Filipino and Indian community bids farewell to 7-year-old girl choked on jelly

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Yesterday, a community of Filipinos and Indians, parents of playmates and schoolmates, bids farewell to Zairalaine Shaikh, the 7-year-old Filipino-Indian girl who died of choking.

A community of Filipinos and Indians, parents of playmates and schoolmates, spend their last moments with Zairalaine Shaikh, the 7-year-old Filipino-Indian girl who died of choking on Oct. 27.

The Primary 2 student, daughter of Elena Leones Siobal from Abra, choked on a piece of jelly she had during her school break at Chiu Sheung School in Pok Fu Lam last month, where Zaira was immediately rushed to the hospital. A week after, doctors from Queen Mary hospital certified her brain dead, and after a few hours in the arms of her mother, the ventilator machine was turned off.

There was a Muslim Funeral held on Saturday, (Nov. 20) in Happy Valley, about a hundred Filipino friends arrived for funeral viewing. Waiting for an hour, Zaira was seen wrapped in just green embroidered cloth and brought to one corner of the room. After announcing that non-Muslim viewers will stay in one corner of the hall, Muslim prayer was recited by Imam.

From Happy Valley, Zaira’s body was brought to the Muslim Cemetery at Chai Wan. With bus service provided, half of the group joined to go to the cemetery.

In the cemetery, the group took a long walk to get to the burial place to gather for a last glimpse of Zaira.

Wrapped in white cloth, the girl’s body was placed about a meter under the ground, and the sounds of soft cries began, escalating to weeping and wailing, not only from Elena but also from the mothers of Zaira’s friends and schoolmates.

The Muslim leader then recited a short Muslim prayer.

To cover the body, pieces of wood were placed about one foot above it. Men then used shovels to cover the wood with earth. With the sounds of hard earth hitting wood along with the sounds of mothers’ cries, the silence in a valley of tombstones is broken.

Once the wood was fully covered, each person placed flowers on top of the earth softly saying their last prayer and goodbye to Zaira.

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