Sarah Ang Leads All-Female Embalming Team At Serenity Casket & Funerals

Life is fleeting and can change in the blink of an eye. 

For Sarah Ang, Chief Embalmer at Serenity Casket & Funerals, she experienced that firsthand when her father passed away while she was only 19. 

Sarah’s Entry Into the Funeral Realm After Her Father’s Passing

In 2004, Mr. Ang Yew Seng, the well-known “Coffin King” who had founded Ang Yew Seng Funeral Parlour, passed on after battling four gruelling months of diagnosis, operation, and complications. 

This difficult period saw Sarah stepping up to support her mother. 

But as a young woman in the funeral industry, Sarah faced significant obstacles due to gender-based stereotypes that marginalised her. Think an industry dominated by older, tattooed, cigarette-chewing male workers. 

Erasing Gender Bias in the Local Funeral Sector 

Despite these hurdles, Sarah boldly set out to prove that women could excel in the same way as their male counterparts. 

Her unwavering determination and persistence to shatter the industry stereotypes paved the way for younger women to excel in this often-tabooed profession. 

Case in point: Nicole Chong, who is Sarah’s sister-in-law, was so inspired by her that she followed in her footsteps and eventually became Singapore’s youngest female embalmer in 2017. 

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way 

But Sarah’s journey to where she is today wasn’t an easy one. 

Resolute in her drive to succeed in the funeral profession, Sarah made the choice to study in New Zealand and obtain a Diploma in Embalming there, a choice that she never once regretted. 

Her husband, Elson Chong (the founder of Serenity Casket & Funerals) was her ultimate pillar of support. He was there with her every step of the way, encouraging her to give her absolute best during the year and a half of her studies.

Handpicking the Cream of the Crop 

Sarah Ang blow dries the hair of a deceased individual 

Never once did Sarah imagine she would eventually lead an all-female embalming team at Serenity Casket & Funerals years down the road. 

However, life does work in mysteriously wonderful ways. 

In Sarah’s case, it brought her a remarkable group of individuals, each with their unique perspective and skill set. 

The Chief Embalmer describes a thorough and selective process for onboarding new members. 

“It’s not a role that’s offered easily because it takes a special kind of person to handle the emotionally taxing job of an embalmer,” explained Sarah. 

Sure, an embalmer’s key role is to uphold the highest standards of hygiene to provide a dignified, compassionate service. 

But every member on Sarah’s team would unequivocally agree that the vital importance of communicating respectfully and empathetically with the bereaved families stood out most during their training. Their goal is to ensure families feel heard and understood during one of the most challenging times in their lives. 

Sarah shared, “Candidates must demonstrate a willingness to tackle the demanding pace of the work. They must also prove their dedication to both the job and their own commitment to balancing their personal lives and work schedules.” 

And thanks to Sarah’s strict guidelines, only the most capable individuals are entrusted with this sacred duty. 

Work-Life Balance: Walking the Talk at Serenity 

So how does Sarah and her team actually balance the challenging demands of an embalmer and life’s obligations? 

Two keywords: Versatility and adaptability. 

One of the most significant obstacles her team faces is whenever one of their members becomes a parent. Giving birth to a child introduces new responsibilities and shifts in priorities. 

Balancing work and family can be mentally and physically exhausting for the team. But Sarah is continually impressed by the unwavering loyalty of her team members, whose dedication to their work remains unchanged despite the demands of new motherhood. 

In fact, one of the ways that the embalmers support each other outside of work is to take turns babysitting. Such acts of teamwork reinforced their shared commitment. 

“I’m very grateful for my team’s exceptional effort, one that embodies strength, compassion, and unwavering dedication to providing the best service possible,” confided Sarah. 

“It has allowed me to delegate responsibilities that I previously managed alone. This newfound independence has given me the opportunity to pursue exciting new projects that were once on the back-burner to help my team grow and reach greater heights.” 

Perseverance & Passion Paved the Way to Success for Sarah 

Sarah Ang stands in Serenity’s embalming room, proud of what her team has accomplished thus far 

True, the funeral industry has always been a male-dominated field in the past. 

But Sarah’s awe-inspiring journey has proved that perseverance and passion can break down gender barriers and help build a dream team that continues to reshape the funeral landscape. 

Her advice for anyone navigating the funeral industry: “Strike a right balance between work and personal life. Also, if you’re a woman who wants to work in this profession,  don’t be afraid to speak up when uncomfortable and stand up for yourself.” 

Because she chose to pursue her passion and defy the status quo, Sarah is currently one of the most highly sought-after embalming professionals in Singapore.

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