Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Granny Who Munches Biscuits (爱啃饼的婆婆)

When my late dad got a short transfer notice from Kuala Kangsar to Taiping, he had not enough time to seek a place to house the family then. So we had to put up in a friend’s old double story shop house in Padang Rengas; which is situated beside the main road.

The shop lot we need to put up with for 3 months or so had been vacated for quite some time. According to my dad’s friend, we can stay downstairs and do whatever we wished but we were to leave upstairs alone for some reason that he didn’t want to reveal.

In fact, we the kids weren’t too interested with upstairs as it was hot and pitch dark even in daytime. There weren’t any windows so you can imagine that upstairs was very stuffy under the tropical heat.

When it was time, we finally moved into the building and all went well for the first week or so. Though Padang Rengas was a small town, the easy life and tranquility made us enjoyed life in small town. The neighbors were friendly too so pretty soon we mingled quite well with the locals.

No complaints so far except of some minor nagging issues. For example someone seemed to be staying upstairs as almost everyone could hear footsteps walking upstairs. Well, since the whole building was built with wooden planks; a little movement could be heard clearly downstairs especially during night time.

At times, I could see a greyish shadow came down from the stairs and moved towards the living room and the kitchen at night. My dad only brushed what I saw as kid’s vivid imagination.

One evening when I returned from playing with my new found friends, I saw someone was sitting in my dad’s favourite arm chair reading newspaper. At first I thought it was my dad but the hands suggest the person was an old lady. You wouldn’t have mistaken the identity as old ladies of those days like to wear a big round jade bracelet on their left wrist.

I couldn’t see the person’s face as it was covered by newspaper. On approaching the arm chair, the newspaper seemed to be floating in the middle of the air for a few seconds before dropping onto the floor. I told dad about the matter but he said it was only the wind.

Another interesting matter of the old house was that almost all of us except dad could hear the sound of someone munching soda biscuit (苏打饼) upstairs. At times this sound would be particularly noticeable especially after midnight. The most familiar noise would be ‘crunch, crunch, crunch…’ which come and think of it now would be a little eerie.

Soon it was time for us to move out of the old shop house as my dad has finally found a new house in Taiping. On the day my dad returned the house key to his friend, he asked of the strange noise at night. And this friend gave a very interesting answer:

“My late mom liked to stay upstairs alone that’s why I disallow anyone to go upstairs. She likes to eat biscuits at nights too… but I didn’t know she still stays in the old house after these years!”

Now the shop house was taken over by another businessman. Every time I travelled from Kuala Kangsar to Taiping, I couldn’t help myself staring at that interesting house for a few seconds before passing on. 

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