To us Christians, death can be a privilege. If we have lived a virtuous life, death means going to heaven where we transform into a timeless existence and are re-united with God and other righteous souls. We are relieved of any worldly bondages and cravings.
So it has always baffled me that the Chinese would make all kinds of offerings to the dead that are supposed to satisfy worldly needs. I simply cannot understand how the dead may ever have the need for money and clothing, not to say how, even if the ‘need’ was there, how merely burning those paper bank notes could possibly improve their financial situation.
But make these offerings we do, like when my family sweeps my parents’ graves every Ching Ming and Chung Yeung. What is more bizarre is that the offerings have become more and more extravagant and elaborate. It was as if those in the underworld still crave for material comfort, and it was as if they, too, had to catch up with the times. So we burn them a house with all manners of modern luxury. And while we live in the i-world these days, it seems that there is an equivalence in the i-underworld.
Otherwise, why have the Chinese started offering their dead relatives the latest i-products, such as the iPad, iPhone, etc. that are shown in the photo above?
Steve Jobs should be pleased, even though the singed products may not contribute to the earnings of his company.