Preparation or taboo?


The Chinese imperial dynasties and nobility of the past were known to pre-plan decades ahead; hence, the idea of pre-planning is not actually even new among eastern cultures. It was thought to be an auspicious and culturally respectable thing to do. In the past, the imperial elite went as far as constructing their tombs years ahead to safeguard political power and secure dynasties through spiritual beliefs.

Among the ordinary folk, the younger generation would gift their elders with coffins to wish them longevity and good fortune! The coffins would be kept at home as a reminder to appreciate life and one’s own mortality, as well as a symbol of filial piety. When the time came, these coffins would actually be put to use during funerals and interments. Though it may seem foreign to us today, such practices are actually still observed in some rural parts of China.

As life expectancy improved with modern medicine and healthcare, people became less accepting of the idea of pre-planning and began seeing it as more of a taboo and “tempting fate”. Such ideas are nothing more than superstitions at best and it doesn’t change the fact we will eventually expire.

Although less traditional or culturally significant in present times, pre-planning is done out of consideration and care for loved ones and is considered a prudent exercise rooted in logic and economic sensibilities. Thankfully with education and exposure, the negative perception associated with pre-planning is beginning to shift as more and more are beginning to see its importance.