G Vasugi

Imagine if a loved one passing away. Besides dealing with the grief as a Hindu there are so many rituals and ceremonies that need to be carried out to prepare the loved one for their final  resting place. Every step needs to be treated with love, dignity and respect and not many of us are familiar with such rituals. Mdm Vasugi does this rituals for the families facing such grief – definitely an unpopular job but a necessary one.

70 year old Mdm Vasugi has been undertaking the job of bathing the deceased, dressing them in new garments and adorning them with ornaments for the past 20 years. She also guides the families on the rites and rituals  to be performed during this trying moment for the grieving family. Mdm Vasugi has always stepped out of her comfort zone to try new things. Even her first job was a challenge that she learnt to overcome.


“I told them I would be able to do any job that is assigned to me.”

Mdm Vasugi took an interest in Hindu funeral rituals and helped out on occasions when her relatives passed away. Soon word spread in the community of her knowledge in this unique area and people started engaging her services. Over the next 5 years she actively volunteered her services and helped many families to cross this difficult stage in life without charging any fees. Overtime, the demand for her services increased. Performing these services required her to stand for long hours and be available at odd times of the day even in the middle of the night. Her family got concerned with her health but Madam Vasugi could not stop obliging the requests for her service.


“Whatever job we are doing, we should treat it with respect.”

Are you scared of dealing with the dead?” is a question that Mdm Vasugi often gets when people get to know about her job. But this has never bothered her. While being sensitive to the family’s feelings, Vasugi makes it a point to go through the rituals without letting the grief affect her. She is also a non-believer in ghosts or spirits and has developed a routine of coming back to shower and offer prayers to lord Shiva after each job to keep unwanted spirits away. But this changed when she encountered the death of a young lady who took her own life.

“On that day I realised that people can talk to spirits.”

Madam Vasugi does not only deal with death, she also provides advice and assistance with other Hindu ceremonies such as the birth rituals baby naming ceremony. Vasugi is a colorful character who even at the age of 70, is full of energy, joy and exudes a positive vibe. She lives on her own, looking after herself and the upkeep of her house without any assistance.

Madam Vasugi is not one to sit back and relax. She is busy ticking off her bucket list starting with exercise. She has joined the Community Centre nearby her home to exercise and keep herself healthy. She had always wanted to learn English since young and she has decided to fulfill this desire as well by enrolling in English classes. Next on her list is acting and to her credit she has thus far acted in 8 TV dramas. She hopes to get more opportunities to act in the future. Although dealing with death and grief almost daily, she manages to put a positive spin on everything she does.

“Even in despair, we should laugh it off and face life bravely!”

Mdm Vasugi ended the interview by sharing how proud she is to be a Singaporean and praises former Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew for his commitment and contributions to Singapore. She is absolutely confident that there is no other place like Singapore in the world and is looking forward to celebrating the 50th National Day celebrations next year.


A dedication to the pioneers in the Indian community.

50Faces brings your stories of ordinary Singaporeans who have contributed to our community and nation building.