Titirangi Storyteller

Telling tales from around the world

RIPping in Penang

with 9 comments

I asked Dan, our driver in Penang, to take us to the local cemetery. As he was Chinese, he brought us to the Chinese cemetery. There had recently been a holiday honouring the dead, so many of the graves were festooned with blue and white flags and adorned with flowers and other honouring items. Dan was quite eager to point these out, guiding me to the enormous and very ornate grave of a wealthy couple, adorned with mythical creatures, statues of them and a wonderful view of the city before them. It really was quite spectacular, a deathstyle befitting their lifestyle. I took many photos.

As we were leaving and he got in the car, I asked for another moment – I wanted to look at the graves ‘over here.’  They were smaller, older, weedy and with an obstructed view. More my kind of place…

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Written by Titirangi Storyteller

25/05/2011 at 9:40 pm

Posted in Writing

Tagged with , , , , ,

9 Responses

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  1. I’ve always been fascinated with graveyards and how we care for our dead. In New Orleans the graveyards were segregated until recently. (this century) I visited an old one near my house there that was for black people only and it was touching how different it was. One grave even had a home made bar-b-que pit next to it. The family would come out and have a picnic with the lost loved one. Another on had astro-turf on it. I guess that person did not like to get wet or tend to weeds and the family respected their wishes.

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    Trinity River

    26/05/2011 at 2:16 am

    • Love it! They’ve long been a fascination for me as well. I spent a couple of years in a convent as a child when my mother was unable to take care of us. Not sure why, but on Sundays after mass, the nuns used to take us up to the convent cemetery if the weather was decent. I give that part credit for my storytelling ability (it’s also hereditary…) – I loved the place, loved the tombstones and the half-stories they told, leaving my rampant imagination to fill in the details…
      Come to think of it, I returned there a few years back and snapped a couple of shots… I must have a look at them and see if they would work here…

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  2. The orb seems very fitting. I hail you for taking the time to appreciate and capture the “ordinary”. Magnificent.

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    souldipper

    26/05/2011 at 7:26 am

    • Thank you… Not sure when it happened, but I lost interest in the lives of the rich and famous and developed a fascination with the common person’s day to day life and death around the world. Of course I went to the Forbidden City and would not miss the Taj Mahal if I were in the neighbourhood, but by real interest lies in the streets where people live, work and shop.
      Hmmm… they say the rich are not like us… I guess I am self-centred ;-}

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    • Also… it occurs me of course that I would be considered wealthy by much of the world. But still not one of the ‘elite’

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  3. Thank you for the ‘weedy’ graves. They always awake me and move forward… The graves of the unknown smells like the best rose – that great symbol – the living symbol … I could say that meeting with the grave helped me to pick my nickname <a href=http:// Art of Butterfly in Plaster.

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    Tomas

    27/05/2011 at 12:58 am

    • Thank you… I agree completely. It was a delicate balance as the driver wished for me to see the elegant, wealthy graves and I did not want to offend him. I think he thought me a little odd though…

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  4. Agree, the old ones have more character. I love cemeteries and am drawn to the older headstones. I hate some of the garish new ones–attempts to take it with them, so to speak.

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    poietes

    30/05/2011 at 11:11 am

    • It occurs to me that the newly dead are a bit like the nouveau riche – overdecorated, gaudy, often in poor taste. It takes a few years to mellow them out!

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