Thursday, June 28, 2007

Where's your coffin?

Global South Churches are confronted with different worldviews, like this story below. How can we make the Gospel relevant in such circumstances?

A career boost with ‘coffin luck’

G.S. Narinder Singh
NST, Malaysia

GEORGE TOWN: A coffin is not your run-of-the-mill piece of home decor. But according to a calligrapher, it’s not uncommon for people to have one.

Tan Ah Seng says he sells the scaled-down models of coffins to those seeking job promotions and prosperity in life.

"Customers come from all corners of Malaysia and overseas, especially China, to buy the coffins.

"A person aspiring to make a career breakthrough can have his wish granted by keeping these small coffins," he said.

To make it more effective, Tan carves four auspicious Chinese characters on the coffins.
"I use the ‘Seng Koon Fatt Choy’ lineage as it means gaining promotions."

Tan said he started making and selling the miniature coffins after meeting a nun 15 years ago.

"She asked me to carve a small coffin to rid herself of evil spirit from the death of an unborn baby," he said.

After that, word spread and people anxious to climb the corporate ladder began asking for the coffins.

"The small coffins are made of jelutong wood and are available in two sizes for RM15 or RM30," he said, adding that the design was a replica of a real coffin.

Depending on how complicated the design was, Tan said it took about two hours to make a miniature piece.

Tan is also a renowned calligrapher and is often engaged to inscribe auspicious characters on lanterns, especially during Chinese New Year.

He also makes mini wooden clogs to be sold as novelty items in souvenir stores.

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