I went to Malaysia on Sunday yesterday with my family (my parents and my younger brother). We were there to go for the memorial service of my deceased maternal grandmother who had passed away in 2001. We went to the cemetery together with my maternal relatives. My maternal grandfather was there too. For the memorial, we sang the songs “shi shang zhi you mama hao”, “Mother of Mine” by Neil Reid, “What a friend we have in Jesus”, and “Amazing Grace”. The first two songs were dedicated to my deceased grandmother, and the last two were Christian songs. I believe all of us there were familiar with all of the songs except Mother of Mine, which was selected by an aunt of mine to be sung at the memorial service, but we tried singing along anyway based on the probably off-key rendition song led by that aunt of mine. No one would have ever guessed that the song would have sounded the way it does in the actual version on youtube after having heard my aunt’s rendition. We also said our individual prayers thanking God for the life of my grandmother. My grandfather prayed that my grandmother will bless all of her grandchildren in their studies and careers, and told her that we all love her very much. I don’t think that prayers directed to a deceased is appropriate according to Christian customs, but I can understand the emotional aspect of wishing to communicate to a departed loved one. Moreover, my maternal grandfather wasn’t a Christian most of his life, but conformed to the deathbed wish of my grandmother that he would become one so that he could be in heaven in the afterlife with her. He now goes to the same church as my family, but I don’t think he ever quite adopts the belief-system or practices (like praying) associated with the religion. In my opinion, he seems somewhat indifferent to religious matters. As someone who is more familiar with the Christian religion due to my upbringing, I have asked my grandfather whether he prays to God. He was taciturn about talking about such things, and I presume that it is most likely the case he does not.
Anyway, we went to celebrate my grandfather’s birthday at a Chinese restaurant later on that day. My grandfather is in his 80’s. The food was good, and it was fairly pleasant for me to be able to catch up with some of my relatives about their lives as we have not met in quite a long while.