Friday, December 18, 2015

Mrs. Teo Siok Guan, Death April 1935, Singapore

The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), 12 April 1935, Page 11 

One of the longest Chinese funeral processions seen in Singapore for years was that of Mrs. Teo Siok Guan, the beloved wife of Towkay Teo Siok Guan, proprietor of Messrs. Guan Hoe and Company on Hill Street, which took place on Tuesday.

Chinese funeral rites which have been undergoing some changes because of western ideas, are still observed by quite a large number of Singapore Chinese. Although the mile-long funeral procession is rarely seen nowadays, one often sees fortunes being spent in performing funeral rites and after-funeral rituals at the home of the deceased. It is the last chance a son has to show his duty to his parent.

The funeral of Mrs. Teo was attended by hundreds of friends and relatives, many of whom accompanied the coffin as far as the burial ground. The large number of public bodies which were represented at the procession indicates the popularity of her husband and her grow up children and the large attendance of ladies speaks volumes for the deceased. Among those seen were members of the Tong Teck United Library, Singapore Chinese Traders' Association and the Ee Yiong Sports Club, Sin Cheh Chinese Dispensary, Malacca Car Dealers' Association and several other local public bodies.

Crowds Of Friends.

Like other Chinese funerals, the procession started with a big crowd of friends and relatives who walked slowly before and after the casket which was mounted on a motor-lorry profusely decorated with fresh orchids and other flowers.

Behind the casket was a long line of motor-cars and buses bearing the women mourners and their friends, the children of the deceased in overcoats and shoes of coarse hemp cloth as a sign of deep mourning while the nephews, nieces and other relatives were dressed in overcoats of coarse white cloth. The husband wore a gown of coarse black cloth.

Following the largest scroll with Chinese characters on it which was carried by two coolies who held both ends of it by means of two bamboo sticks, were scores of silk scrolls with characters stitched on them, eulogising the good qualities of the deceased lady. Some of the eulogies were "her name lives for thousand years," "an exemplary mother," "a model woman" etc.

Each lot of scrolls was headed by a Chinese band and there were at least six bands which vied with one another to make the loudest noise, while the women mourners kept up a continuous cry, and the Chinese Buddhists who led the procession chanted prayers simultaneously.

The deceased left three sons and five daughters to mourn her loss. The majority of them are still in school.

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