Thu, Oct 05, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Woman adorns family burial site with mahjong

By Chen Kuan-pei and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A family grave decorated with mahjong tiles at Changhua County’s Pusin Township Public Cemetery No. 5 is pictured on Sept. 19.

Photo: Chen Kuan-pei, Taipei Times

A Changhua County woman surnamed Hu (胡) has lined the grave of her parents and brother with mahjong tiles for their enjoyment in the afterlife.

Pusin Township Public Cemetery No. 5 (埔心鄉第五公墓) is known for its natural burials, with only clumps of lilyturf marking graves in lieu of conventional headstones.

Many of the cemetery’s graves are adorned with colorful stones or other personalized decorations, including the Hu family’s plot, which is enclosed with four stacks of mahjong tiles as if ready for a game.

Hu said that laying her brother, who passed away late last month, to rest at the natural burial site with her parents’ ashes was not a decision she took lightly.

“I disliked the idea of burying my family at some dark, lightless tower-mausoleum or gloomy graveyard,” Hu said.

She said she decided to bury her parents’ ashes with her brother, because the three were inseparable in life and often played mahjong together.

After her parents passed away, the family’s mahjong set was put away and forgotten until shortly before her brother’s funeral, Hu said.

“Just then, my daughter reminded me that grandpa and grandma loved the game and we should decorate their grave with the set they used to play. So we took out the dusty, old tiles from our old home and put them on the grave,” she said.

Although some of the family’s acquaintances asked whether it was appropriate to lay out a mahjong game with one player short, she told them her family was accustomed to three-player games, Hu said.

“Anyway, they will have plenty of friends to invite in the new neighborhood. I have also told my husband that I want to be buried with my family, so they would have a full table in heaven,” she said.

The cemetery is the only one in the county to offer natural burials, Pusin Township Mayor Chang Cheng-yu (張乘瑜) said.

Families interested in laying their loved ones to rest with eco-friendly and natural burials should consider the cemetery, which is to host a group funeral on Nov. 7, with sign-up available until Oct. 20, Chang said.

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