14 May 2020

Discovering a Youth’s Unexpected Passion

When asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?”, every child’s answer would typically be “a doctor, lawyer, or teacher”. and young Jack Tay was no different. Little did he know what the future had in store for him would be completely different yet meaningful.


Jack’s 2-year National Service stint bought him some time to think about what he wanted to do in the future. At 23, he has finally figured it out.

“After much consideration, I thought to myself that I wanted a meaningful career where I would be able to help people.” He added, “At the same time, I came across videos showcasing young funeral directors and I questioned myself if this was something I would like to try.”

At the end of Jack’s National Service, he made the decision to apply for a full-time position at Direct Funeral Services where his career in the funeral industry began.

He thought that his parents would disapprove of his decision to be a funeral officiant, but was surprised when his parents were open-minded and supportive of it instead.


As Direct Funeral Services provides a full range of services, Jack’s duty spans across a few days.  

To help put things into perspective, Jack explained that from the moment someone passes on, the funeral officiant will head down to the hospital or the home to receive the deceased and bring them back to the funeral home. From there, embalmers will assist with the cleaning and dressing of the deceased.

Jack and his team will then transport the deceased to residential void decks or funeral parlours where they will set up and prepare the wake in accordance with the deceased’s religion. Following, the team will then assist to lead the family through the required preparations and rituals over the next few days, in accordance with their respective religions.


One of the things Jack noticed during his course of work as a funeral officiant is that the coffin does not necessarily contain the old and aged. It is upsetting, but he realised that this is the cold hard truth – anyone can be next. It taught him to appreciate all the little things in life more and to cherish each day. “As Asians, we tend to not express our appreciation and love to people that are the closest to our heart. Being in the industry and seeing death so much, made me learn to start expressing my love and care for my loved ones.”

An incident that still lingers fresh in his mind was the first funeral duty he had. Jack recalled witnessing a 6-year-old boy bid farewell to his young father before closing the casket. He said, “His mum told him to bid his final goodbye to his father and told him that after this day, he will no longer have a father.”


What drives Jack to continue working in this industry are the words of appreciation he receives from the bereaved family. A simple ‘Thank You’ encourages Jack and his team, assuring them that they have done a good job in providing the family with closure.

Jack shares, “Handling deaths and funerals are often mentally draining. For me, I channel the ‘negativity’ to push myself harder at work and I use these examples to constantly remind myself to cherish and be content with life.” He feels that no other jobs are as fulfilling. Beyond helping to prepare the deceased for their last rites, Jacks also finds it rewarding that he is able to give the families accept change in their lives, with the hope that they will continue living life to their fullest.


Through the eyes of our nEbO youth writer, nEbO Labour Month aims to introduce lesser known, yet interesting jobs to youths out there. This series seeks to encourage youths to be inspired and pursue their dreams through real-life stories of our profiles, as well as appreciate the uncommon jobs in various interesting fields.

nEbO is the junior membership arm of NTUC. It is a lifestyle club that actively reaches out to youths aged 12 to 25, socially engaging them in creating a vibrant community that is Work-Ready, World-Ready and Life-Ready. Find out more about what we do at nebo.sg.


Written by: Alvira Alayna

Posted by nEbO Admin on 14 May 2020, 3:52 pm
« A passion so deep Spending time with nature »
Share on
social media


» Login or Join Us to post a comment