Singaporean Funeral Procession

Yesterday afternoon I was sitting at the kopitiam near where I live and I heard music, so I turned and looked up the road.  I saw what I thought was a parade and, being curious, I started taking photos.  I quickly finished my coffee and then moved down to the road where I could have a better view.

The decorations were very interesting and I thought the two guys wearing the costumes were very cool.

As another set of vehicles approached I noticed the music playing was more somber and mournful.  The music playing from the lead vehicle had been cheerful and lively sounding by comparison.  I then realized that the group of people following the vehicle were carrying an ornate wooden coffin above them, draped with flowers.  I didn’t take a photo of them, or the coffin, out of respect for the recently deceased.

The smile quickly faded from my face and I waited respectfully as the funeral procession passed before walking back home.  I guess not everything coming down the road playing music in Singapore marks a happy occasion.

The procession was similar to funeral processions in the US, but only vaguely.  In the US a procession is usually led by two police on motorcycles, followed by a cavalcade of vehicles with the hearse at the tail end followed by two more police on motorcycles.  It’s common courtesy and tradition (if not illegal to not do so) to pull over to the side of the road and wait for the procession to pass completely, before continuing down the road.  By comparison, traffic on the road around the procession here in Singapore couldn’t have cared less from what I saw.  One vehicle almost ran over some of the people walking while quickly turning onto a side road.

Different places, different customs.

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