I work in a funeral home
/ Frankie Khue Chow How, Nirvana Care funeral master of ceremonies
/Translated by: Colin Kuan
A lot of people have a number of misconceptions, taboos or fears about the funeral industry, and that discourages them from joining!
A few years ago, I came across the funeral industry and became a funeral master of ceremonies, something I would never have dreamt about.
I believe that most people would never have imagined, or thought about, getting involved in the funeral industry. In my childhood essays, if teachers asked us to write about “my ambition”, we usually wanted to become doctors, lawyers or a star; who would think of serving the dead?
It’s true, the general public is very taboo about the topic of “death”. Thoughts about funeral parlours, coffins and burial clothes are intuitively regarded as unlucky. Looking at the funeral industry in Malaysia today – with the progression of time – the memorial parks, funeral parlours and columbaria are now quite large scale and well-planned. I will not have any sense of fear myself; but I want to say if some people still feel fear, perhaps it is mostly due to personal misconceptions!
Later on, I introduced my nephew to work in the company. When I mentioned to him that he was going to work in a funeral home, his expression couldn’t hide his fear. After all, it was a job that involved dealing with the dead. Subsequently, due to my persuasion on the promise of a stable salary and job, he has now fully adapted, is totally comfortable with his duties, and he does not have any concern at all. Eventually he met a girl and has never encountered any objection from her or her family!
In fact, the most important thing in the funeral industry is to maintain a respectful attitude in providing services to the deceased. There is a saying among those in the industry: “The deceased is a friend for a day”. Therefore, when presiding over the ceremony for the deceased, it includes a sense of parting and deep empathy with the relatives and friends to fulfill the memorial ceremony. I used to use the term “coffin guy” to describe a funeral worker; but after I got to know more about the trade and devoted myself to it for a period of time, I realised that it is a very beautiful profession. At present, I have sent off more than 3,000 friends, although I cannot remember their names. However, I occasionally think about it in a frivolous way; when I’m dead, there are more friends in that so-called afterlife than the ones I have known in my lifetime!
As such, as long as you can overcome the misconceptions in your mind, the funeral industry can become a very satisfying occupation. From a spiritual point of view, if you can serve with sincerity, you can also accumulate merits!
Nirvana Care’s Emcee Department is responsible for conducting funeral ceremonies according to the family’s respective background, customs and rituals, as well as language and culture. We ensure the smooth flow of the funeral process, including the viewing, sealing of the casket, paying of respects and the funeral procession. The funeral emcee is also responsible for interviewing the family to obtain information in order to celebrate the deceased’s life, help write eulogies and memorialize the deceased together with the family.
Frankie Khue was previously a business manager in a Taiwanese crane subsidiary company based in Malaysia. He is currently a master of ceremonies at Nirvana Asia Group and is dedicated to conducting funeral ceremonies for bereaved families. Frankie specializes in Mandarin, English, Cantonese and Hakka.
This is a common question heard in the counseling room.
“I’ve never done anything bad in my life, why did such an unfortunate thing happen to me?”
“He was a good man – always doing good things – why did God take him away so quickly and take away the bad people?”
“Do we have to be bad people to live longer and get better rewards?”
I believe that many caregivers, and not just those in my family, share the same experience and feelings. The truth cannot be spoken freely, lest you will be accused of being unfilial if you are not careful.
As soon as she finished speaking, she handed the microphone to me. I didn’t have time to respond at that time and everyone started to prepare for the casket sealing ceremony.
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