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Friday, February 28, 2014
Ghost Of Difficult Labour (難產鬼)
cultures have different superstitions concerning a woman died during
childbirth. In Malay culture, a mother died during childbirth may turn into a ‘pontianak’
or ‘langsuir’; both are a type of Malaysian vampire. In Chinese culture
however, the dead mother will become the ‘ghost of difficult labour’ (難產鬼). This type
of ghost always manifests in the form of a woman hanging a small bamboo basket with
some joss paper inside on her left arm.
Below is my
late grandpa’s story that happened during the Japanese occupation period which
is about 70 years ago. During that time, people lived in remote places far and sparse
to avoid harm from the Japanese Imperial Army. My grandpa built a small hut
inside a jungle where he spent most of his daytime there and only to return to
the house late at night to sleep. He was in his 20s then and if the Japanese
army discovered him, grandpa would be sent to build ‘the bridge of River Kwai’
(死亡鐵路) in Myanmar. Labourers were urgently required at that time.
grandpa was also a member of resistance force against Japanese invasion, he had
a rifle for his protection and hunting. It was quite a distance between grandpa’s hiding place
and his house proper; since he had to travel late at night and at dawn, he has
had many encounters with ghosts and spirits. Hence, I owed most of the ghost
stories from grandpa.
begins when late grandpa returned home from his hiding place somewhere just
past midnight. As when he passed the front door of a ruined old cottage,
grandpa heard the screaming sound of a woman giving birth, it seemed that this
mother to be was in a lot of pain.
grandpa was a nosy person, due to curiosity; he stopped and peeped through the
door seam and found an old lady was standing beside the mother who has a small
basket hanging on her left shoulder. This old lady was holding a bloody meat
ball and continuously squeezing the meat ball with all her strength. Every time
the old lady squeezed the meat ball, the mother to be in bed would scream with great
felt extremely annoyed by the old lady’s behavior so without much thought at
that time, he lifted his rifle and pull the trigger. It was a loud bang
followed by a scream and everything was silent again. At this time, grandpa
thought he was in trouble so he immediately flees the scene.
grandpa asked his neighbor concerning the mother and her child. To his
surprised, not only the mother was perfectly fine; the baby was also safely
born following the loud bang.
asked the identity of the old lady who stood beside the mother’s bed but no one
could give him the answer until the mother told grandpa that the figure was her
mother; who was incidentally died in childbirth. No wonder old folk say that ghosts
of untimely death don't have any compassion towards their kin.