Hong Kong launches website to honour the dead

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Sydney, June 12 (ANI): A website has been set up in Hong Kong that allows friends and relatives to pay homage to their departed ones online.

The website, created by the Hong Kong Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, enables them to set up online profiles for the dead at memorial.gov.hk.

The department, which oversees public cemeteries and crematoriums, spent 128,000 dollars to set up the site.

In Hong Kong where the population is largely Chinese, death is taken very seriously, with elaborate ceremonies being held twice a year not just for the recently deceased but also generations of ancestors gone before them.

The department said in a statement that the site is not meant to replace traditional practices of paying tribute to the deceased, instead, it allows people to pay tribute to their loved ones "any time and anywhere online, in a warm, personalised yet solemn manner".

It also said that the site is specially convenient for friends and relative who are living overseas.

The website is free, but access is restricted to relatives of those buried or cremated in facilities operated by the government.

Users can choose from preset layouts and background music and can upload photos and videos to complement the profiles.

The "builder" of the profile can also choose whether to receive reminders of the deceased's birthday and date of death and can invite others to browse the page and post messages, if they chose to make the page public.

But even though the site provides an easy way of honouring loved ones, some have not met it with favour.

Wu Kwok-kin, the owner of a shop that sells funeral wreaths, favours more traditional mourning rituals.

"There's no need to build a website," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted him as saying.

"The government should have put up money to build more public vaults for urns," he stated.

Other critics say the site is not a sincere way to respect the dead. Some also say it is too much like a video game, though there are others who are happy with it.

"Those who pass away get something on the Internet that belongs to them," Kit Fan said as he waited for a bus near a big funeral home in Hong Kong.

"But people still need to go to the funeral," he added. (ANI)

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