Dancers take pole position at politician's funeral

The funeral procession of local councillor Tung Hsiang in Chiayi, southern Taiwan, stretched for several kilometres and featured 200 vehicles and 50 pole dancers.
The funeral procession of local councillor Tung Hsiang in Chiayi, southern Taiwan, stretched for several kilometres and featured 200 vehicles and 50 pole dancers.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

TAIPEI • Fifty pole dancers clad in skimpy black outfits gave one Taiwan politician a raucous final send-off in an eyebrow-raising funeral parade that jammed traffic and drew crowds of onlookers.

It was not a quiet exit for local councillor Tung Hsiang, whose cortege saw the women dancing and singing on top of multi-coloured jeeps as a band played and performers dressed as deities joined in.

Footage of the funeral in the southern Taiwanese city of Chiayi on Tuesday showed the vibrant procession of 200 vehicles stretching for several kilometres. Onlookers snapped photos and some motorcyclists even chased after the cortege to watch the pole dancers, said local news channel CTS.

Mr Tung, who died of an illness last month at 76 years old, was a well-known figure in Chiayi, where he was active in the local political scene for decades in various posts.

Mr Tung's family said he liked fun and socialising so they wanted to see him off in a flamboyant, memorable way. "He told us he wanted this through a dream two days before the funeral," his brother, Mr Tung Mao-hsiung, told CTS.

While it may contrast with some traditional notions of funeral etiquette, it is not uncommon for Taiwanese send-offs to be risque affairs. Showgirls are not only hired to perform pole dancing, but even go as far as striptease at religious festivals and funerals on the island.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 08, 2017, with the headline 'Dancers take pole position at politician's funeral'. Print Edition | Subscribe