Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Vanished Flats (消失了的单位)

In Penang and the rest of big cities such as KL, there are many flats or apartments ‘vanished’ from some high rise housing estate corridors. Well, as with some of the western superstitions that one cannot find the 13th floor in a building in the West; it is possible that one cannot find a flat with number 4 in a building in Malaysia. Instead we would find a unit with 3A. That is of course, the matter of deliberate arrangements. The number ‘4’ in Hokkian is pronounced as ‘see’ meaning ‘die’; so it is very likely that one can never find a flat with number ‘4’ in places where the Hokkian ethnic is the majority such as in Penang.

There is another scenario that a flat of numbers other than that of ‘13’ or ‘4’ vanished from the corridors of a commercial or a residential building for some very interesting reasons.

If you are a frequent hotel lodger in KL, then you would notice that some rooms are permanently marked as ‘booked’. And if you are a little adventurous and walk along the corridors of these hotels; you will find that some room numbers are missing. For example you will never find room 1410 between 1409 and 1411. Instead you will find a solid wall between the rooms.

And if you are of the type ‘die-die must know’, then you can revisit the place at night alone. You may hear disembodied voice of babies crying or voices of woman screaming emitting from the wall. If you are in luck, you may also notice someone walking in front of you suddenly takes a sharp turn into the wall! So please don’t be surprised. And if you are of the generous type, then give the room attendants some tips and they will reveal the secrets behind the walls to you.

There is a high-rise residential building situated amongst other high density buildings in Penang downtown near the jetty that has no physical flat number 14 on its top floor. Well, to be exact; you cannot find the flat number 14 because it is sealed by the building management and there is a story behind this flat number 14:

Old Penang people would remember that a tragic murder cum suicide case occurred in that flat number 14 about two decades ago. That was a case of a man jilted by his girlfriend and later he visited his ex in the hope for reconciliation. Somehow the meeting ended up with a furious quarrel and then a fight.

In that fight, the man stabbed his ex repeatedly until death with a kitchen knife and in the process, he also killed the ex’s sister who was around in the house. It was said after the man killed the girls; he held the knife and walked out of flat number 14. This person finally fell to his death by jumping over the corridor fencing. It was later said that his blood tainted foot prints filled the corridor.

After the tragic incident, flat number 14 was refurbished and rented to a few families but none of the families could stay in the flat for more than 3 months safe and sound. Some ended with bankruptcy, divorce or even death. People who stayed in the flat claimed to have heard the crying sound of two young ladies lingering in the unit at midnight. Neighbors who happened to walk by the flat at night would hear the crying sounds too. Consequently no one dares to stay in that flat and it was vacated for a very long time and people were scared to approach the flat number 14.

When new building management took over, they decided to seal off the flat for good. So when you walk at the top floor of that building, you would notice the corridor would feel a little sparse. Of course, if you are lucky; you can also hear the eerie sobbing noise of the restless spirits until these days.

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