Breathing new life into funeral business

Breathing new life into funeral business

HE HAS helped more than 3,000 families with funeral arrangements but fourth-generation undertaker Ang Ziqian is undecided about his own resting place.

The 32-year-old director of Ang Chin Moh Casket envisions having his ashes separated into two parts, half in a diamond and half scattered at sea.

"But that may well change. In the future, sending ashes to space may even be possible," he said. Death is a topic that Mr Ang discusses with ease. His memories of childhood include accompanying his father, Mr Ang Hong Hin, on visits to "dark places".

"We were on our way to Sentosa as a family but a phone call came and, in the end, we made a trip to the mortuary instead," said Mr Ang, who has two younger brothers. The youngest, Zisheng, 26, has also followed in their father's footsteps.

Their father, now 63, is still involved in the business.

"He always placed other people's grief over our happiness, but I saw the way families thanked him after the funeral... and knew that this was what I wanted to do," said Mr Ang.

He started learning the ropes at 13 and took over the reins from his father at 22.

The public's attitude towards his profession has changed somewhat since then, he said. He recalled talking about his dad's occupation at school only to be ostracised for years afterwards.

He said people today are more likely to be curious about the profession: "They often ask questions like, 'Do you see ghosts?' "

But the industry still faces an immense manpower shortage as it has few young workers.

The median age of his 30 employees is about 38, which Mr Ang said is young compared with those of some rival companies.

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