‘Death’ and the Chinese
To the Chinese, ‘death’ is not an end to one’s life. Instead, it signifies a natural transition as one enters the spiritual world. ‘Death’ is therefore akin to the process of growing up and is taken very seriously. Because the Chinese draw a close connection between the living and spiritual world, it is believed that improper funeral arrangements will not only bring about misfortune to the dead in their afterlife, but also disaster to the living family members of the deceased. Selfish it might sound; many Chinese actually take fengshui of the dead seriously because they wish to keep fortune and wealth in the family given that burial fengshui defines the future of the heirs, descendants and future generations.
With these fears, a sense of respect for the ‘other’ side is commanded from the living. The Chinese try to keep a distance away from the spiritual realm, preferring to live in areas far away from cemeteries. Given Singapore’s small land area however, this ‘fear’ for the spaces of the dead often fade out with the passing of time. Eventually, the Government will develop housing estates on past cemeteries. For instance, present-day housing estates Bishan, Choa Chu Kang, Punggol, and Hougang were once popular burial grounds. Even Bukit Brown Cemetery has been earmarked for future public housing projects, with plans to build a road through the cemetery announced and confirmed by the government already.