I am not going to provide much explanation on the Qing Ming festival as i believe you can find loads of information on this topic on the web. For a start, you may try wikipedia page here.
According to my mom, a walking almanac on Chinese traditions, the exact date for the festival falls on 05 April but traditionally, it is acceptable to visit the tombs of immediate relatives and make offerings within the period of ten days before and ten days after.
For my maternal family, we made the trip last Sunday on a very early morning! To prepare for the journey, i had to wake up at an ungodly 5am! Good move though; it was already a bumper to bumper traffic at 6am!
To beat the heavier traffic and crowd with the arrival of daylight, there were many groups of people who thought along the same line as us; go earlier.
The customary burning of paper money so that my grandfather would be able to use them in the netherworld. For a person who was conferred a business finance specialisation degree, i am skeptical on its effectiveness, like many others.
Inflation with so much hell money would be hard to beat! For all we know, a stick of incense stick, to quote an example, may cost around a trillion trillion hell dollars! And i have yet to touch on pollution with all the burning.
A lit up tombstone of my grandfather. Passed away on Christmas day in year 1990, my memory of him as a loud-voiced chain smoker who enjoyed wrapping his tobacco leaves remains fresh in my mind.
The cemetery exuded a surreal peacefulness despite the abnormally high human traffic in the early morning.
The sky was slowly showing an orangey-yellowish tinge.
Walk-walk officially began! As you can see, the cemetery has a very tidy layout where space is efficiently utilised for the dead.
Blue stone lions.
Mosaic style tomb; back in the 1980s, mosaic design was popular and can be seen in many homes. This could explain why the design was adopted for this tomb.
Given a standardised size for any burial spot, certain graves still managed to catch my attention.
Especially this one above that features a somewhat a Chinese plaque design!
A mini Earth deity (土地公) shrine is commonly placed by the side of the tomb. Anyone can share the reason why this particular deity is chosen to "protect" the grave?
Why are these coloured paper placed on the tomb and not burned? Questions like this make me realise how little i know of my own heritage and that a lot of us take things for granted without understanding the real reasoning behind them.
The scarcity of land means that any burial is not permanent. From my understanding, the original agreement was to allow up to fifteen years before the grave has to be exhumed. The time for my grandfather to "move house" would come pretty soon.
Sunrise! For the ladies, it could only mean three things; take out an umbrella, put on sun block or brave the UV rays!
Smoke from all the burning. Guess we have to prepare ourselves for the impending haze from Indonesia.
As you look across the cemetery, you may have the impression that it is a mini war zone with smoke columns appearing every few meters! And this is only a small section!
Having natural light is the best way to take photographs! Either that or invest in a better camera (i am saving up although it would be hard given my food expenses).
Grandfather's tombstone in the brighter daylight. 1431 is his unit number, the two lines of Chinese characters reflect the province (Fujian) and city/town (Nan An) he came from.
Stone statue of a female servant; as part of this tomb sweeping "exercise", beautification is necessary even though i thought she looked pretty weird with a bright red ribbon bow tie.
Last look of the surroundings (panorama) before we left for the car.
This precinct has tombstones with a different look and many of them displayed English characters without any reference to the Christian religion. The Christian cemetery is in fact located in another area a few hundred meters away.
Like flats, each area is accorded a block number and interestingly, the period of burials (in this case, 1984 - 1991) is indicated for each block. This would make it easier to spot the differences in grave designs across the blocks.
A comprehensive map of the Choa Chu Kang cemetery (i still prefer to call it Lim Chu Kang cemetery).
Expectedly, the traffic worsened with the onset of daylight! And i am glad to be out of here as my empty stomach could not stand the protests anymore!