Flats being used as cemeteries in China


Compiled by AUSTIN CAMOENS, C.ARUNO and R. ARAVINTHAN

DUE to the rising costs of burial plots and columbarium niches, China’s city residents are buying up low cost flats to keep the remains of deceased family members, reported China Press.

Local media reported that residents in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai would travel to the suburbs in search of cheap flats as a final resting place for family members.

Due to local feng shui beliefs, an entire flat could become a popular spot for the interment of ashes.

According to a flat owner in Jiangsu province known only as Zhao, he had thought the unit next to his was empty as he had never seen or heard occupants coming and leaving.

It was only until the Qing Ming (tomb-sweeping festival) recently that Zhao saw visitors entering the unit with offerings to honour their departed relatives.

According to an air-conditioning repairman in Tianjin city, flats used as burial plots often have white curtains and white cloth wrapped in the shape of a flower hung in their windows.

The trend is fuelled by the sky-rocketing prices for cemetery real estate as well as management fees.

A survey showed that a 20-year lease for a burial plot in Beijing costs upwards of 100,000 yuan (RM65,645) excluding annual management fees.

In comparison, owning a flat in Hebei, which is around 300km southwest of Beijing, costs only 250,000 yuan (RM162,823).

> A robotic vacuum cleaner caught fire at a house in Rawang, Selangor, damaging the living room and leaving scorch marks on the property’s walls, the daily also reported.

The incident took place at 10pm on April 1 when the robot helper, which was charging in its wall docking station, suddenly emitted smoke before bursting in flames.

According to the owner, he bought the robot five months ago for RM5,600 for his newly renovated house.

“All of a sudden, I saw smoke rising from the docking station. It began to emit embers and it quickly turned into a blaze.”

They suspected that it could have been caused by a battery in the robot which exploded.

The above articles are 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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