Lin, the virtual mortician

By Ma Yujia
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, January 19, 2013
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"Hello everyone, I only write about the departed. Read with caution please," 25-year-old Mr. Lin, the blogging mortician, wrote in every single one of his updates for a long time.

The screenshot of Lin's blog '逝者如斯夫dead' (Time passes like the river runs; they never stop).

The screenshot of Lin's blog "逝者如斯夫dead" (Time passes like the river runs; they never stop).

Since his first obituary notice on July 3 of 2011 on his blog "逝者如斯夫dead" (Time passes like the river runs; they never stop),the Fujian IT guy has blogged hundreds of posts relating to those deceased. For a year and a half, he has been posting small blurbs to say goodbye to 802 people on his blog.

He refers to himself as "The mortician of the blogging world".

His usual blogging style contains something along the lines of "@XX, male/female, XX years old, died of XX. XX wrote so-and-so on his/her blog."

In his eyes, the words left behind by the deceased can be things to remember them by. Through reading the blogs composed by them when they were still alive, he realized that all the posts put together created a whole universe of their own.

However, Mr. Lin said, "In the beginning, I just wanted to experiment. I wanted to run a blogging account only focusing on specific topics and see whether or not it would attract a following without the use of any promotional or 'improper' means."

He decided to focus on people having passed away and registered with Weibo (a close equivalent to Twitter in China), in July of 2011. His first-ever obituary notice read "@ Wu Zheng, former deputy editor-in-chief of and COO of BesTV, died of heart complications at the age of 39 yesterday."

Lin said, "At first I wrote the obituary notice without including any personal emotions. That is until I read the posts written by two other Weibo users."

"Ocean blue Lin (Chinese: 林若海蓝)," a girl who had just been admitted to university, was diagnosed with a malignant tumor. She posted a total of 17 tweets to say goodbye to the world and persuaded her family to donate her heart -- the only healthy organ in her body -- to someone in need.

She wrote, "When I was a little girl, I was so different from other children. I dreamed of one day taking off to lead a vagrant life whereas others would just lie in their mothers' arms, acting like pampered children. However, my dream will now never come true. I hope that my heart will continue to beat in the body of someone else who cherishes beautiful dreams…"

"I was tremendously touched when I read her words," Lin said, "I never knew a girl could express her attitude towards life so warmly right before dying."

Hence, except for her basic information, I added several more sentences to her obituary: "The words posted on your blog still warm the hearts of all. We will act and live the way you said and encourage others to do the same."

The other one Lin paid attention to, was the blog of a run-of-the-mill internet user from Changchun, born in 1981. In February of last year, he repeatedly posted a cry for help: "My name is XX.Iwas born in a poor family. I was diagnosed with acute pneumonia and I need to get 30,000 yuan for treatment. I sincerely hope someone will help me. I promise that all things I said are true. Help me."

Unfortunately, he never did collect the money he needed and died of his illness.

Lin wrote a post especially for this anonymous Changchun blogger, which read "@XX, died of acute pneumonia at the age of 25. He was a lonely person in the virtual world. Before he died, he repeatedly updated dozens of posts for help. However, only two people replied to his words. I clicked the 'follow' button and became his 26th follower."

Since then, Lin makes sure to always carefully read the words and tweets written by those departed before he takes to writing their obituary notice. He uses his own feelings to paint a unique image of each and every one of them.

As for the question "What does death mean to you?" Lin replied, "Out of a global population of more than 6 billion people, the death of one person sometimes may not seem like a big thing. However, everyone deserves to die with respect and dignity. If the family of the deceased objects, I will delete everything about him or her from my blog."

"Because I don't want to use the departed people to attract more followers," Lin added, "Now, the only thing that can make me continue to run this blogging account is to read the stories behind each person and experience the beauty of life."

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