Sunday, March 25, 2012


I went along for Qing Ming with my brothers over the weekend. It is a Chinese practice that the sons carry out this tradition of tomb sweeping and not the daughters. However there can always be exception. The actual day is on 4th April but then you can choose to go 10 days before and 10 days after the actual date and ahem... "they" will still be around!

According to seniority rank, we visited the tomb of my grandfather. This tomb has been beautified by my brothers since 2006, otherwise it used to be just a stone slab with his name as he died during the World War and money was very scarce then. This the oldest graveyard and it is so spacious and airy as many of the tombs had already been evacuated.

The tomb and the surrounding has already been cleared by the workers prior to Qing Ming, so there is really not much sweeping involved here.

The food offering prepared by my brother and his wife. They had to prepare 3 sets of the food for each of the 3 different tombs. My small contribution is the Rainbow Steamed Sponge Cake at his top left hand side.

As you can see all the preparation were carried out by my brother ie. the male of the family.

My eldest brother lighting the first incense.

This is an exception- my sister May from Australia who purposely came back for Qing Ming. She has missed many Qing Ming since she migrated overseas. Glad she did not forget her roots!

The paper offering - very basic offering - paper luggage and paper gold ingots.

We can only burn the offering once it was confirmed that the spirit had taken the meal.

How?- by throwing a pair of coins and if both coins has the same face, then it is called "Sing Pui".

The worker who was waiting around for us in fact told us that he can "see the old man smiling" !

Well, maybe- because the saying that these men who work around these graveyards do have a special eye/sense of the spiritual world.

I don't believe in burning any sorts of "branded goods" and "electrical goods". To me its more of sale gimmicks by those shops selling the prayers items.

Now this is what I call "really tomb sweeping". The second place that we went to is grave of my grandmother. She died when my father was then doing well in his business. So her tomb was a more elaborate one.
We all can remember/recall how much my father has honoured and obeyed my grandmother and his love and care for his siblings and I clearly see these traits among my own siblings now.

Father has taught us well.

My second and eighth brother busy removing the eroded soil.
This graveyard is more crowded and the path is very narrow and drainage is therefore poor here and many of tombs had this problem of soil erosion and flooding.

Don't think that this all the family- only a quarter of the Chan clan is here.

Finally it was done before we repeat the same procedure of prayers and offerings.

After this, we finally made our way to the Kwong Tong Pagoda to offer our prayers to our father and mother. The pagoda was very crowded and the incense and open fire burning made your eyes water. It felt too commercialised and did not evoke the meditative mode within us or at least within myself.

However, whatever it be I am sure most of these people that came are just like us, to carry out our filial duty and to teach the future generation of our past and future.

1 comment:

  1. Well said with lots of TLC from the Heart.I can see your folks are sponging up the dirt and mud ,let alone sponging up the sponge cake that she kade with lots of TLC.Well done Elaine - you did it again