Chinese netizens write own epitaphs before Tomb Sweeping Day

09:19, April 01, 2011      

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Although they will never read what is written on their tombstones after death, many Chinese netizens are composing their own epitaphs to sum up their lives.

Netease, one of China's portal websites, launched an activity on Wednesday, about a week before China's traditional Tomb Sweeping Festival, asking people to leave their own epitaphs on microblogs.

More than 100 comments, either humorous or philosophical, were left in one day.

"He used to be fat, but now he is as skinny as all the others lying down here," one wrote.

"You are stepping on me when you can see clearly these characters," another wrote.

A netizen nicknamed Pinky said, "Here lives a sleeping beauty, who is waiting for a prince to wake her up with a kiss."

Another one, Rainbow, expressed his earthly wishes with a writing: "Finally, I get my own car and house."

"I have been working for two years, but my savings are not enough for an apartment and a car," he complained.

"Maybe after my death, my relatives and friends will burn paper cars and houses for me as sacrifices," he told Xinhua jokingly.

Although these epitaphs are not real, Zhang Sining, a research fellow with the Academy of Social Sciences in northeast China's Liaoning Province, believed they were very interesting.

"The netizens are conveying their feelings and hopes in real life," he said.

Zhang noted that some netizens complain about the difficulties of finding a job, while others express hopes for finding girlfriends.

"The Internet is like an outlet," he said.

Liu Jianhong, a psychological expert with Huaqiao University, noted that it is natural for young people to ponder their life and death before the Tomb Sweeping Festival, a traditional occasion in China to mourn the dead.

"The Tomb Sweeping Day is like thanksgiving, a time for many to think of their deceased acquaintances," he said. "Meanwhile, people face up to death, so as to cherish their life more and face the future with a more optimistic attitude. This is what we call 'being-toward-death.'"

A netizen nicknamed Zijin said she her epitaph would read, "Life is short, please love yourself and those who love you."

"In this way I want to remind myself 'don't let the busy work take away your time to care for your family and friends,'" she said.

She believes the epitaph is the epitome of one's pursuit in life.

"If you always think of what you write down today, your life won't be too far away from what you want."

Source: Xinhua
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