Interview - Toh Jiahe

SKIP TO INTERVIEW | Xi Ying Khoo | Jodie Goh | Chen Jiaying | Chee Hui Ming | Toh Jiahe |

|| TOH JIAHE, 22, Christian


The funeral Jiahe most recently attended was that of his 2nd paternal uncle’s. He was saddened by the news, yet admittedly not overly concerned as the uncle was a distant one, one that Jiahe barely knew.

Jiahe only partially fears death as he can’t bear the thought of putting his family and loved ones through the pain of losing him, and so he hopes not to die before his parents or his girlfriend. To him, age also plays a part – the older you are, the more likely you would be to pass on. Still, he feels that the older he gets, the less he would fear death. There would be fewer and fewer people around who he would not be able to bear the thought of having them lose you. “Eventually, you let go of material chains and accept the fact that death is a natural part of life,” he shares. After some thought, he concedes that he does fear death as it could come at any moment, and usually at the most unexpected of times.

To him, death means loss – the loss of someone whom others loved, which is the hardest and most painful part of death. He feels that it is not the deceased that suffers the most, but the people who love the deceased who really experiences that loss. As a Christian, Jiahe believes in God and heaven. Death, for the deceased individual, is then merely a transit to heaven. Nevertheless, it does not mean that it is any easier for those left behind in this world, but people get over this loss eventually. That said, he does believe in life after death – but more as a form of continuation. “Who knows what heaven is really like?” he ponders. “I believe that there is a heaven, and that God wants everyone to join him there eventually.”


Jiahe’s uncle’s death took about 2 weeks to plan. He thinks that it was more to do with how long the funeral preparations took to get ready – including the booking of the venue, especially how long the news would take to be disseminated to the whole family, with the latter being what really affects the timing of the funeral.


All he remembers was showing up to pay his respects and burning a couple of joss sticks. He believes the funeral was a highly typical Buddhist one. He did not stay for the meals and Buddhist rituals as he had an exam on the same day. Furthermore, he is not of the Buddhist faith and the uncle was a distant relative.

That said, he thinks that there would be definite grief following his passing, but hopes that the funeral process would not be too hard on his loved ones. He wants them to use it as a source of closure, and hold the thought that he would be finally “rejoining God in heaven”. Other than that, Jiahe had never given much thought to his own death – deeming it rather morbid. A part of his hopes that the people he loves passes before him, so that they would not have to suffer through his death. More than anything else, he feels that the closure a funeral brings would be the ultimate achievement of his loved ones.


On HOTA, Jiahe feels that it is a system that should stay. “Our organs serve no purpose after we die, be it here or the afterlife,” he said. “This system would then allow people who have the possibility of life to keep on living, with thanks to our contributions.”

-end of section-

SKIP TO INTERVIEW | Xi Ying Khoo | Jodie Goh | Chen Jiaying | Chee Hui Ming | Toh Jiahe |

NAVIGATION: The !Kung San | The Toraja | The S'porean Chinese | Comparisons, Conclusions, and Final Thoughts | Sources & References

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