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Hong Kong turns to virtual reality to honour ancestors

Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 01:50

A lack of space for cemeteries in crowded Hong Kong clashes with the age-old Chinese tradition of reverence for one's ancestors. But one entrepreneur uses virtual reality software to reconcile the two, as Elly Park reports.

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Home to 7.3 million residents, Hong Kong is one of the most expensive, crowded cities in the world. It's not any different for the city's dead, as cemetery space to store the remains of loved ones can cost up to $130,000 dollars. It's a burden for Chinese families for whom honoring ancestors is an integral part of one's filial duties. But the startup iVeneration.com is ready to change things, virtually. Its users can create headstones anywhere in an augmented reality landscape of Hong Kong, offering a solution for the crammed city says its founder Anthony Yau. SOUNDBITE (Cantonese) IVENERATION, FOUNDER, ANTHONY YAU, SAYING:" "Actually, the dead are taking so much more space than those who are still alive as those buried use that piece of land for many years, it's permanent, they won't move. For those who are still alive they won't stay on the same piece of land forever, so there is still this notion of 'recycling land' going on. So the lack of space for the dead is a more severe problem than for those who are alive." The website already has 300 users, including employee Alex Lee, who uses virtual reality to honor his late grandfather. SOUNDBITE (Cantonese) VR CEMETERY USER, ALEX LEE, SAYING: "I think this service really fits the mentality of our future generation. For me, you don't have to go to an object to remember those passed away, it's all in your heart." iVeneration.com is ready to take things beyond the grave early next year, launching its website to the public.

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Hong Kong turns to virtual reality to honour ancestors

Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 01:50