Sibu cemeteries quiet as Chinese stay home for the MCO

Picture for illustration only – from The Star

By John Isaac

IT was quiet at cemetery grounds around Sibu today as the Chinese community stayed home to abide by the Movement Control Order (MCO) to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Today is Qing Ming, also known as Chinese All Souls Day or Tomb-Sweeping Day, and the Chinese community will traditionally observe the 2,500-year-old festival to honour their ancestors by cleaning their tombs.

Each year, 10 days before or after the actual date, a crowd of people will gather at the cemeteries to pray and to pay respects to the departed.

A check at the Chiang Chuan cemetery at Jalan Bukit Lima this morning by Borneo Post revealed that it was completely devoid of visitors.

A spokesperson from Nirvana Memorial Park said they had already closed the park since the MCO came into effect on March 18.

“We still received lots of calls from our clients who wanted to go to pay respect to their ancestors or loved ones at Nirvana Memorial Park, and most of them accepted our explanations on the closure after we told them to abide by the MCO,” the spokesman said.

However, the spokesman said the park is still open to cater to funeral services only.

Sibu United Chinese Graveyard Association Chairman Teo Boon Siew, when contacted, expressed gratitude to the Chinese community for abiding by the MCO.

He understood that it was a difficult decision to make especially when one had to forego a centuries-old tradition.

“Some of my friends in Kanowit also called me to help them get the permit to go to the cemetery in Kanowit to pay respects. I told them it was not really necessary due to the seriousness of Covid-19,” he said.