Posts Tagged ‘columbarium’

A deadly serious business

In News Reports, Society on January 30, 2015 at 2:12 am

So Eternal Pure can’t build its temple-cum-columbarium in Sengkang after all. National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said the G didn’t know it was a purely commercial company and had nothing to do with religion. Here’s a peek at what happened from the point of view of the company 

They were dead on the money. What could be better than going into real estate in Singapore? Shoe-box apartments for the living might go empty, but a shoe-box for the dead? Everybody needs a shoe box sooner or later, unless they prefer to be set adrift in the sea. And in Singapore, with its ageing population, people will be queuing up to see the showflat. Plus, this niche property development won’t be subject to the vagaries of G controls, or debt servicing ratios. Yep! A columbarium it is!

The members of the Living or Dead company based Down Under congratulated themselves on hitting on the idea. Their underground cavern shook. Claws were sharpened. Bones jangled. Saliva dripped. Until someone intoned zombie-like that private columbariums were already in existence and buying land would drain the company’s coffers. It might prove a dead loss. What the hell!

There was a deadly silence, until a bony one suggested bidding for land intended for a religious purpose. Why not build the shell and rent it out to a religious organization? And then build a columbarium on the side?

Somebody guffawed, clapping his paws. What a heaven-sent idea! These temples and churches don’t have much money (and City Harvest is busy in court), they could out bid any one of them for the land. A small, cautious voice piped up: Is this allowed? Won’t the G check to see if a religious group was bidding for the plot? Then it would a dead end…

The fanged one looked up from his red liquid diet. Private companies were already allowed to bid for land for religious purposes, he said. These G fellas assume that the companies are set up by the religious organisations or in some kind of joint venture…

“Assume? They don’t check?’’ asked a clawed one.

“Naah. Haven’t done so in 20 years…’’ replied the fanged one.  “But we will need a name that sounds religious…’’

After some brain-storming which did not include the headless one, they decided on Heavenly Life. They dug into their pickets and unearthed $20m, setting aside $5.2 m for the bid. Of course, they won. The Living or Dead members thought they would be safe for all eternity, drawing an income from Singaporeans’ obsession with real estate. They didn’t reckon that their plot would be undone by….Singaporeans’ obsession with real estate.

The members met a second time to discuss the dark forces massing to attack their proposed columbarium. The living was unhappy about living next to the dead. The homes of living were their places of rest, the living said, and they can’t rest easy next to the resting places of the rest. Plus, the value of their homes would go down.

The fanged one, draining his cup, insisted that the Singapore G was good in the way that it would refuse to climb down despite the noise. “It is not in its DNA,’’ he said knowingly. “I’ve had a taste of it.’’

The clawed one wasn’t so sure. He preferred to slash the residents and accuse them of nimby-ness. “Let’s attack that front, and hopefully, we will keep our plot and our other plot won’t be discovered.’’

But things were not to be.

It wasn’t nimby-ness that killed the plans of the Living or Dead. Residents had discovered the plot and raised a stink to high heaven about the G awarding the plot to a commercial company.

The G said it had never intended the plot to go to commercial companies. It just hadn’t caught up with private sector’s dark and nefarious ways of making money and didn’t think to ward it off with any garlic, wooden stakes or special incantations. You know, it’s like how you wouldn’t expect a woman disguised as a man to attend a function that is clearly for men. The word most commonly used: ASSuME

Plus the religious groups were pushing back – and they were people that the G could not afford to antagonise.

The Living or Dead had to stop its shares trading on the stock market Down Under. They re-grouped. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Their underground cavern shook. The fanged one demanded blood. The clawed one broke up the furniture. Only the zombie remained unfazed. He intoned: They could pick a religion – Taoism, Buddhism or any Chinese diety – become converts, start a religious organisation and bid for the land legitimately.

The rest looked up, be-witched by the idea. Until a small, cautious voice piped up and said that the nimby issue would still be an issue. Did the Living or Dead want to waste precious time combating these would-be neighbours? It would drain the life out of them…

The headless one nodded with his foot.

The fanged one picked his teeth.

The clawed one started his manicure.

The bony one rattled.

They wanted revenge.

They turned to the small, cautious one.

With one voice, they said: “Go infest the place.’’


A life-and-death conversation

In News Reports, Society on January 5, 2015 at 8:47 am

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!