We sat down with Zen Wu, 38, Managing Director of Confidence Funeral Services. An ex-navy officer who has found his calling to be serving families during difficult bereavement periods. We ask him some questions about the funeral industry and his personal experiences working as a funeral director.
Zenith Goh – Confidence funeral services
Tell us more about yourself.
I was a regular Naval Combat Officer for 8 years before joining the Funeral Industry.
Tell us more about your company.
Confidence Funeral Services is an entrepreneur set up with the mission to assist the bereaved families through this difficult period. Our pride is our forte in helping families to stay united and bond stronger in the midst of their loss. We served families as if they are one of our own loved ones and listen to their life stories and along in this final journey, we assist them to reduce their disagreements, frustrations and minimise their regrets.
What makes you want to take up this role as a funeral director?
We believe in doing what we do best; to help people. The passion to help comes in different forms and modes. Having the compassion to understand their loss and the capacity to handle their grief is what we do best. Doing our best to ensure the family members stay strong and moving forward, they continue to forge even stronger relationships among their loss. The smiles on their faces is a great testament to the small little things that we can do over the period of loss.
Have you had any interesting encounters in your past experiences?
Every individual is special and unique and therefore every funeral is different. In our interaction with families, we understood enough to give them the best recommendation for their loved ones’ final journey. And through these interactions, special and meaningful requests from families varies from performing martial arts in the front, sitting beside and playing guitar, and even having a group of Harley Davidson buddies to provide some meaningful “vroom vroom” sounds to the venue.
Describe one memorable experience you have?
There was once the parents were so traumatized in the loss of their young child that they nearly forget where they are at that moment. Missing out on the essential items that they wanted their only child to have, they broke down again blaming themselves for this misfortunate event. We rushed to get the necessary milk bottles, pacifier, clothing, mittens, teddy bear. Besides the love they can give to this child, these items are probably the only gifts the parents can give him.
What is your favorite part of your work?
I think most people love to listen to stories. We are not exceptional. Listening to the stories and beautiful memories etched onto the remaining family members. We are there with the families, listening and sharing how their elderly worked hard and slough for the family while raising the children in those early days of Singapore.
What is the challenging part of your work?
Singapore is a multiracial community where most of the population are mixed up with information on cultural differences, traditional practices and religious beliefs. Even though these seem to be perceived as less important to their daily catchup with career climbing and social rat race, we have always taken an effort to explain to families on these varied issues while highlighting to them the differences in cultural and religious beliefs, giving them meaning to what they are doing for their loved ones in the final journey.
What should people take note of when they engaged a funeral director?
It really varied from families and even down to individuals. Costing, Familiarity, Referrals from religious organisations, searching from the internet are some of the means where people look out for the funeral company. In our humble opinion, we think most importantly, the family must be comfortable with whoever they engaged and the communication is clear with the trust established between both parties.
With the changing landscape about the industry, we have seen quite a number of young people who is taking up this job, do you have any tips for them?
This is a conscience trade where you need to have a lot of integrity, compassion, patience and endurance to last through the whole journey. Serving with the heart is utmost importance.
Tell us one thing you have learn from your line of work?
Always be alert and observant and in times of crisis, your role as a crisis manager and grief counselor should always be in ready mode when required.
What is one take away you would like our audience to have?
The final journey is an inevitable journey. Before anyone reaches this point, we must always treasure and cherish our loved ones, embrace each and everyone’s uniqueness. Never take things or people for granted as we never know when it will end, either peacefully or abruptly.