When Cindy was talking about robot solemnizing a marriage, it is indeed distinctive. However people always love to do things their own style. People jumped from plane and got married in the sky; people dived into the ocean and declared their undying love; hopefully the robot one day turned human and said “Hey! I married you guys".
In Singapore, I now talk about death and resting in style. I am a bit slow but I still learnt that buying a niche when one dies to put ones ashes is getting very expensive. A normal niche will cost at least S$3,000 or more. Those that consider 'good place' , meaning eye level where you can easily see one's ancestors without squatting or need a ladder to climb to the top is consider good place.
Now, things are getting so advance that you can have a Rock Concert service for the dead. Imagine all friends come to a attend an ashes retrieving ceremony with a Bon Jovi Style Theme and the song "It's my Life" comes blasting from all the speakers, with friends hanging around with a bottle of Vodka, chewing peanuts. Cool!
NO!, of course not. I stumbled upon this privatized "six-star" columbarium (talking about being ill-informed). It is really dying in style. This is 'the' special resting place - Nirvana in Singapore. Look at all the designs - from floor to ceiling, what do you say? This is far more modern, clean, stylish, bright and colorful. It really is Nirvana. Not only the dead rest here, I am sure the 'alive' will also find solace in such a peaceful place. Unlike those in the temples whereby it is dark and ashes are stacks all the way up the wall ceiling
Looking at the prices, it is not that expensive. A normal niche is around S$2,000.00 and it goes up to S$30,000 and more for a family niche. A family niche as it indicates can take 30 nos of ashes urns...so? I find the family one a little lavish. For me I will not buy a family niche. I do not know how many of my family members will remain Buddhist and whether they want to be buried with me. Paying up front is too much when it cannot be guaranteed that it will be fully utilized. However this is good for people with enough extras monies and wanted privacy, not that they need to place 30 nos of urns into the niche. This place is too far and for those without a car can be a hassle. To take a cab is costly and to take a bus takes ages to reach destination.
Dying is a private affair. During my grandpa's time, it is prestige to die with many friends, family members, business associates paying respect. This shows the person's status in the society. This particular place boost of a stylish Dinning Hall, big meet Hall, private lounges, Reception area and well lighted walkways and carpark.
The Six-Star columbarium don't even need monks to do chanting and prayers, no need to light incense and all the ceremonial offerings? So away with all the superstitious that incense is food to the dead, all the food offered are eaten by the dead and all the paper monies, paper accessories and clothes, big houses are needed. Although some called themselves Buddhist but they still go with the Chinese culture of respecting the dead with all these and Nirvana do not need all these. Once one passed away into Amitaba's Pureland, one will never be short of anything.
We come alone and when we leave the earth, we walk alone as well. No amount of money, power, authority, richness can we take with us. You cannot take your mansion, your Lexus, your fat Bank account, your powerful influential friends and whatever to prep yourself so that you are well received on the other side. The only thing you can take with you is your merits -both good and bad.
All pictures here are credited back to Nirvana Memorial Garden, Singapore.