“Customers Never Complain; But Never Repeat“

The Chairman of the Methodist Co-operative Society Ltd, John Cheong, often uses the above phrase to make light of the seldom–spoken–of bereavement industry and yet in all seriousness, it is this compassionate role that one of its subsidiaries, Hosanna Bereavement Services Pte Ltd, has been providing to Christian families for the past 11 years.

Since December 2000, this wholly-owned subsidiary of the co-operative has been a one-stop centre for bereavement and funeral related services; such as transportation, embalming, casket supply, and other related funeral services including food, drink, tentage, mobile toilet, press announcements, photography, as well as other ancillary services like arrangements for the supply of urns and niches for interment after cremation. It is not a business that one would like to talk about on a daily basis, but, it is an essential part of the understanding of our being that we ought to recognize that death is not the finality of our soul for those who believe that there is a greater purpose for our existence. Indeed, there will be sorrow and grief in the demise of our loved ones. It is unavoidable since we build loving relationships with one another together in our lifetimes – the more we love, the greater our grief when we lose a loved one. It is a trying period for the bereaved families as they also have to grapple with the bereavement arrangements and the peripheral activities that surround them. It is with this sense of calling that Hosanna Bereavement Services was set up to help bereaved in their mourning and grief with respect and dignity.

Initially, this social enterprise started out as an outreach to those who could not afford the so-called expensive funeral arrangements for their loved ones and have to seek alternatives during such a stressful period.

Our objective has always been to provide professional advice and personal service to consumers at affordable pricing in all aspects of bereavement matters. We aim to help bereaved families make prudent decisions with regards to expenditure on bereavement services. We have also a panel of experienced volunteer board members who are at hand to give other related counsel as needed during times like these.

In his own personal reflection, the Chairman of the Methodist Co-operative Society Ltd Mr Cheong says: “I was quite at a loss with the handling of the total funeral arrangements, when my mother passed away some 12 years’ ago – what to prepare and what to be expected. In short, I did not have the slightest clue as to what to do at that time. There were some skimpy advices from some friends who may have acquired some ideas from their own personal experiences. I was also in an emotional shock at that time; and was not at my best in thinking through the needed procedures as to how to go around getting the whole process done – meaningfully and tastefully.”

“I was blessed to be involved with this casket business since then, and it has helped to broaden my understanding over these years. I have taken the task to provide the same comfort to those who are affected and to put them at ease – as there are certain things that have to be done and shall need to be coordinated. I am glad to have to part of this business over the past 11 years.”

In conclusion, Mr Cheong again pared down the seriousness of this morbid business as he summarised the nature of this enterprise in typical tongue–in–cheek manner as “Die, Die, we also must do…”