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Malaysia and Cambodia


This is about my upcoming trip to Malaysia and Cambodia. The first part is pre-trip - information about flights, itineraries, accommodation and all the things that you need to do to plan an overseas holiday. This is my first trip to Asia and I hope it may help others. Comments are very welcome and anyone who has travelled to Malaysia and/or Cambodia, please feel free to comment and offer any advice or tips that you think would be helpful. As of today ( 28th February) , in exactly 11 days (minus 30 minutes) I will be in Kuala Lumpur.

I had the most amazing time and hope you enjoy reading about my trip. Each post is numbered and I'm doing them in order from start to finish - a little like a diary.



117. Chinese Funeral

As I was walking here, I saw a Chinese funeral. It was the music which alerted me and I headed over. I took some photos, but not wishing to be disrespectful, didn't go too close and zoomed the lens. I found it wasn't easy finding information about Chinese funeral processions and what some of the symbols are - e.g. two large paper lanterns carried on long poles. What do they mean, what is the significance? At the head of the procession, a man carries something that looks like the shape of a fancy bird cage with white, pink and red ribbons/bows on it but that too, I have not found what it is. If anyone reading this can answer this, I would welcome comments so I may increase my knowledge. (Thank you)

Chinese funeral procession is pictured here.
Traditionally, the procession starts from the house of the deceased to the cemetery. According to custom, the route follows the normal route the deceased used to take in his or her life. For example, where he/she used to go to the market, shopping, to work or to visit friends. It is the last farewell to this life.

Above: Drummer and musicians
The procession is accompanied by live (or recorded) music, sometimes the tune is lively and upbeat but in some cases it is sad. From my research, the time for this procession is usually done either at around 10.30 a.m. or 2.30 pm. It was around 2.30pm when I was here.

Above: Undertaker's vehicle
Sin Hock Siew Undertaker

Above: Family Photo
Chinese traditionally wore white clothes at funerals. Grandchildren wear blue clothes and great grandchildren, if there are any, wear light blue clothes. Two of the men wear red sashes and three are holding sticks with red handkerchiefs. I have yet to find the reason for this.

Above: Photo
A photo of the deceased is placed at the front of the hearse.

Above: Inside the undertaker's truck
Musicians stand behind the undertaker's truck in which can be seen yellow and white floral wreaths and a mock sedan chair.

Above: Chinese funeral
Occasionally paper models of objects such as cars, statues ships etc. are carried with the procession symbolising the wealth of the deceased's family.

Above: Procession
Vertical banner bearer in the front. This banner is known as "Teik". Normally the color of the banner is white, but since the man died after reaching 80 years old, the colour is red. It bears the eulogy of the deceased man.

Above: Drummer
Musicians follow.

Above: Funeral procession
Next come men carrying large Chinese paper lanterns.

Above: Funeral procession
Two of the men are holding what looks like a tambourine, the man on the left beats his with a stick.

Above: Hearse
Mourners follow the hearse. Yellow and white “holy” paper is placed on coffin to protect the body from dangerous spirits. A yellow cloth is draped over the coffin.

Above: Procession
Mourners place a cloth over their heads. Some have a cloth draped over their shoulders.

Ancestor Worship
A funeral is not the end of the journey. The deceased will always be remembered, especially during the Qing Ming festival (Tomb Sweeping Day). It is the old custom of the Chinese people to honour their ancestors. They believe that the spirits of their ancestors will look after them in this life, take an interest in the affairs of the world, and possess the ability to influence the fortune of the living. Therefore, offering of joss sticks, sometimes food like fruits or cakes are always present on the main altar in their houses, accompanied by daily prayers.

Next: Last night in Malacca

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