A very fine farewell

Performers were balancing flags on their heads, acrobats were on stilts and jumping over a ring of fire, dancers were dressed as traditional Chinese dolls and a live band played an old lady's favourite songs.

SINGAPORE - The funeral of Mrs Teo Poh Choo, 82, who was also known as Madam Poh, included two 18m-long cranes, one weighing 200 tonnes and the other 250 tonnes, two prime movers and eight motorcycle escorts for her funeral procession on Sunday. The funeral cost $31,000.

Madam Poh's granddaughter, Ms Jasmin Poh, said that it was her grandmother's request for a grand funeral. Madam Poh had been diagnosed with brain cancer in August this year. Barely 10 days after she finished her radiography treatment in October, her health deteriorated and she died at Tan Tock Seng Hospital last Wednesday.

She leaves behind her husband, 85, six children, a goddaughter and about 50 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The Poh family owns Asiagroup Leasing and Leong Kiang Tractor and Machinery, which specialises in heavy lifting and transportation equipment such as cranes. Madam Poh and her husband had started the company from scratch.

Their sons, Steven and Vincent, took over the business. It grew and gradually expanded to Malaysia and Indonesia.

Ms Poh, who is the operations division head of Asiagroup, said: "Ah Ma was so proud of our family's achievements so we decided that we should get our machinery to send her off on her last journey."

More than 1,000 people turned up over the five-day wake, which was held outside their family home in Jalan Anggerek, off MacPherson Road.

The 100 tables at the wake were full every night and guests were served dishes such as salad prawns, curry chicken and traditional desserts.

The Poh family received more than 500 banners, quilt blankets and flower wreaths with blessings and condolences from friends, relatives and business associates.

The performances took place at about 1pm on the last day of the wake and lasted less than two hours.

Despite the loud performances, neighbours along Jalan Anggerek were understanding and even opened up their gates to allow the family's friends and relatives to park their cars nearer to the wake.

They paid their last respects to Madam Poh before the procession, which included cranes and prime movers bearing the funeral banners, and made their way from the family home to Mandai Crematorium at about 3pm on Sunday. 

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