21 November 2017
If you had walked past Yi Huey on the street, you would probably assume her to be a bright-eyed, impressionable young teenager fresh out of school.
Well, she did just graduate from school. In fact, Yi Huey is part of Ang Chin Moh Group’s latest batch of trainees. We had a chat with her to find out more about her.
Q. How did you get to know about Ang Chin Moh Group?
A. I was looking to join a funeral company and my friend’s sister happened to work at Ang Chin Moh Group. She told me to send my resume over and referred me to the hiring manager. I did that and now I’m here as a trainee.
Q. Why did you choose Ang Chin Moh Group?
A. While I was searching for a suitable company, the funeral companies I saw were all family businesses so I thought it’d be difficult to get in. I liked Ang Chin Moh Group because while it’s still a family-owned company, they seemed to have more diversity in Management (CEO is from USA) and showed more corporate structure.
Also, I saw Shane (embalmer) featured in a newspaper article and I wanted to be an embalmer so I thought I might have a chance to have the same opportunity he had where his education to be an embalmer was sponsored!
Q. Why did you choose the Funeral Profession?
A. I’ve always been interested in human bodies since I was young. It sounds strange, but I’m really amazed by the human anatomy. I wanted to be a pathologist, but it was hard to find. Besides that, I wanted to be an embalmer because I would get to work with dead bodies while making them presentable for the families of the departed. I thought that would be quite meaningful and I would also get to learn about what I’m interested in.
Q. Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
A. Hopefully, I hope to progress with Ang Chin Moh Group and get sent overseas to study embalming! If not, I hope to be able to fund my own studies overseas in embalming and continue from there.
Q. What has your experience as a trainee at Ang Chin Moh Group been like?
A. It’s quite eye-opening! I never realized that there are so many aspects to a funeral service. Currently, I’m going through training on how to set up for the funeral services. As a funeral director, we have to be aware of all the different practices for different religions and ensure that we are equipped with the right knowledge. Messing up a ritual or certain practice can really affect the families and may even be seen as disrespectful.
Q. What is the structure of the trainee program?
A. We basically go through 3 months of training and are rotated through 3 different functions – Operations, Customer Service and Consultant. At the end of it, we will be assessed based on our aptitude as well as indicate where we’d like to be posted to. Based on the assessment and review, we will be placed in one of the three functions.
For now, we have to go through both theory classes and practical training. The first month has been more focused on theory. However, we do get practice on how to set up and we have mentors to guide us through the different roles and activities we have to conduct after we pass our training phase.
Training is quite extensive as we have different trainers for different areas of learning so there’s actually a lot to absorb.
It’s scary when I got to participate in an actual set up because I was so afraid that I’d make a mistake but the guidance by the mentors has been extremely helpful. One thing I’ve realized is that what we learn in theory is very different from what happens in reality!
Q. How have the people around you reacted to you choosing this profession?
A. My parents have been quite supportive in my choice. It’s funny because my mom keeps asking me questions like “How many dead bodies did you see? You not scared ah? Remember to wash yourself properly before you come back!”.
I think it’s inevitable for people to have questions about this because of superstition and more traditional beliefs but most of my friends actually think that what I do is “cool”.
Q. What do you think are the key characteristics you need to excel in this profession?
A. Willingness to learn because you learn something new every day. If you think you know everything, you won’t be able to survive. Be adaptable. For example, you may be faced with a lot of questions at the actual funeral service and you have to be both knowledgeable as well as be able to react to changing situations. Be patient and be empathetic. While we may deal with a lot of funeral services because of our roles, we have to remember that every service is the passing of a loved one for the families where the pain is still so raw for them.