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But for the fonts and pronouns …

But for the fonts and pronouns …

The well decorated chapel exuded nothing but melancholy.  The black and red draping on various sections of the tall walls in the room had created a hue so thick, no joy could permeate.  


The wailing of women mostly filled the chapel as the organist, a grey-haired pensioner whose only duty it was, to play tunes to bid farewell the soul of dearly departed, ensured that his skills for that morning were apt. 

Once a while, the Youth Choir which had been hired to belt out solemn tunes would come up stage to minister thought-provoking refrains.  Filing past was still ongoing; time was approximately 7:54 a.m., the auditorium was filled to capacity.  The overflow outside was equally filling up.  The crowd was huge, but it was to be expected.  The deceased left behind 17 sons and five daughters who were all adults now.  So let’s calculate.  Even if each child was contributing the presence of 20 sympathisers, how many people would be in attendance apart from relatives? 

I didn’t know personally the 82-year old man for whom we mourned; he was the father of a secondary school mate.  Our Year-Group’s President had nominated me as one of the five set to represent our class. 

The wailings of the five women who were seated among the congregation were enough to make anybody cry.  Wanting the video man to pick up a shot of a “sympathisingly” empathising Ablah, I forced a tear or two by reminiscing the good times I’d had with my dad so many years ago. 

So the diplomatically arranged event commenced after the casket was covered.  By and by came the reading of biography and tributes.  It was such a sad moment listening to all the nice things being said about the man who had passed on to glory in his sleep.  I was very interested in the “Tribute by Children” so I was all ears as the oldest son mounted the podium to testify about their father.  He cleared his throat as he folded the right side pages of the thick brochure to fit underneath the left pages, for easy access and reading. 

“First and foremost, I would like to thank each and every one of you for your support and prayers for my family over the past five very difficult weeks. It means a lot to me and my family to know how much my father has "touched" so many lives.  To sum up what daddy meant to us in a few short paragraphs is impossible. We are not even used to him being gone yet. We have been so overwhelmed with emotions.

Anyone who knew daddy knew how much he loved his family. He worked hard to provide for his family. He was such a selfless person. He was a beautiful person inside and out. We are so incredibly grateful and blessed to have shared this precious life on earth with him…” 

As he went on and on, every word he spoke became more and more familiar – it was as if I had seen the same tribute in another brochure before.  I refrained from reading from the copy of the booklet I had, but rather shut my eyes to see if I could call from memory, the rest of the words to be read by the grief-stricken gentleman.  His words met my interior monologue pƐpƐƐpƐ.  Alas, those were the exact words I had used in drafting a tribute for my friend, Kate’s mother.  My text was original.  So how come this one in the brochure were exactly mine?  The only things that had been altered from that of Kate’s mother’s were the fonts used in printing as well as the change of pronouns.  The rest were same, same, same.  To say that I was stunned would be an understatement.  Copy and Paste paa in a funeral brochure!  Did it mean all that had been written about the old man weren’t entirely true? 

As I pondered on how anyone could peddle lies about a departed one, (no matter how good the lies sounded, they were still lies) I eaves-dropped the conversation between two elderly women seated on the pew right in front of me.  They spoke in hush tones so anyone could have hardly heard them.  But their nonverbal communication made for so much pelting of information about the old man who was being celebrated.  “Hoh, let’s think!  If  everything they are reading about this man were true, Ebow and Sally wouldn’t have been brought up by one of our aunts.  Chiaaa, he was a very irresponsible man.  Those women crying in the congregation were all hired to play their roles.  They were hired to sit in different places and create sadness.   Isn’t it pathetic that his first wife whom he deserted was the one who took care of him till he died?  All these “as if as if” things they are doing here … as if he was a good man bi aaaaama”, then she kissed her teeth and straightened up as though she wasn’t the one who had just gossiped. 

That conversation was enough for me to deduce that indeed, Kate’s mother’s funeral brochure had been dubbed for this purpose. The other tributes that followed in the brochure followed the similitude of my original.  Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?   Why would anyone copy and paste information from another person’s brochure.  Such personal information which is supposed to be the true reflection of the life-style of the dead.  Why? 

When I arrived home, I put out both brochures for a clean comparison.  The surprise was too much.  But really, was it by force for a brochure or such glowing tributes to be written about a man who had once shirked his responsibility as a father?  Agh, I just don’t get it.  

Why be hypocritical about the life of the person.  If there’s nothing to say, there’s nothing to say.  Nothing should be copied or forged for another in terms of tributes.  This is a case of public deceit.  I wasn’t amused and I still am not.  How I wish I could ask someone a few questions.  Mtcheeeeew. 


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