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Property boom in Vietnam hits grave sites
Publication Date : 25-03-2014
In Vietnamese culture, talking about death or preparations for death are usually considered taboo until the fateful moment draws close. Most people scurry past undertakers' shops without a sideways glance and people are careful to avoid using the word four because it sounds similar to another word meaning death in case it hastens their demise.
But as land for cemeteries - or businesses, homes or factories - becomes more and more limited, the older generation has become worried about where to "lie down" when they leave this world. This explains why organising a parent's grave site in advance is becoming more important - indeed, even a sign of filial respect.
A reporter with Dien Dan Dau Tu (Business Forum) recently took a tour of real-estate transaction floors around Hanoi to see what the demand was for cemetery plots. To his surprise, unlike the gloomy downturn in the property market for the living, the market for the plots for the departed has been busy. This, of course, has been helped by the approach of the Thanh Minh Festival (Ancestors Day or Tomb Sweeping Day) when families visit ancestral grave sites to offer chicken, pork, wine and incense.
According to Hoang Van Hoa, director of HB Land, his company has received many requests for grave plots. He said some people in Hanoi were prepared to pay a premium to buy lots as presents for their parents. Many of the requests come from overseas Vietnamese.
Nguyen Thi Mai, who bought 500 square metres of land for family graves in a cemetery near Hanoi, said her parents became visibly happier and healthier when she presented the plots to them. "They do not have to worry about where to lie down after death anymore," she said."Whenever they have friends to visit, they joyfully produce a map of the cemetery to show where their future graves are."
It seems like resting-in-peace is no longer the delicate subject that it used to be.