Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Thai Funeral @ Wat Sraket, Bangkok

It was the first time in my life to visit Bangkok for just a 1 night's stay. It was also the first time my whole family were together in Bangkok to attend the funeral of my mother's only brother. He was a doctor who graduated from the prestigious medical school of Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok before moving his practices to Philadelphia and San Francisco before retiring his last years in Thailand. He passed away in 2011 and had pledged to donate his body to the same medical school at Siriraj Hospital for them to do research and studies.




His body was released to his family recently and he was accorded the sponsored Royal Funeral at the Wat Sraket (Temple) in Bangkok. Usually only the Royalties and High Ranking families would be able to conduct funeral rites at Wat Sraket. I am not bragging here but just wish to share some few photos of this high profile funeral for your own knowledge only.





Wat Sraket is a well known temple in the heart of Bangkok and attracts many tourists & worshipers who would climb their way up the monument. The above building is where the funeral and cremation ceremonies are conducted for the privileged ones.


Many distinguished guests were invited for the last day where long lines of flashy cars carried the VVIPs, Movie Stars and Hi-Societies including the former PM Anand Panyarachun. He has white grey hair and can be seen seated in the above photo. My brother and father sat behind while I sat with my wife and cousins farther back.



It is a funeral customary in Thailand where the deceased's family would specially print invitation cards to invite relatives and close friends to attend the funerals. All the attendees must wear full black where the men has to wear black ties and ladies in long black attires. The high society would often visit saloons to get their hair done with make ups to look good as their personal respects for the send off ceremony.




They have beautiful wreaths and funeral offerings for the altar and monks. My niece who is the well known actress and face for SK-II received the flowers for her grandfather's demise.



At the main hall, they placed my uncle's casket facing the seated attendees and mourners. It was beautifully decorated with fresh white roses and white flowers which made the air very sweet and fragrant smelling. It was the first time I actually saw white roses with my own eyes.




This is a close up view of the casket which was placed in front of the door leading to the cremation pyre behind.




A relative told me that the highest ranking monks in Bangkok conducted the prayers everyday. I had earlier posted these similar photos in my Facebook and was surprised to see several monks responded with comments and "Like". Time has changed and Facebook has become a necessity for communication tools.



Life is just a journey for everyone of us. Time flies very fast. We should lead a meaningful life and live our lives to the fullest. My late uncle was indeed a blessed man with his kindness and selfless deeds even after death by donating his whole body. I could not even bring myself to donate my organs or cornea when I die. I guess I am a real coward! Tell me, have you pledged your organs after death? My wife bravely did long ago.




I am proud to say that my nieces and nephews in Bangkok are surprisingly all very good looking people. Here my famous niece knelt to give offerings and make merits for her late grandfather. Her cousin who is also my nephew in white shirt with titles to his name and is well known in the celebrity gossip magazines.




At 3:00pm sharp the Royal Guards from the Grand Palace arrived with the lighted candle which was being lit by HM The King. The monks conducted the final rites and transferred the King's candle fire to the casket to start the cremation.






My old and frail mother was the first to place her joss stick and sandal wood flowers,




followed by the former PM, the Royalties, relatives and even movie stars.




This is how the joss stick looks after being beautifully wrapped with candles and sandal wood flowers.





Here my other pretty niece carried the tray of joss sticks and offered to all the mourners.





This is how an honoured funeral is like in Thailand.


52 comments:

  1. WOW! This is my very first time seeing such royalty funeral. It's unlike any funeral that I attended/seen before, whereby the family and relatives were sobbing and crying.

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    Replies
    1. The royal funeral was so grand, with smart dress code, just like in the movie.... I only wore a white t-shirt with black pants during my grandma's funeral.

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    2. Eh, Ah Hua got first sip here, yay!!

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    3. This is the Buddhism way of funerals in Thailand where one has to wear clean clothes and look your best but in black to honour the dead. This will show your respects to the deceased's family as well. Even the biggest enemies in Thailand would often show up at the rival's funerals and paid respects by showing that all conflicts has ended, to be forgotten and forgiven. I think we have opposite styles here.

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    4. It is really a very grand funeral..
      have to wear Kot to attend...

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  2. Annay's uncle was so famous and a descendent of royal blood. Annay also got royal blood?

    Adoi, I cannot address annay as "Annay" or "dei", that would be too rude and my head may get chopped off anytime when Annay is unhappy.

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    Replies
    1. From today onwards, Ah Hua will only call annay as His Highness Royal the Prince Annay Tan.

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    2. His Supreme Royal Highness Anay Tan the Prince of Tirachirrupali..

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    3. SK, where is this place Tirachirrupali?

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    4. oopps so sorry, the name is so long that i always mispronounce and misspelt it..

      Tiruchirappalli is a city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and the administrative headquarters of Tiruchirappalli District.

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    5. Tiruchirappalli ??? Oh that one is Thambee and Anay's hometown!!!

      Woii pleaseeee don't call me HRH. Damn malu only/ My blood is A+ and not blue! Wakakakakakaka

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    6. LOL......i thought Tiru chop mali

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    7. wah this annay have macam macam of blood..
      now royalty blood.. must one day suck his blood see whether is sweet or not... LOL

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  3. It's contradict to our culture here, if we were to don nicely to a funeral, with hairdo and so, the society will condemn that we must wear down to show our sadness and respect. Is it so?

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    Replies
    1. But I believe the way we dress show how we respect the situation, scene and people.

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    2. I understand the culture here which sometimes seemed odd to me on certain things. Some tend to fake to show how sad they are. There are still families who hired professional mourners to cry at funerals, just to show. Alamak! By right we should not wail and scream so much as it would affect the dead souls from ascending to better realms.

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    3. Due to my upbringing in the Thai way, I often wore all black to attend funerals of non relatives in Malaysia. All eyes looked at me in greatest disbelief!

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    4. HUH???not wear black meh??? wear black for funeral mah....

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  4. this is indeed a very informative post that shares the experience Anay had with a funeral from a different culture.. kudos to Anay!!

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    1. everything looked so neat, tidy, well coordinated, prepared and under controlled.. is this just the royal funeral or all funerals in thailand are done so?? cos i compared it with the taoism funeral we have here, you see high and low easily..

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    2. everyone took things seriously, all in black suit attending the ceremony.. unlike ours here, you just wear anything on you to the funeral (shots, worn-out tees and slippers).. Anay looked so mart in all black lah.. and Anay's brother sitting beside the dad, looks like a HK actor..

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    3. Anay's late uncle was surely a person of high esteem and widely respected.. all the VVIPs of Thailand, even the King and the royal family, went to pay their last respect.. this must be the grandest funeral Anay has ever attended, and for sure the grandest most of us have ever seen..

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    4. this is somehow like the christian funeral inside a church.. not those taoism funeral with monks and sifu running here and there chanting and directing the family members who seem to be lost to run here and there together..

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    5. Anay should have taken photos together with your beautiful nieces and nephews.. i am sure we all are curious to see who they are..

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    6. I took photos with some of them but it would not be appropriate to post them here. My intention is just to show the customary ways of the honoured funerals. You can see my cousins posted their beautiful kids in their facebooks.

      Not all funerals are like this in Thailand where they have such a privileged large hall with a built in cremation pyre. Others are held in simple halls or at home and no platforms to seat the monks complete with dining tables! However all Thais do wear full black to funerals and those who wear suits are the upper classes. The weather was damn hot and I was soaked wet inside with a smiling face outside.

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  5. A very interesting and informative one! Thanks for sharing!

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    Replies
    1. Just like you, I must share all infos and photos for knowledge.

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  6. Most of the things I want to say one, SK said already.

    I just want to add, Anay's uncle is really a very kind and blessed person. I many times thought of going to sign up to donate my organs, but I still don't have the courage to do so. I am a coward person too.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, your nieces and nephew are all good looking.

      Anay too looks smart in black suit.

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    2. I like listening to Thai monks chanting, because my mom always brought me to Siamese Temple when I was young.

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    3. luckily Anay doesn't have the commenting contest over here.. else you would have to copy & paste & modify my comments for all that i've said on your behalf~~ :D

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    4. I did enjoy hearing the monks chanting too - So serene and peaceful mantras! It helped to detoxify and purify my brains. LOL

      We should try our best to sign up to pledge our eye balls or organs. In the sutra it says that heavens will come to ferry the dead's soul before the doctors knife the body. Looks like a place in heavens will be guaranteed! Many death row prisoners who had sinned managed to be saved after deaths because they pledged their organs or bodies!

      Come on, let's do it!!!!

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    5. tQ for sharing a very interesting post about an exclusive MIB funeral. Kop khun krap. Yes Bananaz had pledged all organs to NKF in 80's at Komtar after a poster 'You can save four lives' caught his attention. We must not be too attached to our body or organs after all we do not own them.

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  7. Looks like a function full of protocol and rules. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. Such an enlightening post.

    We got to know how a funeral is done in a different country and culture.

    And it's a high society one to boot!

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    Replies
    1. If not for HRH Tan Sri Anay, we would not have the privilege of learning about this. :)

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  9. any different in Malaysian Buddha with Thailand Buddha that u can observe? just wondering coz i saw macam a bit different kan? no baju guni (i dun know what it is called)...

    good info!

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  10. Condolences, may he rest in peace.

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  11. I believe you on the SK11 part, Arc Worldwide is the agency handling it... :)

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  12. Thanks for sharing with us the special funeral ceremony~~

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  13. Wow! What a grand funeral! Must look good to attend a funeral? I think this should be the way as it's a good respect for the dead.

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  14. So not crying and wailing? I think it's good cos crying will only make the deceased not resting in peace right?

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  15. Wow! Got former PM and movie stars too?

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  16. Thanks for sharing this. It's a real eye opener : )

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  17. Interesting! I have never seen a Thai wedding before - didn't know they have a custom of not mourning out loud. Cheers! :)

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  18. It was grand funeral. May your uncle rest in peace. He sounds a good, kind man.

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  19. Replies
    1. wow...your mom first one to place the joss stick...PM also behind her...ahem ahem if in Msia maybe you know who will be the front la..

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    2. the joss stick unique la....wondering for all temple this type of joss stick or only this ceremony aje.

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  20. so now I guess you will visit BangKOK more often..

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