Remember your loved ones in cyber-heaven

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 April, 2006, 12:00am

Ancestors, local heroes and religious icons are being remembered in an online cemetery that allows people to pay their respects in a more relaxed environment.


The online cemetery, created by the Hong Kong-based uptoheaven.com, has six zones: Catholic, Christian, Buddhist, Taoist, non-religious and famous people.


Each zone carries a list of the grave's virtual occupants, their names, dates of birth and ancestors' origins. There are links to personal webpages featuring photos of the deceased.


Visitors can burn joss sticks, light candles or offer flowers by clicking on corresponding icons. They are also invited to leave messages in a book of condolences.


The online cemetery charges $300 for the use of the service over a three-year period.


For an extra fee of $200, a brief biography and a mini photo gallery of the deceased can be included on the website.


They can also place password restrictions to limit visitors' access.


The website has set up virtual graves for a total of 57 people since it was created four years ago.


They include heroes like Chau Chi-chai and Wong Sau-mei, two teachers who died while saving their pupils from the 1996 Pat Sin Leng hill fire, and Leung Kam-kwong, a senior immigration officer who was killed in the Immigration Tower arson attack in 2000.


Religious icons including Jesus Christ and the Lord Buddha are also remembered.


A spokesman for uptoheaven.com said the online cemetery was mostly set up for relatives of the deceased who live overseas and cannot frequently visit Hong Kong to perform regular rituals including the Ching Ming Festival.


'While some people may still have difficulty embracing the idea of online grave sweeping for various reasons such as not being able to operate a computer, others have found the service convenient and effective,' he said.