Little Luke "Skywalker"

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Sweep Tomb

We were the first to arrive back at our kampung (Parit, 12km from Batu Gajah, Perak). It was almost midnight since we left around 9.30pm last Friday. This was Little Skywalker's second trip back to Parit, the last one was when he was about seven months old. After unloading all the luggage, we called it a night as we have to wake up very early the next morning.

My brother (traveling down from Penang) and my uncle (from Bukit Jalil) arrived the next morning around 7am. We left for the Chinese cemetery (which is located about 2-3km away) before 8am because we wanted to escape the afternoon heat. According to my grandma, we have eight people and seven tombs to cover. It's really been a long time since I've been back for Ching-Meng, I could hardly recall where those tombs are located.

The Parit Chinese Cemetery is a very traditional kinda burial ground, tombs were laid all over a small hill. A Guan-Yin temple was built much later next to the cemetery grounds, where people can make donations towards the maintenance of the cemetery. Almost everyone who died (in Parit) in the old days were all buried there.

Our family was among the first to arrive at the cemetery. We could still see some workers trying to clean up the wild bushes growing on some tombs. We started with the tomb of my late-grandfather, who passed away many years before I was born. We did the usual traditions like scattering color papers, lighting of incense, pray for prosperity, food offerings (namely kuih, kopi-o and some fruits) and last but not least, burning of "money", paper shirts, "gold paper". As we were doing the rituals, my granduncle would go and locate the next tomb that we were supposed to visit. He has surprisingly good memory of the locations of all our family tombs!

Along the way, my grandma and granduncle told us some stories about who were those people buried underground and how they died etc. We were surprised to know that one of our ancestors was murdered when he was stabbed by some gangsters during the old days. Others died mainly due to diseases or old age.

We repeated almost the same (traditional Chinese) rituals for all but the last tomb. That is because my late-great-grandparents (my grandma's parents) had converted to Catholics before they passed on. Both of them passed away one year apart at over 80 years old. Their burial ground was the most beautiful one (not to mention most recently built) as compared to the rest due to better living conditions of the family. Since my birth, they were the only close family members that have passed on. Unfortunately, Little Skywalker has never met them before.

Although we still burn "money" and stuffs, we did not light any incense for them. We put flowers and candles instead for our late-great-grandparents. We also threw in a extra pack of (fake) cigarettes into the flames because my great-grandfather loves them. My granduncle even lit a real cigarette and left it on top of the tomb stone to commemorate the dead.

While we were helping with the rituals, Little Skywalker was taught to "pray-pray" to his ancestors. He also wanted to play with the fruits and biscuits we served to our ancestors. Since he did not put them in his mouth, we just let him be. He is such a good boy and did not make much noise throughout the trip. He even say hello, goodbyes and even "sayang-sayang" the photos of our ancestors.

We completed "sweeping" the tombs of all our ancestors around 9.30am and adjourned to a nearby kopitiam to have our breakfast. It was not as tiring as we expected because we had many people to help out in all the activities.

To me, Ching Meng is just another tradition that will continue to bring families together once a year where we would remember about all the great sacrifices contributed by our ancestors during the old days. Without them, there would be no us. Without them, there would be no Little Skywalker.

God bless their souls...

Jotted down by Egghead :: at around 4/05/2006 09:08:00 AM :: and invited 10 Blah(s):


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