Sunday, December 05, 2004

Simplicity in Death

There is no other event in a man's life more unknown to him than his own death. I mean, whatever happens after our last breath we do not really care much about do we? It is strange in the Filipino culture when we give more deference and pomp to the departed when they should have been given that whilst still alive anyway.

This thought I've been pondering on since the Eraserheads dished out that song "Oh honey when I die, dress me up in a coat and tie..." so funny how most Pinoys go puruntong in their everyday life and go off with a tux. At times, much to the financial difficulties of those left behind.

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, president of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Abu Dhabi (including his hometown, Al Ain) passed away last December 2nd. He was a great ruler and a man who could buy anything he wants. And yet, when he died, his body was wrapped in white cloth, his coffin a simple wooden receptacle of his mortal body witht he UAE's flag as cover. He could easily have had the black mahogany with gold gilded casing and cushioned satin linings that Pinoys often see in funeral homes usually costing a fortune, being a country's ruler yet he embodied simplitcity even in death.

His death echoes in many places and the sadness is more than enough testimony to a life well lived and a nation well founded. More than the trimmings and trappings that go with the passing away of a great man - the parade, the TV specials, the songs and peoms in his honour - I think the simplicity of having a void in one's heart, be they Caucasians, Arabs, Asians like the many Filipinos in this part of the world, is a more satisfactory tribute to the man who shaped this country from tribal and warring emir states. Sheikh Zayed is terribly and sorely missed.

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