IT has become a trend in several Chinese provinces for descendants to hire “agents” to offer prayers and even cry at their ancestors' graves during the Qing Ming festival, reported Sin Chew Daily.
There are even companies offering such services to those working in cities and are unable to travel to their hometowns to honour their ancestors.
Besides cleaning graves and burning paper paraphernalia, the agents even provide 3G phone call services so that the customers are able to mourn “in front” of the ancestors' tombs.
Some creative agents also get “professional mourners” to cry in front of the grave for RMB300 (RM150) every 10 minutes.
Other advanced service packages could cost around RMB7,000 (RM3,500) for longer crying sessions, offerings, flowers and transportation fees for the mourners.
This trend has drawn widespread criticism with some saying it was awkward for the descendants to hire strangers to honour their ancestors.
> Nanyang Siang Pau reported that a 40-year-old woman committed suicide by jumping off a bridge after she was said to be unhappy over her son's mahjong addiction.
The woman, known only as Liu, was spotted crying at the edge of the bridge in Chongqing, China, and making a phone call on Saturday.
A passer-by was quoted as saying that he heard Liu call her son, saying “Take your time and enjoy the mahjong game, I leave first,” before jumping off the bridge.
It is learnt that the woman's 18-year-old son is a secondary school student who spent too much time playing mahjong with his friends.
Other News & Views is compiled from the vernacular newspapers (Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil dailies). As such, stories are grouped according to the respective language/medium. Where a paragraph begins with a >, it denotes a separate news item.
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