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Pole dancers jam traffic at Taiwan politician’s funeral

TAIPEI (AFP) – Fifty pole dancers clad in black bikinis gave one Taiwan politician a raucous final send-off in an eyebrow-raising funeral parade that jammed traffic and drew crowds of onlookers.

It was not a quiet, dignified exit for local councilor Tung Hsiang, whose funeral cortege saw the women dancing and singing on top of multi-colored jeeps as a band played and performers dressed as deities joined in.

Footage of the funeral in the southern Taiwanese city of Chiayi on Tuesday showed the vibrant procession of 200 vehicles stretching for several kilometers. Onlookers snapped photos and some motorcyclists even chased after the cortege to watch the pole dancers, said local CTS news channel.

Tung, who died of an illness in December at 76 years old, was a well-known figure in Chiayi where he was active in the local political scene for decades in various posts.

Tung’s family said he liked fun and socializing so they wanted to see him off in a flamboyant, memorable way.

“He told us he wanted this through a dream two days before the funeral,” his brother Tung Mao-hsiung said.

While it may contrast with some traditional notions of funeral etiquette, it is not uncommon for Taiwanese send-offs to be risque affairs.

Showgirls are not only hired to perform pole dancing but even go as far as striptease at religious festivals and funerals on the island, where folk religion is a unique mixture of the spiritual and the earthly.

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