Obituary

Artboard 10.png

இரங்கல் அறிவிப்பு

This published obituary of Malligah also carries her Chinese birth name. Malligah adopted a Tamil name (and identity) when she married a Tamil man, and was disowned for it by her birth family .
Obituaries, as a list of family names and relations, are handy in reconstructing family trees given the Tamil convention of patronymic surnames. They especially help position older Tamil women, whose official documents do not usually list a surname.

(Image courtesy of Pradashini Subramaniam)

செய்தித்தாளில் இடம்பெற்ற இந்த இரங்கல் அறிவிப்பு, அமரர் மல்லிகாவின் சீன இயற்பெயரையும் குறிப்பிடுகிறது. மல்லிகா ஒரு தமிழரரை மணந்தபோது, அவர் புதிதாக ஒரு தமிழ் பெயரை (மற்றும் அடையாளத்தை) ஏற்றுக்கொண்டார். இதற்காக அவரது குடும்பம் அவரை ஒதுக்கி வைத்தது.

குடும்பப் பெயர்கள் மற்றும் உறவுகளின் பட்டியலாக செயல்படும் இரங்கல் அறிவிப்புகள், தந்தையின் வம்சா வழி சார்ந்த குடும்பப் பெயர்களை அடங்கிய பரம்பரைகள் புனரமைப்பு செய்வதை எளிமையாக்குகின்றன. குறிப்பாக, குடும்பப் பெயர் பட்டியலிடப்படாத அதிகாரப்பூர்வ ஆவணங்களைக் கொண்ட வயதான தமிழ் பெண்களை நிலைநிறுத்த, இந்த இரங்கல் அறிவிப்புகள் உதவி புரிகின்றன.

Notes

I remember how we used to make fun of my grandma for being Chinese, but she does alot of things that are categorically Indian like going to the temple or cooking Indian food. She would insist ‘No, I changed already, I’m now Indian.’ She purposefully hid her Chinese identity, she did not speak hokkien in front of any of the family, but she definitely knows how because I’ve caught her speaking it to other people. When I asked her to teach me Hokkien, she said she’s forgotten it and only speaks Tamil and Malay. So I did see her amplify the things that she thought made her Indian, and downplay any Chinese-ness. My cousins and I would tease that she should check her IC because it still says ‘Chinese’, but I didn’t think about how it was for her to experience that constantly, to have to keep defending your identity. (Prada)

In our culture, we celebrate the birth of a person and honour the death of a person. The exact practices may differ, but the intention is to send people off with respect and dignity. This is a reminder that they were loved and cherished by many, during their transient journey on Earth. I find it soothing that we have found such meaningful ways to grief the loss of loved ones. (Kirthana)

Does this object also animate your life and identity? Does it affirm, confuse, or implicitly underline your identity and sense of self? Briefly tell us how this object speaks to you personally.

‘Singaporean Tamil Women’ are especially encouraged to leave comments. All others are also welcome to comment.

Thanks for submitting!