Handle human bodies with dignity

The alkaline hydrolysis or biocremation suggested by Mr Heng Cho Choon appears somewhat inhumane (A clinical take on cremation; May 25).

The method entails submerging the corpse in a highly pressurised solution of water and potassium hydroxide, which destroys the body by liquefying all soft tissues within three hours.

The liquefied body tissue is then disposed of by flushing it into the municipal wastewater system.

This is inconceivable.

A human body, although it has ceased functioning, still ought to be treated and handled in a dignified manner.

It should not be treated as if it were human excreta or industrial effluent.

It never fails to sadden me that our loved ones have to be cremated so soon after their deaths.

Notwithstanding the scarcity of land in Singapore, I suggest that corpses be properly buried, if the individual chooses it.

The body should be wrapped in a shroud rather than be placed in a coffin, to aid in the natural decomposition.

The body can be exhumed after a standard period of, say, 10 years, when the body is more or less decomposed.

Any remains may then be cremated.

A person should be allowed to conclude his life journey and become "dust returning to the earth" in the most natural way possible.

Joe Teo Kok Seah

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 29, 2017, with the headline 'Handle human bodies with dignity'. Print Edition | Subscribe