Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Flying Coffin (飞棺)

Nobody likes to talk about coffin as it is almost synonym with death.

A few weeks before my dad died, my bro and I returned to our old house to clean up since it had suffered much neglect with dad being hospitalised. As we were rearranging the sofas in the living room, my bro suddenly said he saw a flying coffin dropped into the centre of the room. And truly, soon the sad news of my dad’s death reached us. An imaginary coffin suddenly became as real as it can be.

Then last week, while I was talking to Aunt Lin at her house, she too told me that she saw a flying coffin with sad endings too.

Two years ago, Aunt Lin returned to Fujian to visit her elder sister, Fong. Since Fong was to celebrate her 90 years old birthday, Aunt Lin decided to stay back to make preparation for her sister’s birthday celebration. Fong was living in a small Fujian village, so they have to prepare all of the dishes by themselves. Luckily, village folks are very supportive; many people came and helped out.

On the night before Fong’s birthday, Aunt Lin was very tired. So, she leaned over a table and dozed off. In half sleepy and half awaken state, she saw a real size flying coffin flew into the living room and dropped right onto the centre of the room. This eerie scene gave Aunt Lin a shock and she screamed with horror. People around Aunt Lin came to her assist and asked what had happened.

Without too much thought, Aunt Lin said out loud what she saw. Of course, this inauspicious story was not too welcomed to the family yet to celebrate the big day. Noticing perhaps Aunt Lin had become local public enemy, she quickly kept her mouth shut because she didn’t want to spoilt Fong’s birthday happy mood.

Everything went on perfectly well, feasts were held and many villagers came to congratulate the birthday lady and Aunt Lin was almost sorry for having spoken the most inauspicious matter to all her relatives.

It was just after the dinner, as Fong was leaving the dining table; she suddenly collapsed onto the floor and became unconscious. She was subsequently rushed to the nearest hospital but pronounced dead on arrival…

 Now, Aunt Lin’s vision has materialised. Although the coffin didn’t literarily flow into the living room, it did appear in the room one day later. After Fong’s funeral, Aunt Lin quickly returned to Penang because she felt that she was not very welcomed there. Of course, I could only console Aunt Lin that such was a coincidence; further Fong was already 90 years old. With or without her strange vision of flying coffin, sooner or later; Fong would leave too. Maybe that was what I could say…

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