In America, a politician even knowing a single pole dancer would potentially be grounds for career termination. But in Taiwan, things are different. A Taiwanese politician named Tung Hsiang was recently given a funeral procession that looked like it was organized by Kenny Powers. Accompanying the line of colorful Jeeps was a coterie of fifty strippers.
Hsiang was the Council Speaker of Chiayi County before he died in December at age 76. His funeral was held Tuesday in Chiayi County.
The bizarre funeral was planned by Hsiang’s son Tung Kuo-cheng, who thought that it would be a fitting tribute to his father’s fun-loving disposition.
And fun it was. The procession was composed of Jeeps and imported luxury cars. They were attended by fifty pole dancers, many of whom were standing on top of the cars.
A witness told SET TV, “It’s so hilarious on the street. I’ve never seen this before.”
But this kind of thing is actually not without precedent in Taiwan and China. Similar things happened back in the 80’s, when the economy first started getting real wind in its sails.
The trend originates from the tradition of hiring female mourners who were paid to cry during funeral processions. A practice that’s actually common across various cultures and time periods.
According to Marc Moskowitz, an anthropology professor at the University of South Carolina, “The stripping performances started out as something that gangsters did, but generally spread out to become common practice throughout Taiwan.”
“They are primarily associated with the working class or poorer communities.”
But unlike former times, it is now against the law to have full nudity at public funerals in Taiwan. Which is either a good thing or a bad thing, depending upon who you ask.
The funeral procession routed along Zhongzheng Road. The drive, which usually takes ten minutes, lasted for two hours. It was so huge that it caused a traffic jam.
After it was done, Kuo-cheng wrote on his Facebook page: “After the funeral of my father, it’s time to address my emotions and organise my thoughts. The first thing is to express my thanks to everyone.”
“I want to express my gratitude towards the funeral guests, relatives and friends. Thanks for the comforting words of care.”
Having strippers at a funeral is certainly out of the ordinary. Perhaps it is a tradition that will be adopted stateside. Though the mind searches for a politician who would embrace it.