Conspicuous combustion

Charles No Comments

No new technology devised for the improved disposal of dead bodies has managed to achieve both efficiency and spectacle. There’s a perfectly good reason for this: the brains behind cremation and cryomation and resomation never reckoned spectacle to be a selling point. After all, funerals in the UK are private events, most of them. When they aren’t, it’s the processional that’s spectacular, not the disposal. Where’s the climax point in such a funeral? I’m not at all sure that there is one. Ought there to be? I don’t know. What do you think?

Over in Pattaya, Thailand, there’s a foreigner who records his assorted ramblings in a blog. When I say ramblings, I’m using his word. I’d have gone one better. It’s a good blog, an interesting read, and our rambling foreigner is a good photographer.

He recently witnessed the spectacular funeral pyre of a local Buddhist monk. So long did the construction of the pyre take, the monk had been dead for a year before being able to check out on it. At the top, a pic of the pyre. According to our rambler: “the pyre was an impressive sight, and they had even built in a degree of animation. Yellow tapes extended out on both sides into temple buildings, and unseen hands were pulling them to flap the wings and move the elephant head and trunk.”

Below is a photo of the pyre in its full glory. Read the blog post and see more photos here.

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