Why do the dead need homes? This episode highlights the Chinese tradition of burning paper houses at funerals and other annual ritual events. NUS professor Richard Lee, an expert on this custom, details the history behind the practice, which today involves burning decadent mansions with pools, manicured lawns, luxury cars, and servants, all made of paper. On this journey, many questions surface:
– What kind of homes do the deceased want?
– Where do you want to die?
– And how does death complicate the comfort we typically associate with home?
The relationship between death and home is a sobering but important topic.
Original music by Hui Jun. Special thanks to Dr Lee Cheuk Yin, Department of Chinese Studies, National University of Singapore.