Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Touts At Cemeteries

In the paper today, one of the article was talking about the touts at cemeteries during Qing Ming time. Here read the article...


Touts at the cemetery
Even the dead can't rest in peace these days.
QING Ming is no longer a safe practice for the descendants in Kuala Lumpur as the cemeteries are now dominated by touts.
Two Sundays ago, my father, brother and I met up in our annual little assembly to visit our ancestors’ graves in the late afternoon, when the crowd is thinner. While performing the rites at the first graveyard, a young man appeared and asked us for RM30 for keeping the site clean and tidy. He claimed that he was from a company which maintained the site and that our ancestors’ graveyards were tended to all year round. When we refused to pay, the called his “senior” who came along and asked us to pay up.
We gave the same reply and threw the following questions which he could not answer:
·So many people came to us to ask for payments, year after year. How do we know that you and your company really looked after our ancestors' graveyards?
·How could we be sure that you really come from that company? And why should we even bother to take time off to check your authenticity?
·So many of our relatives would be coming on different days to pray. Would you collect from them as well? That would be a huge sum at the end of the season for a single tomb. He claimed that a sticker receipt would be pasted on the cement-based tomb, but we know this could come off easily with a sneeze.
·We have three graveyards to visit. Does that mean we have to pay this unidentified person RM90?
·What about those who do not have such a sum in their pockets? Will they be disallowed from praying?
·Why were the descendants not informed? If the association does not have our addresses, why were there no announcements made in the major newspapers? Why were there no buntings or banners at the entrance of the cemetery to notify us?
·What happens to those who feel that it is their filial duty to trim and cut the grasses of their ancestors' graves? Has this association has taken away that task?
·What happens to those who do not consent to such forced service?
The touts could not answer any of these questions. In the first instance, we suspect the touts may not even understand what we were saying. By this time, the tout was already in full rage, hurling foul words at us.
We asked him not to continue as we wanted to pray and show respect for our departed ones. This happened in front of my great-grandmother’s tomb. He hollered for more of his kind who came in motorbikes and soon we were surrounded by these gangsters, provoking us to fight. However, there were a couple of them who were more reasonable and they pulled the angry ones away. Imagine if it were three women instead of three men. Would they not be intimidated into paying?
When we went to our next ancestor’s grave later on, another man turned up to ask for money. This guy was more polite and he begged us to pay because he had a quota to meet. What does this indicate?
I believe many of the descendants do not mind the payment but the procedure is thoroughly incorrect. Consensus needs to be gathered by the majority, notification needs to be made publicly, the fee needs to be arrived at and supported, etc.
Qing Ming is a religious practice and the cemetery does not belong to touts-cum-Ah Longs.
If the tending of the cemetery is indeed true, then there should be more transparency and communication between the tending agent, the caretakers, and the public.
We were tempted to make a police report on the attempted assault and intimidation, especially on my frail 86-year-old father.


How could they do this? Don't even know if they are really working there. What more they want to start a gangster havoc?

This is something that is totally disrespectful!

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