What? Why? What American man would want to be buried in Taiwan? This one would. Because Taiwanese people know how to mourn — with a truck full of strippers. It only makes complete and perfect sense. Because nothing makes me forget about death like a parade float carrying half-naked, dancing Taiwanese women. Initially you’re probably like “Strippers at a funeral? Tacky!” but I’m pretty sure the Taiwanese people have this one truly figured out.
I’ve been to my share of funerals, as I’m sure most adults have, and the general consensus is that they’re incredibly depressing and boring. If you’re lucky, you come from an Irish family and you spend about ten minutes sulking, then the rest of the time you’re pouring whiskey down your throat. But that’s the exception. Usually it’s lots of people you haven’t seen in years, sitting in a room crying, or about to cry, or blowing their nose, or awkwardly patting others on the back.
At the handful of funerals I’ve been to in the last ten years or so, I remember thinking to myself “How can I cheer these people up? How can I lighten this somber mood and make everyone in here realize that death is a part of life and though it’s perfectly ok to mourn the loss of someone, we’d be doing their memory a great service if we were embracing our own life and living the present day as though it were our last.” For a long, long time I couldn’t find the answer.
Leave it to the Taiwanese, a particularly emotionally centered, positive Buddhist culture, to find what the western world has been searching for: The thing that makes people embrace their own life in the wake of a loss isn’t cold cut trays, fruit baskets, or shots of whiskey. It’s strippers.
I don’t give a crap about the specifics or the cultural meaning behind this because I just think it’s a great idea. I like to imagine my own funeral sometimes (not in a depressing suicide note sort of way, but in an egomaniacal “what will people say and will all my ex-girlfriends be crying hard” sort of way.) I picture my friends and family sharing stories with one another and laughing. Then I picture them getting sad and somber. Then I imagine their sadness will turn to anger, not at the injustice of my untimely death, but at me. Because I’m sure I’ll die owing a bunch of them money. Just as an intense debate about how they will divide my estate (which consists of a suitcase full of clothing, a guitar and this laptop) an electric flower car will pull up outside. The doors will fall down, the lights will go up, and several incredibly attractive Taiwanese women will begin a sexy but tasteful dance to Weezer’s “Only In Dreams”.
I don’t know what the cultural meaning behind any of this is, frankly, I don’t really care. If you care, you can check out the documentary Dancing For The Dead [Video clip may not be SFW!]. You can also find more info over at io9