Did you know that in many cultures it’s considered important to have a portrait of the deceased displayed at a funeral? Sadly, not everybody has such a picture when they die. We meet a team of people who are stepping in to help.
Portraits at funerals are a part of many cultures – including here in Asia. These images can even be the source of superstitions. The portrait is considered so important to some people that there are photography studios in certain countries that do nothing else but take portraits for funerals. And often it’s the person nearing the end of their time who chooses the portrait they want to represent themselves at their final goodbye.
Unfortunately, not everybody has a portrait for their funeral. Some families simply don’t have the money for one, or perhaps they just never took the time to have a nice photo taken. This can be distressing not only for the loved ones, but for those who know the end is near. It doesn’t have to be that way. The people at Flying Home believe that everyone deserves a dignified send-off, and that a portrait photo is an important component of a dignified funeral. So, when they heard about an initiative started by their parent company, Ang Chin Moh Group, they knew they wanted to be a part of it – a way of giving back to the community.
It all started when the St Andrews Nursing Home invited staff from Ang Chin Moh Group to a small memorial service for residents who had passed away. The nurses shared fond memories of the departed as several of those who passed didn’t have family members in attendance. In fact, some had lived in the nursing home for years without any family nearby. Turns out, many of these people didn’t have a nice photograph for the funeral. When the folks at Ang Chin Moh Group learned this, they decided to do something about it by setting up photo shoots for the elderly.
How it works
Here’s what happens: when one of the nursing homes reaches out, the team arrives complete with hairdresser and corporate photographer. Volunteers help with makeup and clothes, and work to keep the atmosphere light. They make a real fuss over the photo subjects, something the elderly enjoy. After all, who doesn’t like a makeover and a photoshoot?
Once the photos are taken, they are edited and the family receives a digital copy. It’s a special memory they’ll have for years to come. What’s more, the all-important portrait will be present at the final send-off. In fact, the person who is dying can even choose the photo they prefer.
Flying Home assists expat families when someone they love passes on by helping repatriate the departed back to their home country for burial. This includes overseeing the flights and all the necessary paperwork. They can also arrange cremation, memorial services or funerals here, bringing peace of mind and closure to loved ones. Find out more at flyinghome.com.
For more helpful tips, head to our Living in Singapore section.