According to the Deccan Chronicle, beloved local politician Tung Hsiang passed away in December after decades of public service in the southern Taiwanese city of Chiayi. He had a reputation as a fun loving, gregarious socialite and his family wanted to send him off in a suitably flamboyant and memorable way.
To honor that end, his family assembled a funeral procession of bands, performers, floats, and more than 200 vehicles that stretched for several kilometers as it snaked through the city. Featured among the procession vehicles were fifty customized, brightly-colored jeeps, each one carrying a bathing suit-clad showgirl dancing around a roof-mounted stripper pole. The exact opposite of a quiet, somber affair, the raucous parade clogged up streets, stopped traffic, and attracted crowds of onlookers and hangers-on.
Tung Mao-hsiung, Hsiang's brother, told CTS reporters that his ailing brother had requested a big send-off just days before he died.
"He told us he wanted this through a dream two days before the funeral," he said.
While Hsiang's delightfully tacky funeral train pushed the boundaries of taste, and definitely contrasts with traditional ideas of funeral decorum, it's not that strange an event in Taiwan. The Deccan Chronicle states that Taiwanese send-offs have a tendency to be risque. Showgirls like the ones hired for Hsiang's procession are commonplace, and often go beyond just dancing and right to stripping at religious festivals and funerals on the island. The Chronicle suggests that this is due to the fact that Taiwanese folk religion is a unique mix of spiritualism and earthiness.