• Short Summary

    BY GRANVILLE WATTS: SINGAPORE, REUTER - THE COST OF DYING IS GOING UP FOR SINGAPORE'S CHINESE POOR.

  • Description

    1.
    LS Sign Sago Lane pan to old 3-storey shop/houses
    4 ft

    2.
    MS Old-storey shop tilt to funeral ceremony
    11 ft

    3.
    MS Priest leads mourners
    18 ft

    4.
    CU demolition of old shops & houses
    21 ft

    5.
    MLS ditto
    26 ft

    6.
    LS demolished building pan to evacuated old death houses
    28 ft

    7.
    MS empty death houses
    31 ft

    8.
    MS pan shot ditto
    34 ft

    9.
    LS top?view demolition work with foreground cleared for new flats
    37 ft

    10.
    LS housing estate pan to new funeral parlours & undertakers shop on industrial estate
    43 ft

    11.
    MS pan undertakers shop sign boards
    45 ft

    12.
    LS exterior funeral parlours pan to street
    48 ft

    13.
    CU funeral parlour sign
    49 ft

    14.
    MS coffin painting inside undertakers shop
    51 ft

    15.
    MS coffin painted, zoom to WS parlour
    56 ft

    16.
    MS another shop sign pan to entrance
    59 ft

    17.
    CU paper 'presents' for the dead (till UP)
    62 ft

    18.
    MS sign board pan to almost deserted road
    66 ft



    Initials



    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: BY GRANVILLE WATTS: SINGAPORE, REUTER - THE COST OF DYING IS GOING UP FOR SINGAPORE'S CHINESE POOR.

    ONE OF THE REASONS IS THAT FIVE OF THE TRADITIONAL + DEATH HOUSES + HAVE BEEN MOVED FROM CROWDED CHINATOWN TO A MODERN INDUSTRIAL ESTATE ON THE CITY'S WESTERN OUTSKIRTS.

    WHILE THE NEW PREMISES ARE BETTER VENTILATED AND MORE HYGIENIC THAN THE CRAMPED QUARTERS IN SAGO LANE -- KNOWN AS + THE DEAD MAN'S STREET + (SEE-LANG KUI)--
    THEY HAVE LOST ALL THE TRADITIONAL ATMOSPHERE CONNECTED WITH THE OLD FUNERAL PARLOURS.

    ONE WOMAN UNDERTAKER ON THE NEW ESTATE, MRS WONG PHO YOOK, CONFESSED THAT SHE WAS FINDING BUSINESS.....WELL, DEAD QUIET.

    + THIS PLACE IS LIKE A GHOST TOWN, + SHE SAID.

    MRS. WONG SAID MANY PEOPLE WERE UNAWARE THAT THE FUNERAL PARLOURS HAD BEEN MOVED OUT OF CHINATOWN, WHICH IS BEING PULLED DOWN TO MAKE WAY FOR NEW BUILDINGS.

    OTHERS FOUND THE JOURNEY OUT OF TOWN TOO FIRING OR EXPENSIVE, SHE SAID.

    THE NEW FUNERAL PARLOURS ALSO MISS MOST OF THE +AUXILIARY+ SERVICES WHICH WERE AVAILABLE IN SAGO LANE -- THE FLORISTS, FUNERAL MUSICIANS, PRIESTS AND THE MAKERS OF THE PARAPHERNALIA OF DEATH - - PAPER CARS, FURNITURE, FOOD, BOATS AND CLOTHING -- WHICH ARE BURNED TO ACCOMPANY THE DECEASED INTO THE NEXT LIFE.

    THESE TRADITIONAL CHINESE WORKERS IN THE DEATH BUSINESS HAVE ALL BEEN REHOUSED IN NEW FLATS IN SAGO LANE AND NOW HAVE TO MAKE THE FIGHT-MILE (13 KILOMETRES) JOURNEY OUT TO THE NEW ESTATE WHEN THEY ARE NEEDED.

    ONE WOMAN, WHO SPECIALISES IN MAKING PAPER CARS AND HOUSES TO BE BURNED AS +GIFTS+ TO THE DEAD, HAS BEEN HOUSED AT THE ESTATE, BUT ALSO MISSES THE OLD SCENE IN SAGO LANE.

    MADAM CAHU KUAN YING, 61, HAS BEEN IN THE DEATH INDUSTRY SINCE SHE WAS 14.

    +OUR NEW PLACE IS SPOTLESSLY CLEAN. BUT BUSINESS IS SLOW, + SHE SAID : +I LIKE IT HERE, BUT GIVE ME CHINATOWN ANYTIME, FOR THAT'S WHERE ;THE BUSINESS IS.+
    IN CHINATOWN, THE SAGO LANE DEATH HOUSES USED TO PROVIDE FOR THE WHOLE PROCEDURE OF THOSE DEPARTING THIS WORLD -EVEN PROVIDING A PLACE FOR THE DYING.

    A TYPICAL TWO-STOREY WHITE BUILDING IN SAGO LANE CARRIED THE STARK WARNING IN TWO-FOOT-HIGH BLACK CHINESE CHARACTERS: +IF YOU ENTER THIS DOOR.....YOU WILL NOT RETURN+.

    THE EVER-OPEN DOORWAY -- THERE IS NO DOOR -- LED TO THE GROUND FLOOR WHICH WAS USED AS A FUNERAL PARLOUR.

    ALONG ONE WALL FOUR PARTITIONS HELD THE CORPSES OF THOSE WHO HAD JUST DIED OR THE CONFINED BODIES OF THOSE WHO WERE WAITING OUT THE 24-HOUR +DEATH WATCH+MOURNING PERIOD.

    ON MATS IN FRONT OF THEM PROFESSIONAL MOURNERS WAILED AND BEAT THEIR BREASTS AND INCESSANTLY BURNED PAPER MONEY MARKED UP AS +100,000 DOLLARS, + WITH THE PRINTED INSCRIPTION +HELL BANK NOTE+ IN ENGLISH AND CHINESE.

    OUTSIDE CROWDS OF CHINESE WOULD SIT AT TABLES DRINKING COFFEE AND SOFT DRINKS, PLAYING MAHJONG AND TALKING AS THEY WAITED OUT THE DEATH WATCH.

    INSIDE WAS ONLY DEATH. AT THE REAR OF THE FUNERAL PARLOUR WAS A STAIRWAY SEALED WITH A LOCKED WIRE MESH DOOR. THE STAIRWAY LED TO THE FIRST FLOOR INFIRMARY WHERE 10 TO 20 ANCIENT MEN AND WOMEN LAY IN WARDS.

    THEY WERE THE OLD SICK WHO CAME FOR +TREATMENT.+ BUT THEY TOOK THE WARNING ABOVE THE FRONT DOOR TO HEART AND NONE EVER LEFT....ALIVE.

    AS ANOTHER SIGN ON THE DEATH HOUSE ANNOUNCED PHILOSOPHICALLY: +DEATH ENDS MANY DIFFICULTIES+.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVAE4KB2LBG6MPZYIBOET9P380LI
    Media URN:
    VLVAE4KB2LBG6MPZYIBOET9P380LI
    Group:
    Reuters - Including Visnews
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    29/11/1975
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:01:46:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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