Saturday, September 27, 2014

Helen Wong: Second Burial 第二埋葬 Dì èr máizàng

第二埋葬  Dì èr máizàng

I  was privileged to meet Helen Wong, writer and Historian. We compared notes and she gave me her two books, Second Burial and In the Mountain's Shadow.

Second Burial is my Mum's Kwang Ning hakka's custom. I recall as a teenager, attending the grand ceremony of my Great Grand Father Kong's second burial. 

When I was there at the ceremony in the cemetery,  his bone had already been exhumed, cleaned and assembled in a big jar as though he was sitting inside the jar. 

The jar was lowered into the tomb, and I vividly remember all the descendant were given small tumblers of wine to be thrown into the tomb. There was great pomposity. At that time my Grand Uncle was a high ranking assembly man and the head man of the region. 

I had written about Great Grand Father's death. He and the family had just arrived in Borneo from China. He was buried in a simple grave. I am not sure if this second burial was because the first grave was a simple one, and they gave him and Ah Tai  a grand grave befitting of them. 

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