How many of us are really prepared for the cost of organising weddings and the cost of a funeral? Weddings we can prepare for and we know tentatively when to hold it and in some ways we can always try to save up for it. Even if it's a shotgun wedding and totally unexpected for the other family members (if not to the bride and bridegroom) - it normally won't cost as much as a normal wedding. So wedding costs are fairly controllable in that sense.
But funerals? We don't know when it's time for us to go. If we go, are our families prepared psychologically or financially - that is, have enough money to even hold the ceremonies? I know some people said the ceremonies are sunat (non-obligatory) but we do want our dearly departed to be remembered and cared for even when they are no longer with us. And if it's us that are departing, I am sure in our after life we want our family members to remember us by holding tahlil and other religious ceremonies. Our spirits and our souls need to be remembered, no matter what religions we profess. But here in Brunei, especially for Muslims, there are costs to holding the nightly tahlils and other ceremonies including during the day of the burial.
Mr. Z*, a reader of this blog who was 'devastated' after an incident in which he was nearly hit by a car when he crossed the pedestrian crossing near PGGMB Building in Bandar last week decided to work out the costs among others - how much would it cost a Brunei family financially to set out on up to a full 100 days tahlil ceremony. In fact, he has prepared two Excel worksheets containing the costs of both holding a wedding and a funeral which I have put up on my website and you can download the templates (i. Wedding Cost; and ii. Funeral Cost). The wedding cost excel sheet was his response to a number of colleagues who said that he should not be too focused on the morbid side of life but also to look at the bright side of life. Anyway, the worksheets are in template forms and you can change some of the numbers and the costings to your liking and you can see the changes to the total figures that you or your family have to prepare for.
Before seeing the costs, I had a tentative idea how much either wedding or funeral costs are. I know wedding costs in Brunei can be quite prohibitive in some sense and I presumed there may have been times when parents secretly wish their children eloped rather than trying to organise wedding ceremonies! But you will be quite surprise how much it cost to organise funeral ceremonies as I was. The lesson here is that we should all be prepared both spiritually and financially for the time when we are no longer here on this earth. It's a sobering thought.