Clearing the Air

A post from Kuala Lumpur where rain has clouded the view.



To be honest, this has been a week of clouded views or perhaps clouded viewpoints. I have an elderly auntie (she lives in Petaling Jaya so she is PJ Auntie) who is very ill and since we are a large extended family, everyone has pitched in to give an opinion on the best way to care for her.

I have been slowly sifting through the opinions and not wholly unexpectedly, most of the logical advice has come from the doctors in our family.

When it comes to making arrangements for the funeral, everyone adopts a hands-off approach. Is it too troublesome? Too sad? Too scary?

So my beloved Kepong Auntie and I take on this task. Of all the events I have organised in my life, I did not think that I would be organising a funeral. Or, at least, not so unexpectedly.

My short trip here was to accompany my dad to his hospital appointments. Suddenly I am researching funeral organisers: Nirvana, Trinity and Heaven are some of their names. I wonder if there are others called Paradise, Angelic or Forever.

In order not to use the D-word, we say things like: should the inevitable happen, when the time comes, in the event that auntie is no longer with us. We know the end is near but we are not so forthright as to call a spade a spade.

Funeral Organisers are a bit like Wedding Planners and you do need to get a feel for them and the services they offer. We narrow it down to one and we have had two meetings with them. I explained that this was the first time I had been involved with anything of this kind and was reassured that we will walk with you every step of the way.

Kind of like Jesus, I guess.

We discuss the funeral service and any scripture passages that would be read at church. Jesus’ promise to his followers in John 14 verses 1-3 come to mind:


Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also


There may be many rooms in heaven but what about here on earth?

There are hospital rooms and there are hospital rooms. At this one, some of the rooms come with views of the Petronas Twin Towers or overlook a royal golf club. I am not an accountant but somewhere in my head there is a thought floating about that if it weren’t for the staff in medical gowns and the occasional sight of wheelchairs, this could be a very good value hotel in the heart of KL.



This is a sad time for everyone having a hand in the care of PJ Auntie’s last days. I have watched as the family gathered round her in a spirit of togetherness: eating, discussing, praying, sharing and comforting.

Large Chinese families, like ours, has its share of trials, but sometimes there are positives too. Not least because you can always gather company for whatever circumstances you find yourself in.