Keeping the dead alive

April is usually the time of the year when many Malaysian Chinese remember their dead by visiting the grave yard. This is a spring festival with a long tradition from China. This practice of keeping the dead alive takes many forms and expressions through out the world and every society and tribe has their own way of recalling their dead.

This is not ancestor worship like turning our fore fathers and mothers into some kind of gods but just an act to keep them in our mind. Our parents and grand parents are only dead if we stop thinking of them, giving thanks to them, being grateful to them for bring us into this world (sometime not of our own choosing).

Many people believe that the dead can speak on demand and they can have a direct line to their past, but if you don’t, the job of discovering, both the absence and presence simultaneously, of our lost ones, can be a difficult mental space to learn to grasp. For the rest, the usual way to remember our forebears, it may just be an act of conjuring up the thought of them (pleasant or otherwise).

The task is even more complicated if you happen to want to go seeking as far back as whom really our first ancestors were. Our ancient origins may be many many millions of years old, coming out from what is Africa today, to settle in different parts the earth. We may all have mix-blood down the line and are all even distant blood brothers and sisters (at war or at peace).