Would you take my obituary shot?

Would you take my obituary shot?
PREPARED: Student Tiffany Tan’s grandmother had asked for her help to take an obituary photo.

SINGAPORE - Ever since her grandfather's sudden death six years ago, she has been reluctant to bring up the topic of death with her grandmother.

This is why Singapore Polytechnic student Tiffany Tan, 17, was taken aback when her grandmother had asked for her help to take an obituary photo three months ago.

But retiree Ang Siam Kheng, 81, was only being practical with her request. She said in Mandarin: "Everyone has to die some day. I want to be prepared when I finally die."

The pair was at the Both Sides, Now arts exhibition opposite Khatib MRT station yesterday afternoon, which will run until Sunday. It will have a final run at Toa Payoh Central from Sept 26 to 28.

Presented by the Lien Foundation and Ang Chin Moh Foundation, and produced by Drama Box and ArtsWok, it aims to encourage Singaporeans to reflect on important end-of-life matters.

Taboo Topic

Miss Tan said: "Death is still a taboo topic to me, but the showcase has helped me to have a more open mind."

She added that she eventually took a photograph of her grandmother, as requested.

At Both Sides, Now, the public can participate in dialogues and various activity stations.

One station allows people to fold and decorate their own paper coffin. For the brave-hearted, there is even a real wooden coffin they can lie in.

There are also talks on topics such as the basics of a will and the experiences of a former palliative caregiver.

The first run of Both Sides, Now was held at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in November last year.

Then, 8,000 people participated, and the positive response prompted the two foundations to take it to the HDB heartlands this year.

The exhibition left such an impact on executive engineer Ng Kok Ann, 25, that he has decided to take his parents and sister-in-law to see it next week.

He said: "By being at ease with the topic of death, you can appreciate life better. After all, it's part of growing up."

Minister of State for Health Lam Pin Min was at the official opening of the exhibition yesterday.

Dr Lam said: "If the young don't know about the wishes of the elderly, it would be a fruitless journey.

"So it is important that while we desensitise the story of death, we should try to engage the family as well in this conversation."


This article was first published on September 20, 2014. 
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Where & When

Opposite Khatib MRT station (Until Sunday)

Toa Payoh Central (Sept 26 to 28)

Opening Hours: 10am to 10pm

Website: www.bothsidesnow.sg

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