When Sarah was a child, she would lie to her classmates about her father’s job. They shunned her when the truth was revealed: her father is the ‘King of Caskets’, a funeral director.
Sarah studied to be an embalmer. When she snuck off to learn the art of embalming, her mother was furious. Sarah’s mother was also a funeral director and wanted a different life for her daughter.
Embalming work is a tough life with odd hours and few compromises. When duty calls, concerts are interrupted, movies abandoned halfway, and sometimes the work happens at midnight. To top it off, women were traditionally seen as too “dirty” for this line of work. Simultaneously, this work was also seen as too “dirty” for women.
Now reunited with her mother, Sarah is also an embalmer and funeral director, much like her parents. She loves her job, despite its sacrifices.
People make fun of her for the precautions she takes and the full protective gear she wears.
However, it’s her professional duty to protect herself and ensure the bodies of loved ones are safe to touch when they are brought home.
With Sarah’s diligence, the final send off for loved ones is not only safe, but presentable for everyone.
Sarah appreciates that attitudes towards women have become more positive, and hopes more women will join the industry one day.
Life After Death is the second episode of the While You Sleep social documentary series, featuring Singaporeans who work the graveyard shift. The five-episode series will also profile the extraordinary jobs of an animal rescue worker, suicide hotline volunteer, ambulance driver, and A&E medical staff.
While You Sleep is part of the Viddsee Voices project to develop original films that explore with local content creators issues commonly overlooked in our society.