Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Quality of coffin and location of grave important for burying the dead, says Sifu Sabrina

[Pix of model for illustration purpose only]

"It's sweet of you to ask me to come, Sabrina," I say, pulling a chair and settling down. "So, what feng shui tips you're offering me this time?"

Sifu Sabrina (pix above) steps away from her office window and goes to sit at her desk. “Since this is the Qingming season, I'd like to share a case with your readers." She leans forward and pours Chinese tea into two porcelain cups in the centre of the desk. “It concerns the importance of quality of coffin and location of burial site for the dead.” She pushes one cup to me.

“Wonderful,” I say, dragging my chair closer to her desk.

Sifu Sabrina places her elbows on her desk. “Several months back, a client came to consult me as he had been suffering from one misfortune after another. Business failure, vehicle accident, illnesses and law suits. So I went to his house to check the feng shui. Everything was okay.” She creases her eyebrows. “So, I was puzzled as to the cause of his adversities. Noting that there was an ancestral table on the altar, my gut instinct was that possibly something was wrong with the deceased's burial site. My client said the deceased was his father but he hadn’t gone for Qingming for many years.” She takes a sip of her Chinese tea, puts the cup down and gestures to my cup with her palm. “Immediately, we set off to the Sungei Besi Road cemetery, and, after some searching, we found his late father’s resting place. It was submerged in water! I advised him to move the grave to higher ground.” She wipes lipstick stain off the porcelain cup with a piece of Kleenex. “The following week, I was there when grave-diggers were hauling up the coffin. I was shocked when the coffin was lifted up. It was rotting. My client explained that he had bought the cheapest coffin available as at that time he was tight financially. I advised him to transfer his father's remains into a new hardwood coffin and which he did.”

I take a gulp of my Chinese tea. “Has things improved for your client?” The aroma of jasmine and wood swirls around in my mouth.

“Yes, considerably. Quality of coffin and location of burial site are important for the dead which in turn can affect the family's fortune or misfortune. In the olden days, emperors and officials were buried in sturdy coffins made of high-quality wood. A coffin for the emperor was made of pine, six or seven inches thick, elaborately carved, shellacked and placed in another coffin, which in turn was inserted into a third coffin." She raises three fingers. "Court officials were often buried in two coffins –- a coffin-within-a-coffin -- while the common people were laid to rest in a single coffin that was of the best quality the deceased’s family could afford. Sometimes, the purchased coffin was stored in the undertaker’s premises because the intended user had not yet passed away. Some even stored it at home!"

“What if the deceased’s children are financially constrained?”

“A burial site need not be permanent. When their finances improve, they can re-bury the deceased's remains in a site with better feng shui and in a better coffin.”

“Can you elaborate more on burial feng shui?”

Sifu Sabrina casts a glance at her wrist watch. “Sure, but not today.” She kicks her feet, pushing her armchair away from her desk. “Come again next time,” she says, standing up and extending her right hand.

I pump it vigorously. Gee, it feels like a bag of soft chicken bones.


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