Poet helps ease pass­ing of pets with fi­nal word in ceme­ter­ies

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

HANOI, Viet­nam — Strolling along a bam­boo-lined path be­tween a five-star ho­tel for dogs and cats and Viet­nam’s unique pet ceme­tery, a man in his late seven­ties was nod­ding as if recit­ing poems or com­pos­ing prose.

That’s not sur­pris­ing as the man is Nguyen Bao Sinh, who has writ­ten around 3,000 poems. He is also the owner of the com­plex.

Built on an area of 100 square me­ters, the five-story ho­tel, of­fi­cially named Bao Sinh Cat Dog Re­sort, of­fers five-star fa­cil­i­ties and ser­vices, in­clud­ing air-con­di­tioned rooms, mas­sages and “karaoke” lounges.

“I have been mar­ried twice. Both of my wives looked like beauty queens. My land, build­ings and money to raise my kids prop­erly has all come from dogs,” said Sinh.

Next to the ho­tel is a large and well-known ceme­tery full of small tombs packed with incense burners and sur­rounded by golden bam­boo and flow­ers.

“I as­sume that in my pre­vi­ous life, I must have owned th­ese an­i­mals or treated them cru­elly, so I have to re­pay them or make it up to them in this life,” said Sinh, who is bet­ter known for his artis­tic work as a poet and painter than a grave-ten­der.

The ceme­tery was opened in 2000, the same time as the pet ho­tel ser­vice started.

Sinh said the fa­cil­ity is used by lo­cals and for­eign­ers, but cul­tural dif­fer­ences can cre­ate un­usual sit­u­a­tions.

“One day, a for­eigner came here by taxi. See­ing the Westerner cry while car­ry­ing a big box, the taxi driver thought that he could be a mur­derer, so he called the po­lice. On open­ing up the box, they didn’t find a hu­man corpse, but a dead dog,” Sinh said.

Pet own­ers pay 7-8 mil­lion Vietnamese dong ($310-354) ac­cord­ing to the size of the plot. The cost in­cludes the ex­penses of daily ven­er­a­tion, care of the graves and an an­nual re­quiem cer­e­mony.

“I met dif­fi­cul­ties at first when try­ing to find monks to con­duct the rite as many of them re­fused to do it as they found it un­ac­cept­able to con­duct a re­quiem rit­ual, which is com­monly held for peo­ple, not an­i­mals. But fi­nally, I met some se­nior monks who un­der­stood Bud­dhist the­ory bet­ter and they agreed to help me,” said Sinh.

A woman named Thu Trang who was at­tend­ing a cer­e­mony said: “If Mr Sinh hadn’t opened this pet ceme­tery, I would have had to bury my beloved dog some­where with­out the proper rites. Ly­ing here, my dog can en­joy an­nual re­quiem cer­e­monies and I some­times visit its tomb.”

SHAKIL ADIL / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Peo­ple rush a heat­stroke vic­tim to a hos­pi­tal in Karachi, Pak­istan, dur­ing a deadly heat wave that killed thou­sands of peo­ple in 2015.

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