to your in-terpretation.
“It urged punters to hold a prayer ceremony for the lost souls of the victims if they were to strike the number,” said Chan after the ceremony.
Chan said that the earlier prediction of the numbers 7073 during the Oct 2 ceremony came true.
“On Oct 9, a man from Johor Baru called to say that he had won the third prize with the numbers 0377 in the Singa-pore races.”