Celebrating life after death

by | August 26, 2013

NAFA students got challenged to come up with their own unique “In Memoriams” and three winners were selected.

Haeqal's winning entry.

The Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) students got a challenge from “Obitcheery”, an initiative by Lien Foundation, recently to come up with their own unique “In Memoriam” for a loved one who has passed on, or someone dear to them who had a positive impact on their lives.

They weren’t afraid to take on the challenge and the three winning entries were: 21-year-old Mohammad Haeqal Bin Sulaiman for his entry “Little things of Ronald Chua” (1st place); 23-year-old Ong Hui Yu for her entry “Certificate of registration of rebirth” (2nd place); and 21-year-old Cheryl Chu for her entry “The beauty of cranes” (3rd place).

Ageless Online queried them about their experience:


What made you take part in this challenge?

Haeqal: The challenge was a must for us third-year advertising students in NAFA to participate as some percentage of the outcome would be considered in our final-year project grade. In all honesty, I had no choice but to take part in it, and with God’s will, eventually I got the grand prize.

Hui Yu: The interesting brief behind the competition made me take part in this challenge. We had to portray death as a joyful event, so that’s a really creative thought behind the whole challenge and something not everyone would have thought of.

Cheryl: We were actually encouraged by our school to take part in this challenge.


Hui Yu's second-place entry.

How did you come up with your idea?

Haeqal: It was quite a challenge for me as I’ve never really done any death-related works. Especially with the challenge theme, “Celebrate life after death”, I had to really think hard on how to make my work stand out from the rest. I got the inspiration from the late film director Yasmin Ahmad, particularly her TV commercial titled “Funeral” that she did for MCYS. I have always adored her films and ads that she did for Petronas in Malaysia and how she always incorporated the multi-racial society in her works.

Though some of her works were quite controversial, I think those controversial scenes made her works real or genuinely true in a sense that those things do happen in real life and you can’t deny that. And I guess that’s one of many reasons why people love her films. Apart from that, the idea to stick to the roots of traditional obituary layout in newspapers were also used in my work.

Hui Yu: I came up with the idea of a birth certificate of rebirth in heaven because I was thinking of the opposite. Death is a sad event so what is a happy event? So I thought of the happy event of giving birth to a child, and I made use of this thought to create a rebirth certificate; a certificate design, which every Singaporean could relate to. The design was not hard to do; it was the thinking process that was hard.

Cheryl: As an ad student, I did lots of brainstorming. I came up with maybe more than 15 ideas before settling on this, and another two. It wasn’t hard to do. I wanted to create something that could be part of a legacy and something interactive where viewers could read, understand, interact and thus understand more of the message communicated in the obituary/ad.


Cheryl's entry took third place.

What were some lessons you took away from the challenge?

Haeqal: I guess for me, I used to think it’s just a simple social norm to mourn over the dead but after this project, I guess it has opened my view of things on how you can positively look at death.

Hui Yu: This challenge had taught me to think differently, and see things from a different perspective. Death is not a happy thing to start with, so we have to change our mindset in order to come up with a good and creative design to influence other people as well.

Cheryl: I learnt a little more about death and the issue and stigma behind it. It also made me rethink how I would want my death to be remembered, how I might want my own obituary to be like.

** On the “Obitcheery” website, you can submit your tribute to a loved one who has passed on. Share how they impacted your life and how they were unique. Or, you can create your own personalised box of special memories that pay tribute to a loved one who has passed on. Publish it online, keep private, share with friends and family, or even invite others to contribute to your memory collection.


  1. Stephen Teng

    “Obitcheery” or “In Memoriam” is more for the comfort of the loved ones left behind on earth. The deceased have no way to know what is going on, on this earth after they have passed on into eternity, as there is a thick layer of invisible wall between life on earth & eternity. Should not one be more preoccupied with one’s eternity to come, while there is still time?

    Birth & death is part & parcel of human life on earth, just like spring & winter or planting & harvesting cycle. Life goes on & is replaced by someone else. So, if one has done his/her best in life & has prepared well for his/her eternity, he/she will have no angst at all to talk about death.

    However, life on this earth is just a fraction of eternity. Is each one of us prepared for eternity or does death end all & everything on this earth & there is nothing else after death. Is it really so? If it is really so, then be it.

    However, common sense, logic, conscience & the awe of the universe suggest otherwise. If this is so, should we not prepare for eternity? On earth, we are very meticulous in acquiring a career, car, house, marriage, etc, so that we have a satisfied earthly life. Then what about one’s eternity? Should not one be as meticulous in preparing for one’s eternity, which has no end. Should not one have eternity with bliss with the Creator, rather than His enemy, who comes in many disguises as angel of light? Should not one investigate how this can be done in this life, while we have all the time to do so?

    Ancient scriptures point to a Creator & this Creator is the God of Abraham, who has been highly regarded by the Jews, Christians & Muslims alike. Can this long history people be wrong? This Creator also caused only one sinless person in the whole universe history to be born of a virgin birth, to live & sacrifice his life for the sins of the human race & after 3 days, be raised from death to be with Him to intercede for us, upon one’s repentance & acceptance. So, should not one get reconciled with Him before it is too late? It is really one’s choice/decision for the type of life one wants for eternity. If there is no eternity, one has nothing to lose, as everything ends here. But, what if eternity exists, then where will one be found?

    When we came into this world, we had no choice for obvious reason, but now that we are matured & before death, we have a choice to enter the kind of eternity: Bliss or torment; heaven or hell in all eternity. Can we afford to squander away this choice/decision eternally?

  2. Daniel Chan

    Hi Stephen,

    What you wrote made a great deal of sense.
    In fact, some writer once said that if you’ve lived your life well, even if there is no God, you would have contributed to humanity. But if God exists, you’re destined to enjoy eternity because you have lived for Him. So, those who are still struggling in your faith, why take the risk of living a wasted life of selfishness?



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