Pic 1: This miniature coffin is similar in construction to the real, full-size version.
Pic 2: With just a light push, you can pop open the lid of the coffin.
MALAYSIA: For most Chinese, coffins are taboo items that need to be given a wide birth to avoid misfortune. Elderly Chinese who encounter a funeral procession on the road would often say a phrase like: “大吉利是!棺材棺材,升官發財! (Da jie li shi! Guan cai guan cai, sheng guan fa cai!)” to turn their luck around. The phrase is basically a petition asking the coffin to grant them success and good fortune instead of ill luck.
However, times change and people are now more open minded about such things. Some people now use coffins for good luck charms, while others just like to collect them and items related to them.
There’s even a snack shaped like a coffin. (YUCK! YUCK! YUCK!) It’s made from a hollowed-out rectangular slab of toast, filled with a thickening ingredient and covered with a lid that’s also made from toast.
In recent times, some people (such as businessmen, workers and gamblers) have also started collecting “mini coffins” as good luck charms. They hope that these coffins would either make their business boom, get them promoted, or bring them wealth.
Gao Wencong, who owns a business in Klang, said in an interview with Sin Chew Daily that the mini coffins that he buys are structurally no different from traditional wooden coffins. The words “升官發財” (sheng guan fa cai), which are meant to bring good fortune, are written on the lids.
He said that some people believe if a priest were to bless these coffins, the coffins would become very effective good luck charms. However, opinions differ on whether this is actually true.
He pointed out that he had imported the coffins from Liuzhou, Guangxi through an importer in Penang because he had received orders for them from his customers.
“The largest coffins are eight inches in length while the smallest measure only three inches. I only imported a small amount of these coffins and have presently sold about eight of them. I would only import more if someone were to place an order.”
He said that the price for the coffins ranged from less than a hundred to several hundred ringgit, depending on the size of the coffin. (http://www.kooky.com.my/node/1365)