Covid-19 in the afterlife: Hong Kong shop sells joss paper face masks just in time for Hungry Ghost Festival

Social media users had a field day mocking the idea of face masks for the dead.  — Picture via Facebook/Chris Goh
Social media users had a field day mocking the idea of face masks for the dead. — Picture via Facebook/Chris Goh

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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 19 —  It’s no surprise that joss paper shops sell just about anything for those who want to ensure their deceased loved ones are comfortable in the afterlife.

But one shop in Hong Kong is taking things to the next level by selling joss paper face masks, just in case the Covid-19 pandemic finds its way into the spirit world.

An image of the colourful paper face masks was first posted on Facebook’s Complaint Singapore page by Chris Goh.

“Ghost month coming soon, anyone need mask can PM (private message) me,” he wrote, referring to the upcoming Hungry Ghost Festival.

The traditional festival which falls on September 2 this year sees living descendants honouring deceased ancestors by a myriad of rituals, including burning joss paper in the form of material items such as clothes, money, houses and cars.

According to Mothership Singapore, the Chinese words xian ren kou zhao are seen on the masks’ plastic packaging which roughly translates to ‘ancestor’s masks’.

One joss paper mask reportedly costs S$10 (RM30).

Hilarious comments soon poured in as social media users couldn’t get past the irony of selling face masks for those in the underworld.

One user pointed out that these joss paper masks for the dead might be a useful gift for those who refuse to wear a mask to remind them of their mortality in the face of a pandemic.

“Good, I need this as a present to those who refuse to wear a mask,” the comment read.

“[I] didn’t know there’s Covid-19 there,” one Facebook user said.

“Ghosts also must have social distancing,” another replied.

“Is there no lockdown or circuit breaker down there?” one person said mockingly.

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