I have read an article regarding Funeral Selfies as an arising trend among adolescents earlier on my FaceBook Newsfeed.
What Are Funeral Selfies?
They are basically photos taken of oneself whilst attending a funeral. These photos are being circulated on social sharing portals like Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag “#Funeral”, “#Selfies at Funerals” or “#Funeral Selfies”.
Controversies Surrounding Funeral Selfies
According to one of the articles’ headlines, it says:
“Funeral Selfies Are the Latest Evidence Apocalypse Can’t Come Soon Enough”
Some articles even went ahead to criticise how unfeeling, unsympathetic, disrespectful and self-centred the youngsters were when they posted those photos of themselves attending a funeral dressed to the nines and smiling in front of the coffin.
Another article (http://www.cnbc.com/id/101169369) says:
“Is it somehow more tasteful, even nobler, to keep grief private? If that’s the case, the problem with Internet mourning far predates the Internet: People have been putting their sadness on display—wearing black, holding ceremonies—since the ancient Greeks first hired mourners to tear out their hair at funerals. Social media may make it easier to launch a stream of frown-y faces into the ether, but Mark Zuckerberg didn’t invent the impulse to reach out when you’re hurting.”
In fact, most articles are criticising the intent of Funeral Selfies…
Da Rabbit’s Take on Funeral Selfies
Da Rabbit admits that she is guilty of taking Funeral Selfies too.
However for Chinese funerals, it has been a tradition to keep the entire event solemn and that guests who attend the funeral must not be dressed in vibrant colours like red so as to show respect to the dead.
As for the relatives of the decease, white T-Shirts would be worn throughout the funeral. In olden days, sackcloth was to be worn as morning garments throughout the funeral. Also, the members are not to wear any make-up and accessories to show respect towards the dead. Hence there is no such thing as “Fashion” or “Style” when you are attending a funeral as a relative of the decease as everything was to be kept as simple and modest as possible.
As my family were all Christians, we do not practice in the religious rites and rituals conducted by the Chinese (You might want to read: http://www.sfcca.sg/en/node/62 to find out more about Chinese Funerals). Hence, our Wake was kept simple and modest with no monks chanting but instead, we had a Condolence Service conducted by our church where the preacher would share a short sermon and eulogy to comfort the bereaved family. My dad also represented the family to bear a good testimony of my Grandmother’s life of faith as a Christian during the Condolence Service which I will share later.
As Christians, we do not believe in ghosts of the dead wandering around in this world. Instead, we believe that the soul leaves the body of the deceased and the body (which is made of flesh) would corrupt and turn into dust afterwards. The soul would be brought to a waiting place awaiting God’s Judgement during the end times. Therefore, we do not worship the corpse of the deceased or pray to it. Condolence Services conducted by our church are solely for the purpose of comforting the living and not to deliver the dead from evil or anything as we felt that the fate of the dead has been sealed upon his/her death.
With regards to taking photos during a funeral, we just wanted to capture the memories we had with our late paternal grandmother for the last time. As my Paternal Grandmother with my other relatives reside in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, we seldom have the opportunity to see them as we are based in Singapore. Hence it was a good time for us to bond as a family during my Grandmother’s funeral.
Funeral Selfies Taken During My Grandma’s Funeral
Grandma’s Testimony of Faith
Slideshow of the Photos Taken during the Funeral and Burial
which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also
which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you
by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the
coming of the Lord shall not prevent
them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven
with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of
God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive
and remain shall e caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet
the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore
comfort one another with these words.”
My paternal grandma
spent more than half of her lifetime serving Christ and living for
Christ ever since she was saved by God’s grace. She was born with a
silver spoon – to a very affluent family in China. Having being served
by maids since birth, she had nothing to worry about. She married my
grandpa and fled to Malaysia (Ipoh) during the 2nd World War and had 8
children – of which my dad was the youngest. When my dad was 5, my
grandpa passed away, leaving my grandma to support the entire family all
by herself. In the morning, she would sell vegetables. And during the
afternoon, she would ride on her bicycle to sell bread. She was
nicknamed “bread lady” in the village. She pawned almost all of her
valuables to sustain the family, keeping only her dowry – 2 pairs of
She came to know Christ when one of her daughter
fell gravely ill. She spent a fortune trying to get her healed –
including consulting mediums (she was believed to be demon-possessed).
She was so determined to get her daughter cured to the extent that she
sold the tool of her livelihood – her bicycle to raise the fees to help
her daughter. Nothing helped till she came to know Christ. However, her
conversion brought wrath from the villagers as she had discarded all the
family’s idols after she accepted Christ. The family was persecuted by
the villagers – my dad and his siblings were bullied since young and
they suffered both physical and mental abuse from their neighbors,
including being stoned by them. These persecutions did not deter my
grandma from her belief in Christ. She continued to serve God and live a
life for Christ.
There was once another of my grandma’s
daughter (my aunt) died of measles. 2 womenfolk from the village visited
her and confirmed that she had stopped breathing. However, grandma did
not give up and requested for my dad and his other sister to pray
together with her. After a while, my aunt began to breathe and recover
slowly. During my aunt’s convalescence in the house (for a few weeks),
the villagers thought that she had died and that my grandma had buried
her. They concluded that it was grandma’s retribution for discarding the
family’s idols. However, when they saw my aunt walking out of the house
after a couple of weeks, they had a shock and I guess they stopped
persecuting them after a while.
Grandma was a very pious
Christian and would say long prayers to God during her spare time.
Although life was harsh, she murmured not and was very strong in her
faith with God. It was only through her faith in God which enabled her
to sustain thus far – she had survived 2 world wars and was 101 years
old when she departed. Her relationship with God has been intimate and
God would reveal things to her in prayers, i.e. she would know when any
one of her family would meet some mishap etc. Grandma has been in good
health until last year whereby she suffered a minor stroke and was
hospitalized. However, she was miraculously discharged after one week in
the hospital. She attended Sabbath services in church soon after, as
per her usual practice. The church members held her in high regard as
she insisted on going to church to worship God despite her old age and
It was during the last few days of her life that
she proclaimed: “I want to go home”. At that time, my aunts did not
understand what was she saying as she was already lying on her bed at
home. It was only after her passing that they realized that the ‘home’
referred to our ‘heavenly home’ above. My grandma rested in the Lord on
16 March 2013. She looked as if she was asleep when she departed.
In John 14:2 (“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I
would have told you.”), Jesus mentioned that there were many rooms in
heaven prepared for the children of God. I guess, grandma is now being
fetched by the angels to live in her new home above where there will no
longer be weeping and suffering.
During her condolence
service, the Preacher mentioned that life can be easily summarized by 2
things – crying and laughing. The irony of life begins when an infant
was delivered into this world crying while the adults rejoiced over the
new addition to the family. Similarly, as Christians, we do not fear
death as we know where we would be going after death and hence we would
depart this world rejoicing whilst those alive would be mourning and
weeping over our departure. However, we should not grief for too long as
we know we would all meet on the beautiful shore one fine day.
Thank God for manifesting His likeness in the life of our grandma.
Indeed, to be able to walk with God during our life’s journey is the
GREATEST blessing a Christian can experience. Not even monetary gains
would be able to give us such satisfaction.
In conclusion, I shall end with a bible verse:
the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness,
which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and
not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing.”
Have we fought the good fight like Paul in order to be able to proclaim
with such certainty and conviction? If not, its time for