Cardboard coffins the green way to go

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 15 October, 2007, 12:00am

Cardboard coffins will be the centrepiece of an art exhibition in town this week to break down taboos and encourage people to think about funeral arrangements.

About 20 different kinds of cardboard coffins will be at the exhibition, ranging from Canadian and Korean styles, to a representation of Dracula's casket and mini coffins for pets.

Exhibition organiser Gary Sham Chi-wing hopes the event will prompt discussion about dealing with death.

'Coffins and death are still taboos to everyone, and there are very few people who talk about death,' Mr Sham, of St James' Settlement, said. 'We did a lot of research and actually found some older people are more open minded than younger ones.'

Among the exhibits will be four painted by local artists Eric Kot, MC Yan, Siuhak and Montagut Chuen, which Mr Sham hoped would help the event gain public acceptance.

There will also be a 'multimedia coffin' made by a group of master students from the Polytechnic University who study multimedia and entertainment technology. The work features an LCD display inside the coffin, which plays videos and music when the coffin closes.

Leslie Lok Man-yee, an importer of cardboard caskets who is supplying the exhibition, said they were not being sold to the public at the moment, however there had been inquiries from potential buyers.

'We'll decide after [the exhibition], and we'll keep the display at our showroom after and see what the customers' reaction is,' she said.

She added all cardboard coffins were imported, with some from the mainland, and currently none were made in Hong Kong.

Hospital Authority planning director Vivian Wong Taam Chi-woon opted for a green funeral for her father, Taam Kwan-yuen, who died aged 96 in May.

Dr Wong's family had ordered a cardboard coffin from the mainland that was made from recycled paper and coated in environmentally friendly paint.

The exhibition will be held at the China Resources Building from Thursday to Sunday. Admission is free.