Death, Dying and Bereavement

A Hong Kong Chinese Experience


Edited by Cecilia Lai Wan Chan and Amy Yin Man Chow

ISBN : 978-962-209-787-2

Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology

January 2006

384 pages, 6″ x 9″

  • HK$195.00

Fear marks the boundary between the known and the unknown. Some Chinese people believe that talking about death will increase the likelihood of occurrence. Also, by talking about death, evil spirits will be attracted to haunt people. In facing death, individual response is inevitably moulded by the values, attitudes, and beliefs of one’s culture. Despite the large Chinese emigrant population in major cities in the world, available material in English on death, dying and bereavement among Chinese people is scarce. As Hong Kong is a place where East meets West, most professionals working in the field of death, dying and bereavement adapt knowledge from the West to their practice with the Chinese population. The intention of this volume is to consolidate and disseminate valuable practical wisdom with professionals in the local and international communities who serve Chinese patients and their family members.

Both editors are from the Department of Social Work and Social Administration, University of Hong Kong. Professor Cecilia Lai Wan Chan has done extensive research in psychosocial oncology, behavioral health, grief, loss and bereavement. Amy Yin Man Chow, an Honorary Clinical Associate in the department, is a registered social worker specialized in bereavement counselling.

“The reader will find in these pages compellingly personal accounts of illness and healing, alongside probing reflections on problems arising in forensic labs, palliative care units, and bereavement services. Likewise, authors of various chapters mine the wealth of China’s ancient spiritual and medical traditions to find resources of relevance to modern life. Far from merely anthropological in intent, the book also offers a good deal of practical knowledge concerning end-of-life care and bereavement support, which, although rooted in the Hong Kong experience, has something to teach us all.” —Robert A. Neimeyer, PhD, Chair, International Work Group on Death, Dying & Bereavement

“This book and the chapters written by Professor Cecilia Chan, Amy Chow and other experts will further analyse the philosophy of dying and death in Chinese culture, and will hopefully unveil the mystique surrounding a taboo buried in the thousands of years of our civilization.” —Dr Che Hung Leong, Chairman, Elderly Commission, Hong Kong

“This book contains insight and knowledge which could help initiated readers to reflect on their own belief and attitude towards life and death. In so doing, the daily experience with managing the dying and their beloved could be made much more fulfilling and gratifying.” —Dr Vivian Taam Wong, Chief Executive, Hospital Authority, Hong Kong