The harrowing experience Mr Sunil Kumar went through resonated with me (Show the dead more respect, May 20). I went through a similar ordeal when my father passed away in 2015.
At the Geylang Bahru industrial site where a number of casket and funeral companies are located, cleanliness is not observed at all.
Family members choose casket companies or funeral directors with the expectation that they will discharge their services with pride. They are primarily involved in the bathing, washing and dressing of a body till it reaches the funeral parlour or home for the final rites performed by family members.
As this is the final stage before the body gets cremated or buried, we must ensure every effort to honour the person. This is the final act of kindness we can provide for the deceased. A proper room with air-conditioning should be provided.
How is it that the cleanliness and facilities in this area have been overlooked all this time?
A complete revamp is required.
Could the authorities consider providing a dedicated building to house such funeral companies in a central vicinity?
Forum: New funeral parlour sites will see better after-death facilities
We thank Mr Sunil Kumar and Mr V. Balu for their feedback (Show the dead more respect, May 20, and Revamp area where funeral companies are located, May 23).
We have also contacted Mr Kumar about his experience at one of the funeral parlours located at Geylang Bahru.
The National Environment Agency (NEA) licenses funeral parlours with embalming facilities to safeguard environmental public health. As part of the regulatory regime, we issue guidelines and conduct periodic inspections of funeral parlour premises that provide embalming services.
We agree with the writers that after-death services should be provided in a manner that is in accordance with religious and cultural practices and preferences, and which accords dignity to the deceased and comfort to the bereaved families.
In response to Mr Kumar's feedback, NEA inspected the premises in question and found that the funeral parlour is no longer in operation. We have attempted to contact the licensee, and investigations are ongoing. We have also contacted funeral directors, funeral parlour operators, and the Association of Funeral Directors Singapore, on some of the feedback.
We will work with these stakeholders, in consultation with the relevant religious groups, to look at how the current processes can be improved, especially for families who prefer to carry out ritual washing of their loved ones away from home.
There is a growing demand for after-death facilities and services in Singapore.
To meet this demand, we will be launching five new funeral parlour sites for development over the next 10 years or so. These are all dedicated, purpose-built facilities, and are part of NEA's efforts to improve the after-death facilities and service delivery in Singapore.
Wong Chiu Ying
Director, Memorial Facilities and Planning Department
National Environment Agency
You may want to read Forum: Consider legislating funeral industry so public is more informed