Jenny Tay


Qing Ming Digital

“But Wei Zeyun, a 27-year-old from Beijing, will pay tribute to her deceased godfather by visiting his online memorial hall instead of making a trip to his grave.

She has been using the online homage service since her godfather passed away in 2003.

“My godfather watched me grow up, and I always remember how well he treated me,” Wei says.

“He was a man of great social status and connections, but I have no blood connection with him. If I go to his grave to demonstrate my filial piety and respect, it probably will seem strange to other people.

“The online homage service gives me a new channel to pay tribute to him without causing inconveniences.”

– See more at Channel New Asia’s Website

With the advancement of technology, it won’t come as a surprise that even bereavement has digital alternatives. Yet reading what this young girl says about Qing Ming disturbs me. Qing Ming in the Chinese tradition has always been described as a mini pilgrimage across the nation to visit their loved ones. To me, it is this pilgrimage that pays homage to my loved one. The act of sacrificing time for them is my true offering. There are online memorials and online obituaries abundant online, but to say that it is the same as visiting the actual grave or niche of your loved one is strange to me.

No matter how much technology advances, there is nothing that can substitute the experience of physically being there.

* On a side note, this app really entertains me. The presentation is pristine, the music sublime, the app brilliantly executed:

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