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Shop For Your Funeral
By: RSS/News FeedsHungZai Team

HK death tour for elderly

IT is a tour with a difference. Hop on the bus and you will visit mortuaries, cemeteries and shops selling coffins (like those above) and other things needed for a funeral.

This tour especially for the elderly in Hong Kong is to help them prepare for their own deaths and funerals.

A social agency has broken traditional taboos about death by running this unconventional window-shopping tour, reported the South China Morning Post.

This week, St James’ Settlement organised its first Funeral Exploratory Tour for 26 elderly people.

The trip took the visitors to places they would usually avoid, and was aimed at helping the elderly face death positively, said Ms Josephine Lee Yuk-chi, senior manager of Corporate Venture (Partnership & Alliances) at St James’ Settlement.

She said: ‘Some elderly people who do not have family members have given us instructions about how to organise their funeral.

‘We decided to take them to different funeral homes, cemeteries, crematoriums and funeral shops so they can better understand the services before they make their choices.’

The first stop on the tour was the shire hall at Man Mo Temple in Sheung Wan. Then it was over to the nearby shops selling caskets, funeral shrouds and other funeral items.

The group’s next stop was the mortuary in Kowloon Hospital before visiting the Kwai Chung Crematorium.

After lunch at the Yuen Yuen Institute, which provides places for urns, the group was taken to Po Fook Hill columbarium hall in Sha Tin.

The last stop was Chai Wan cemetery.

Ms Lee said even those who still had relatives might want to plan their own funerals to avoid family disputes.

She said: ‘A funeral is something very personal, we believe that even their family members should respect their decisions.’

CHARGE FOR TOURS

The tour guide was a social worker who was experienced in providing such services.

Yesterday’s tour was free, but the agency plans to offer a second round of tours at the end of the month that will cost about HK$90 ($19) for each person aged 60 and older.

Ms Leung Ngan-fong, 71, used to sleep in her grandfather’s coffin, which he kept at home for years before he died.

She had no qualms about the tour.

She said: ‘Death is something that no one can escape regardless of their background.’

Ms Leung, who has just finished a course of chemotherapy for lung and lymph gland cancer, said: ‘At least I can choose my final resting place. I have no one to take care of my funeral arrangements in future. So I have registered with St James’ Settlement, which will do the job for me.

Source : The Electric New Paper

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