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7 interesting facts about cremation in Singapore crematorium

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Cremation: Post-Funeral in Singapore Crematorium

Though it remains a mystery to many, cremation has been the most popular way of bidding farewell to the dearly departed. Since Singapore is a small country with limited land prioritised for development, instead of land burial, most will choose to be cremated at Mandai crematorium instead. Let us take a look at some interesting facts about Cremation in Singapore, with the hope of demystifying it.

  1. More people are choosing to be cremated nowadays

Cremation has come into vogue chiefly because of the low costs, convenience, and the difficulty of finding burial plots. In the 1950s in the US, only a small per cent of the population chose to cremate the dead. Nowadays, it is the majority. However, there are some places like Singapore, where the land is scarce and there is limited space to accommodate land burial for everyone, cremation has been the preferred option.

  1. Bones are different in colour

While most of the cremated bone remains are usually pasty white, some bones can be greyish, greenish, orange or even pink. Grey or bones with black pigments are caused by excessive adipose tissue or fat from the body. Whereas other colours such as pink, green and orange are often caused by the medication of the deceased when he or she was alive, the pink pigment is due to copper, green pigment due to iron and orange pigment due to zinc.

In Singapore, where healthcare is world-class, strong medicine is used to prolong the life of patients, therefore, there might be chemical contained in the body just before cremation. While some people may expect to find Buddhist relics after cremation for Buddhist Funeral Services, the relics are often pearl-like or crystal-looking beads, sometimes found in cremated remains of prominent spiritual Buddhist monk. 

  1. Cremation harms the environment

The burning of the dead body with the use of fossil fuels releases a huge amount of CO2 in the environment, just as cars and factories emit the same and damage the environment. Cremation done in earlier times was very inefficient and the bodies used to burn for hours. However, many innovations have made it less harmful.

Some machines can cremate in less than two hours and use very little fuel. In Singapore, where cremation is a popular post-funeral activity, cremation is usually conducted in crematoria in crematoriums. Presently, there are two government crematoriums in Singapore. One is at Mandai Crematorium and the other is at Choa Chu Kang Crematorium. Each of the crematoriums has a chamber where a furnace is built specifically for the cremation of the deceased body.

Even though cremation is more eco-friendly than a land burial, the cremation process releases greenhouse gases and emits body toxins like mercury and dioxins, which are harmful to the environment. 

  1. The cremated remains are not ash

Though it seems logical that once the fire is through, all that remains is ash, it is not so. What is left behind are bone fragments. They break down until they look like coarse sand and are grey. This is one of the reasons why the remains don’t differ in amounts for people of different sizes. In Singapore, after the cremation, most people will head to the ash collection centre to retrieve the cremated remains of their loved ones. Over at Mandai Crematorium, most people will notice that bone remains and fragments including some ashes are kept in a plastic container.

  1. Cremation is cheaper

Cost is a big factor when deciding how to say goodbye to your loved one. On average, cremation is five to six times cheaper than a traditional burial. Instead of paying thousands of dollars for a casket and buying a funeral plot, many people nowadays are sticking with the inexpensive alternative. If a viewing is planned, they rent a casket instead of buying one.

Cremation in Singapore costs one hundred dollars. Post-funeral activities for the cremation such as buying of columbarium niches, engraving of memorial marble plaques and sea scattering are way cheaper than land burial. This is because besides buying the burial plot, the cost of erecting a tombstone can be huge, not to mention the yearly cost for gravestone maintenance.

  1. Uncollected remains are stored at funeral homes

After cremation, the family gathers the remains and takes them home or scatters them depending on the wishes of the departed. However, if they are not collected by the family, funeral homes that offer funeral services keep the remains for some time, usually up to a year after which they dispose of them in a dignified manner. In Singapore, every cremated remain must be collected and accounted for. In rare cases where no family members or relatives want to collect the remains, it will be kept in storage before being sea scattered.

  1. Both a funeral service and a cremation are possible

Though some people may choose to go with direct cremation, they do have the option of planning a funeral viewing if they prefer. The body is temporarily preserved for the mourners to participate in the service before the cremation takes place. Funeral Services in Singapore is a common practice where the religious ceremony is often arranged and conducted before sending the body for cremation. This is to with accordance with the religion of the deceased and the traditional practice of the family.

These are the top 7 most intriguing facts about cremation. With this list, we hope that some of the elements surrounding cremations are demystified and made clear to you.