“Father, please follow us to the Serdang funeral centre, come back home with us,” the girl cried out in Mandarin, as teary-eyed family members knelt and prayed at the barren ground where a large angsana tree had stood until yesterday.
The hearse from the Penang Hospital, carrying the body of Yong Geeng Huei, was parked nearby.
The family of a car body repairman, who died after a tree fell on his car at Perak Road yesterday morning, carried out special prayers at the site today, to bring his “spirit” home with them.
The family knelt on the asphalt with joss sticks as a Taoist monk performed special rites for those who had died unexpectedly.
Yong, 53, was driving his Proton Wira along Perak Road near the Van Praagh junction when a raintree fell and crushed his car at about 9.40am yesterday. He was pinned in the car for hours before his remains were extricated.
Today, a teary family from Serdang, Kedah, carried out the rites, with Yong’s daughter crying out loud for her father.
According to Chinese coffin and bereavement expert Hock Lean Seng, such Taoist rituals are normal for those who die unexpectedly, with prayers being carried out on-site to usher the spirit of the deceased for the wake.
Hock said such rituals are common, to allow the deceased’s spirit to be at peace and to prevent incidents where the spirits may linger and “bother others”.
The Yong family members were overcome with grief as reporters approached them, asking for privacy. It is learnt that Yong’s ex-wife was also present.
Yong’s brother, who did not want to be named, said tersely: “We will sue the Penang Island City Council.”
He said a five-day wake would be held in Serdang.