Qingming offerings of three brothers for their late mother was cleared in under 20 minutes, even before they finish their respects at Choa Chu Kang Columbarium, Singapore.
Peng Hongmao, which all names hanyu pinyin, 61, and his two older brothers are angry after they experienced that on the afternoon of April 15.
Hongmao told Shin Min Daily News that this year was the 13th year in observing the Qingming tradition.
The brothers set up different food and beverage, such as cakes, fruits, tea, wine and some other offerings on a small table in the cemetery. Afterwards, they burn paper offerings nearby.
When they went back to continue paying their respect after 20 minutes, the brothers found that all their offerings, along with the table, had been removed and thrown into garbage bags.
Hongmao added that he immediately asked the cleaning staff at that time, but they informed him that they did not know where the offerings were and who has gotten them.
Two Columbarium staff apologised to the family, but can’t why it happened.
Qingming offerings attract birds
“Subsequently, a staff member called me to explain that the food had been cleared so it would not attract birds,” Hongmao elaborated.
But, he is unconvinced about the explanation because he claimed it is rare to see birds in the Columbarium.
The family initially planned to offer tea and wine to their late mother after burning the paper offerings.
And they intended to bring some of the food home as a tradition.
“That is disrespectful to [my late mother],” Hongmao expressed to Shin Min.
With the incident, Hongmao grabbed a cleaner’s arm and demanded that they apologised to his late mother. Then, the police were called.
“This incident has saddened us greatly, and [I] couldn’t sleep well that night,” Hongmao shared.
He also told Shin Min that he is waiting for a satisfactory explanation for the incident.
Qingming can only be observed once a year; hence, Hongmao and his family expressed disappointment as they cannot pay their respects again.
Hongmao opined that the cleaning staff at the Columbarium must have respect and a good understanding of traditional Chinese customs and taboos.
Qingming Festival or also called Tomb-Sweeping Day is annually celebrated on April 5. It is a traditional Chinese festival observed by several countries in Asia.
In celebrating the festival, people clean the tombs of their ancestors and make offerings to the dead. Some people also go on outings to relax in nature, fly kites and eat special foods.