Asia Funeral Expo: Weird and wonderful things that people do to their dead

Asia Funeral Expo: Weird and wonderful things that people do to their dead

Take your pick: Designer effigies, shaking bodies into dust and sticking them in jewelry...

Asia has a wealth of burial customs that may seem bizarre to the foreign eye, and nowhere is this better illustrated than the Asia Funeral Expo, which is held at Hong Kong's Convention and Exhibition Centre from today until this Saturday.

Here is a look at the exhibition’s more freakish products:

Paper effigy with pizazz: Skea designer cribs.Taking paper effigies to a new level: Designer houses

No, it’s not a spread from Elle Decor. It’s a paper model of a house, intended to be burnt as a gift to the dead in Chinese funeral rites.

Chinese paper offerings have been around for centuries and they've been getting increasingly elaborate in recent years -- think paper Porsches, paper yachts and the like. But this is the first time we’ve seen a ‘dead man’s house’, which is traditionally haphazardly done in a gaudy pink, crafted with such pizazz and detail.

Perhaps Skea, the Taiwanese producer of these houses, should consider making paper effigies of house cleaners too, to make sure these designer cribs stays pristine after burning.

For more visual shocks check out Skea's paper effirgies of a gym and spa club and a nightclub.

Shaking the body down: Promator technology

The South Korean Promator technology is something that will shock and awe even us Asians. It involves putting a dead body in a special container, freeze-drying it and get this -- literally shaking the body down to five millimeter dust particles. Never mind the electrical cost that this high powered vibration requires -- Kenny Lo, CEO of expo organizer Vertical Expo, says the Promator, which is invented by a Swedish firm but adopted by Koreans, is the green way to go.

“In traditional cremations, people usually burn the casket along with the body, and this takes two to three hours. That’s a lot of heat involved and not environmentally friendly, unlike the Promator,” he says. The pulverized body parts are then buried in a biodegradable coffin to be taken up by the soil again. 

“It may take up to a few years for the body to disintegrate entirely in the Promator," Lo adds.

For more morbid gore check out CNNGo's interview with Dr Porntip, Thailand's funky "voice of death."

Memorial diamonds by Algordanza.Keep your friends close, keep your dead beloved closer: Dead people gemstones

Thanks to Swiss gemstone producer Algordanza, now everyone can literally carry more than the memories of their dearly departed with them by way of turning their dead bodies into diamonds.

These stones, euphemistically coined 'memorial diamonds,' are made from chemically altered cremation ashes and come with a certificate documenting the production process to ensure the techs don’t try anything funny.

On another note, Belgian jewelry company Mo-ga will be selling hollowed-out sterling silver lockets for the nostalgic to keep a piece of their deceased friends and family around their necks.

Other noteworthy mentions

The Asia Funeral Expo is giving new meaning to the "be prepared" maxim by offering free coffin portraits to expo visitors. Other morbid attractions include a free Alzheimer's tests -- just the thing to compliment the coffins lining up in the exhibition hall. "We're seeing half-hour queues for the coffin portrait booth," Lo told CNNGo.

Read up on Bangkok's real-life bodysnatchers for more insight into the culture of death in Asia.

Former CNNGo staff writer Tiffany Lam produced and scripted current affairs documentaries and was a reporter for a local English newspaper before making the brave, brave decision to write about things she’s actually interested in.

Read more about Tiffany Lam
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