Nana Rohana House of Mourning

Nana Rohana House of Mourning

October 12th, 2013. The sky was clear and warm. In the morning, our family attended a funeral of our dear uncle, 82 years old, due to lung cancer. We knew this day would come soon, but death always come in the time when we were not fully prepared. Because we are discussing about funeral, I will as well explain how the rite was going… especially for us, Christian Chinese descent staying in Indonesia, especially West Java. Because we are Chinese descent and this dear uncle was a Chinese-born before migrated to Indonesia years ago, we still hold some Chinese tradition. The body was bathed the day after his passing and was put in the coffin in hospital, and later moved to house of mourning. Family, friends, and colleagues spend some donation to the family who mourned either by sending flowers, an embroidery like in the picture above, and telling public about uncle’s passing in local newspaper. Unlike Muslim brethren in which the body should be buried at the same day, Christians didn’t have such obligatory. Church avoided burial rite in Sunday, though, because every pastors and priests are on duty.

In the morning after we came, we had simple church service, sang hymns, and short preaching. Then one of family’s representative would give testimony, and the “rite” ended by priest’s blessing. It was pretty simple rather than Buddhist – Confucian rite, which my grandmother had gone through @___@ (I didn’t even know when and what had happened back then…) Next, we went to our private cars or got in the bus provided by committee (or mourning house). The coffin will be carried by an ambulance, guarded by police (there were two police motorcycles and one police car). The others would need to follow the ambulance to burial site / cemetery.

Pandu Cemetery, Bandung

Pandu Cemetery, Bandung

I will not say anything about “something wrong in this cemetery” — no, no, no ghost or whatever. I am talking about children beggars who are warndering around cemetery to beg for money for whatever. From previous post I’ve stated that in Indonesia, especially Bandung, beggars are not “the poor”. Okay, back to topic (it was sure a mood-breaker in the middle of burial, really). The ambulance stopped in PANDU cemetery. It was an old cemetery mainly for Christian or Catholics, built by Dutch who occupied Indonesia hundred years ago. I know it wasn’t neatly done… even cemeteries here has their own problems.

Setting political problems aside, I found a writings in Dutch….

bezoekers ereveld pandu

100 m doorrijden en bellen
bij de poort. er is voldoende.
parkeerruimte op het
ereveld pandu.

directie ogs indonesie.

Looks like it was an announcement for Pandu cemetery visitors regarding parking lot…^^;

Fare thy well

Fare thy well

The site was already prepared beforehand (including giant umbrella and boxes of roses). After all visitors have gathered, the priest told us to sing one or two hymns and gave a testimony. He would raise a cup full of dirt, saying famous “ash to ash, but spirit shall go to The Lord’s”. We would take last photograph before the coffin was set down to earth, then we lined up neatly to lay a wreath (rose petals, chrysanthemum and some other flowers like jasmine) for the last time. The family would wait for the visitors near exit gate to shake hands and exchange hugs. It wasn’t finished yet, that the visitors are invited to a feast for the deceased in a restaurant that was prepared by the committee.

There is a sad but inspiring story about this restaurant. It is a famous Chinese (Cantonese) Restaurant in Bandung, built since – uh – it was there even before I was born. Its name is QUEEN restaurant (shameless promotion… but everyone know this restaurant has best Chinese cuisine). My late uncle and aunt married there. This year before uncle got ill, they had 50th wedding anniversary there. And uncle’s passing was held… there. For me, this couple is legendary.

Fare thy well, Uncle. All we know is that, we are no longer sad. You have believed in Jesus, and is now celebrating a feast with Him in the heaven.

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