Monday, March 30, 2009

Qing Ming 2009

It was super hard having to drag myself out of bed at half past five in the morning. I guess jet lag takes some time to be rid off when you're 'old'. KL is a breeze when there's no traffic in the wee hours of the morning.

The scenery that morning made me realise how much I miss driving down the Karak Highway at 6:00am. The lush greenery and the mysterious mist that garnished the rainforest made me imagine busloads of tourists stopping to get their perfect postcard angle. What they find extraordinary, we drive past without thinking twice.

The drive also made me realise that I've not experienced Qing Ming for quite some time. I've missed a total of 5 Qing Mings in a row!

Uncle Fatt, Samuel and Samantha were there waiting for us. As the maintenance of the cemetery had improved over the years (for a measly RM10 annually), we've stopped bringing our tools to hack tree branches and to cut grass. The place was clean and there were additional parking lots for vehicles.

When we arrived at Gong Tai (grandpa's dad)'s grave, we saw that Suk Po (Grandaunt) had been there before us. If we had been slightly earlier, we could have caught them for a chat. Suk Po left for Gong Tai a box of roast pork with rice! Haha! The same went for Po Tai (grandpa's mum)'s grave. Love the attention paid to ensuring they eat well even after death.

But what I loved more was what I observed: the people around me. Families of different generations, from all walks of life, observe this sacred day. Why is this day sacred? It does not hold any religious significance. Instead, the cultural importance of filial piety and respect shines through. It is the one day in the entire year whereby family members from far and near come together to say hi to those before them. It is to say thank you for all the hard work and perseverance and for bringing us into this world. It is to let them know that we have not forgotten them and neither shall we forget our place in this world.

The spirit of Qing Ming; the atmosphere of togetherness. The celebration of life. The respect for the past and the betterment of the future.

A reminder to appreciate what we have and to not lose our heads should we achieve success.

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