My two siblings died within a month of each other's death, and we held a two-day wake for each funeral.
I checked the National Environment Agency's (NEA) guidelines on embalming and found that it was not compulsory. The dead body may also be placed in a hermetically sealed coffin for up to seven days before burial or cremation.
I also found out that regardless of whether embalming is carried out or not, written permission from the director-general of public health is required to retain a dead body for any period exceeding seven days after death.
So why is it that the funeral directors who arranged both my siblings' wakes insisted that embalming be carried out, notwithstanding NEA's guidelines nor the short duration of each wake?
I incurred an additional $350 fee for each embalming.
I hope NEA will publicise its guidelines on embalming, so that bereaved families will not fall prey to misguided funeral directors.
Joseph Hooi Liang Kee