So there’s a row about a columbarium to be built by a private company next to a BTO development called Fernvale Lea in Sengkang. Prospective residents who’ve put down money say that the publicity materials gave more focus to the building of a Chinese temple rather than its attached columbarium. Unfair, they said. They might not have bought the BTO flat if they knew. Some want their money back.
Here’s the story:
Dead: Wow! What a beautiful home I will have in this new housing estate. Did you see the architecture? It must be because a private developer is doing this. Life Corp. How nice, the name…I’m dying to move in.
Living: Please lah. I am going to move into the area too. Why can’t you stay at some ulu place far away like where the foreign worker dorms are sited?
Dead: Eh, you didn’t read the brochures properly ah? Anyway, you won’t be able to see my home. I think I am going to be underground – as usual. And my neighbours and I are just taking up 20 per cent of the place.
Living: Doesn’t matter! Fact is, I didn’t know you were going to be my neighbor. Never mind if you’re out of sight. The fact people know you are there is going to push down my resale price!
Dead: Oi! This is going to be my permanent home! You already thinking of selling yours ah? Plenty of other residential areas have columbariums. Next door at Anchorvale, there are three Chinese temples with columbariums! So what’s your problem?
Living: I don’t care. Maybe those stupid residents there bought and didn’t know until they moved in. But now that the rest of us who haven’t moved in know, we die, die want something done! I bet the G just gave the land to the highest bidder which happens to be a private developer. What kind of private developer builds temples?
Dead: Don’t confuse the issue. If it’s some Chinese society which builds my home, you’ll still kao peh, kao bu. (Oops! They not alive ah…sorry…did you put them in some ulu place…?) Okay, okay, you just don’t want to live with the dead. I assure you I won’t be any problem at all. I won’t make any noise, won’t spit, won’t litter. I am not even a foreigner. You will hardly see me. And remember that it’s a columbarium, not a crematorium!
Living: But what about your relatives and so who come and visit you? There will be traffic jams during Ching Ming! This is a deadly serious issue!
Dead: Your relatives don’t visit you ah? Public holidays no jams ah? I thought the Government wants family members to stay tight knit! You don’t want my relatives to visit me ah? How many times you visit your parents?
Living: Not the point! Not your business how often I visit my parents. I want my money back. Refund! Of all things, put a columbarium there… Why not a hawker centre or childcare centre or something? The space is supposed to be for community use right? This is a new development, probably plenty of young families…why remind us of what will happen to us eventually?
Dead: Are you superstitious? Or it’s just resale value you worry about. So other people are superstitious but not you…Got find out whether resale prices near columbariums really go down or not? Anyway, where you expect me to go? Bukit Brown already gone. Chua Chu Kang…hmmm…landed property. Already filled and maybe even some re-settlement… My children should have scattered my ashes into the sea…..waaaaiiiilllll
Living: Stop this rubbish! Not blaming you! Blaming the government! The HDB! The MP! Money grubbing capitalist corporations! All trying to hoodwink decent hardworking residents!
Dead: Anyway, you go see what your MP can do lah. You keep the issue alive, maybe the government will go soft and relent. Or maybe the deal already signed and sealed in concrete. Dead in the water liao.
Living: It’s very simple. We don’t have enough land for the living and the dead. The living must take priority. The dead should remain dead silent. So shut up and stay dead!