Costlier now to honour the dead

Pricier paraphernalia: A shop selling prayer items for Qing Ming in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur. — LOW BOON TAT/The Star

PETALING JAYA: The cost of Qing Ming’s prayer items has gone up by 10% to 20% but that has not stopped families from observing a tradition that began thousands of years ago.

Office assistant Ooi Yong Huat, 52, who will be going back to Penang with his family this weekend to visit the grave of his father, said they have bought the joss sticks and other prayer items.

Despite the price increase, he said his family will still be buying them as the festival comes just once a year.

“My siblings and I will split the cost,” he said.

Qing Ming or Tomb Sweeping Day is a major occasion in the Chinese calendar. Families will clean the graves of their departed loved ones and ancestors.

This year, the festival falls on April 5.

Housewife Carmen Tong, 34, said she is not aware that prices have gone up.

“I will still buy it though. I am getting the joss paper as offerings. I won’t be getting the paper replica of material goods such as cars, homes, phones and maids,” she said.

The owner of Zhong Yee Heong Sdn Bhd, who wants to be known only as Koh, said joss candles, incense and joss papers are about 10% more expensive now.

“The prices went up because of the import fees. Yet, there were more purchases this year compared with last year.

“The Chinese respect their ancestors and believe that if the ancestors are at peace, they will bless their children and grandchildren,” said Koh.

Fugui Grand Enterprise owner Figo Lim, 62, said he expects business to go up this year, with more people buying paper cars, paper houses and gold boxes compared with last year.

He said the price of prayer items has increased by 5% to 10% but that has not stopped his regular customers from patronising his shop to buy prayer necessities.

“Also, there have been more people this year than last year,” he added.

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Qing Ming , prayer items , cost


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