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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:
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.
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."
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.