December 30, 2010

Funeral in RED

My blog is mainly about the Foochows and their way of life for as long as I can photograph and record. I am also trying my best to record events and happenings in Sibu and elsewhere concerning the Foochows. I am doing out of love as a Foochow mother and a member of the community.

Funerals are part of one's life as much as births and weddings. Last week I received news that one of my classmates' father Rev Wong Ding Ming passed away at age 102 (Born 1909) the year my own Grand father got married to my grandmother Chong Jin Soon. By Chinese (Foochow) reckoning of birthdays Rev Wong was deemed 102 years old. Additional two of two years.

Most Chinese funerals are conducted in serious ceremonies with specific death dress code. Cloths in white and black are worn by children and children in laws with paternal grandchildren wearing yellow and maternal grandchildren wearing indigo. There are other colours for great grand children depending on the dialects the family belong to. These colours would indicate the generations the dearly departed had. And bystanders would nod as the funeral procession pass by...The obituary announced in the newspapers would also take into consideration how many generations he or she had left behind.

And because Rev Wong passed the 100 year mark he was given a "red funeral". This was indeed more a celebration of a good life than a grieving funeral. His passing marked the end of one of the most humble Methodist preachers in Sarawak. Many would miss him as a good man of God.

Photos courtesy of Wong Meng Lei.

And it would be good to further research on this topic. But for the moment these two photos will be here as part of a special record of a remarkable long life of Rev Wong Ding Ming.

As far as Sibu 's history is concerned there have been less than 20 Foochows who had lived more than 100 years of age.

My condolences to my school mates Wong Teck Yii and Wong Teck Toh and their families.


wenn said...

that's interesting..

Anonymous said...

are those 2 sisters.....Teck Yii and Teck Toh being the basketballers in those days representing their schools?
Condolences to them.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Wenn...yes...I will write more later...too much to do these few days....and not enough to do justice to a good man's life and all that he stood for.
God bless and Happy New Year.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Anonymous
Yes Teck Yii is that beautiful girl who represented Sibu in Girls' Basketball. And Teck Toh too...represented my school..Both stayed in the Methodist Girls' Hostel .

Anonymous said...

our grandpa came out with this mixture of chinese-western funeral ceremony.

the ceremony is western mainly because it is tied to christianity. it is also tied to chinese ceremony. The religion, however, restricted the practice of part of chinese tradition.

Ann said...

I heard about this 5 generation or 100 years old. What a glorious returning home.

I don't think I know this man.

I spent Boxing day with an ex Binatang friend D. Tiong who is sweet potato related to you. I asked him if he knows you.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Yes...Ann..and I feel that my blog has to feature him..(shy lah have to borrow some photos)...He has a son called Teck Muk also but I cant remember whose class he was in...Any Tiong can be a weet potato chin....may be he is too young to know me especially if he and his father moved to NZ before 1970

Anonymous said...

Would be nice to read the whole life story of Rev. Wong in English.TQ

Anonymous said...

Yes Christianity prohibits many of the traditional Chinese practices but a good blend is often a win-win situation. The hardest would be for those who are die hards and would not let go of paper money burning and that would make it very difficult for the rest of the family who are church going. Then the who clan will have to negotiate. Often some conflicts would ensue. But most of the time the best results come forth. I have known of a Christian ceremony on one day for the burial and a Taoist ceremony another day to pacify several of the family members. Sarawakiana

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Anonymous....I would like to do more research on the late Rev Wong and then complete this story....May his soul rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

God blessed a good man. His funeral service was a thanksgiving service. All Pastors (over 30 pastors) dressed in Red and sang “My Best Friend”. His children are now living in the States, Australia, Singapore, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and Sibu.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Anonymous...yes I wish I was there too to witness this unique blessing!! It must have been a record to have 30 pastors dressed in RED....what unity in Christ! What a good send off! I am sure his relatives and friends are touched by both the church and the Holy Spirit.

God bless you for writing in.

easechen said...

Where's Teck Toh now? Any contact info? I think she used to live quite near us in Kuching.

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