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Most young female Singaporeans would probably rank funeral directors right at the bottom of their list of career choices.
That was not the case for The Life Celebrant's funeral director Angjolie Mei.
The 35-year-old looks nothing like your average undertaker or mortician with her slim, model-like physique and beautiful appearance.
Do not, however, be fooled by her exterior. Having been in the funeral industry for the past 13 years, she has pretty much seen and done it all when it comes to death care.
Angjolie had to bear the responsibility of taking over her father Ang Yew Seng's funeral business 13 years ago after he passed away. Before her drastic career switch, she was working as a management trainee after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in economics and psychology from the National University of Singapore.
Although she has found her profession as a funeral director to be very fulfilling, Angjolie has had to overcome several challenges throughout her career.
In a recorded interview featured below, she shares with me some of the obstacles that stood in her way during her time in the funeral industry and other interesting snippets of her profession.
What happens after I die?
Like most people, I am curious as to what exactly goes on behind the scenes of a funeral parlour.
To shed light on the matter, Angjolie brought me on an eye-opening tour of her care centre where bodies are cleaned, embalmed and dressed up before they are placed in a coffin.
In a second video, she explains how bodies are treated after she receives them and also introduces some of the apparatus that are used to prepare deceased individuals for funerals.Breathing new life into deathcare
Breathing new life into deathcare
Since deciding to follow the footsteps of her father, Angjolie has challenged the conventional methods of how funerals are conducted.
She believes that funerals should not be a gloomy and solemn affair but instead should be one to commemorate and remember the life of the departed.
In bid to modernise the deathcare scene in Singapore, she has integrated new concepts into the running of her company.
Other than customisable funerals, she also introduced a procedure called the decedent care spa, an encoffinment ceremony service where families and friends can observe a loved one receiving a body-rejuvenation treatment one last time before the body is placed in a coffin.
This allows those dear to the deceased to give him or her a more meaningful farewell.
She has agreed to do a demonstration on me to show how the procedure is carried out.