Cheng Beng nowadays become a family exercise event. The whole family will get into sporting gear and bring some stuff, be it some paper-based worldly material goods or food such as chicken, char siew, fruits or kuih-muih to visit the grave of their ancestors.
In Sandakan, there are few graveyards but the biggest and oldest one will be the Bak Gong San (BGS) which is incidentally the name of so many graveyards in Malaysia. My family used to wake up VERY early (and I mean real early like 3am) and go to the market to buy things needed for the praying. However as time goes by, the things needed became simpler and more practical nowadays. I still remember my father used to purchase a packet of Lucky brand ciggie to burn for my grandpa (Chinese old traditional practice : They believe that burning anything will send those stuff to the other world to be used by those who passed away or sell salty duck egg). I wonder if you can find any Lucky brand now.
We will reach the foot of the BGS about 4am in the morning and it's dark, and I mean REALLY dark. If the moon is full then the area will be less dark but all the tombs will be very visible from the place we park our car. Most of the time we will be braving the dark and walk up the BGS and perform our prayer at my grandpa and grandma's grave.
Recently we are not that early anymore and by my family definition, that will be reaching there around 5am in the morning. Now this time we will be quite afraid, not afraid of ghost or spirit but more to the men (real life) with parang dan sabit. Not because they want to kill us but they are there to offer their service t clear the bushes and long grass growing vigorously around the grave site. Some ethnic-community based association will clear the area where most of their members' grave site are, saving their descendents effort to clear them before paying their respect.