While preparing dinner, I began reading this book ‘Dying To Meet You’ by Angjolie Mei and now, before I head to bed, I’m ready to do a review. Proof that the book was ‘unputdownable’. In fact, it got me crying by page 12. What’s up with authors these days? Can’t they make us laugh, or at least laugh till we end up crying? 😀 Very good book, though I’m not so sure about whether locals would buy a book featuring a (quite stunning) coffin on the front and back cover, albeit accompanied by a HOT female who loves salsa (though you won’t know that till you’ve read the book). Though some might think it’s ‘pantang’ to work in this industry or even to be associated with someone working in this line, I think it would be quite a privilege to be friends with a funeral director (Hello Angjolie, we should meet!) because if she’s someone who does her job well, I would think that happy spirits would be hanging around her and probably granting her wishes or something – perhaps something like always having an empty parking lot in a crowded carpark or finding money on the ground, maybe. 😀 What’s there to be ‘pantang’ about?!
I learnt a few things from reading this book, that I didn’t know before:
- Islam forbids cremation, so Muslims have to be buried. (You can Google this. I have. It’s considered haram and apparently Muslims cannot witness a cremation or even state their approval of it)
- A casket has 4 sides while a coffin has 6. (Again, you may Google for images)
- A person’s sense of hearing is the last to go when a person is dying. So feel free to keep talking to your loved one lying on his/her deathbed.
- The Ngee Ann City mall is located where a former graveyard used to be.
- In Singapore, you may only remain buried for 15 years. (So you might as well be cremated. Just saying.)
- Funeral wakes usually last for 3 or 5 or 7 days. Odd numbers because the Chinese believe that good things come in pairs (好事成双) and funerals are considered inauspicious therefore are held over an odd number of days.
- The fabric square worn on sleeves of family members of the deceased are worn on the left for males and on the right for females. (Yes, I didn’t know that!)
Ok, now back to the author. Angjolie Mei changed her original name and included ‘Jolie’ because of Angelina Jolie, whose courage and commitment to humanitarian work she admired. Angjolie is the daughter of ‘the Coffin King’, the late Ang Yew Seng. When she was in Primary 5, her best friend died after he was run over by a cement mixer. Hence she now makes it a point to look out for kids at funerals and help them cope. In the book, the author also shares how she helps shield grieving family members from the media, such as when a Japanese lady in a taxi was killed after a crash involving a Ferrari in 2012. I like that. All too often, people handling newsworthy cases (such as lawyers) try to manoeuvre themselves into the limelight. Of course, I have not met Angjolie and can only trust what I’m getting from the book. We’ll see. 😉
“…the day you stop feeling sadness for the family is the day you lose empathy and compassion, which is needed to work well in the industry”
If I do meet the author one day, I have two questions for her:
- Why PINK as a corporate color for your company?
- How did you do so well in the financial planning industry when you say your heart wasn’t in it? Qualifying for MDRT for 3 out of 4 years is pretty amazing.
Go purchase or borrow a copy of this book. It’ll certainly get you thinking. I remember reviewing another book involving a mortician, ‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes’ by Caitlin Doughty, which is also really good. Strange how funeral directors are such fantastic writers. Or perhaps they just have outstanding co-writers and editors. 😀
p/s: I would love to be cremated (please ensure I am really dead first, ‘cos you know getting burnt to a crisp is irreversible but some people are able to claw themselves out of coffins after being buried). No embalming, please! All those chemicals – yucks! And people touching my body – ARGH!!! I hate being touched when I’m alive. I’ll probably haunt those who dare touch me when I’m dead. Muahaha! And forget about turning my cremains into a diamond – please lah, spend money more sensibly. I don’t mind becoming fertiliser for a plant though. 😀