Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Haunted Gold Pond (金塘魅影)

Those folks who stay around Kuala Kangsar railway station might know that there is a pond known as the Gold Pond by locals. This is a natural pond situated near virgin jungle and from the railway station; one has to travel for another 20 minutes by bike passing through a vast piece of rubber plantation to get to the destination. When I left Kuala Kangsar 30 years ago, the place was impassable by car still.

In the 70’s and 80’s, kids in small town such as that of Kuala Kangsar then were not as lucky as today’s. They have no video games, smart phones, videos or TV. The only things that can make them occupy are the football field, rivers and ponds.

In those days, kids who stayed in rubber plantation behind railway station normally walked or cycled to the school. If they were in morning schooling, then they would complete the morning school by 1pm. For those who were in afternoon session, then they would travel to school by 12 noon. Whatever case that might be, this Gold Pond was their favorite place because these kids can bath in the pond after and before schooling. Of course, during school holidays those kids would practically camp around the Gold Pond for the whole day.

Although the Gold Pond was then a good place to fish and swim, it was a notorious place for drowning kids. Kid drowning incidents occurred during almost every school holidays. On average 1~2 kids drowned every year and although there were no official record of the casualty, perhaps not less than 40 lost their lives in the pond. Hence local believed the Gold Pond to be haunted.

I was told that those water ghosts (水鬼) would transform into betta fish (打架鱼) that would hover in shallow waters of the Gold Pond.  These betta fish would not swim away even they are approached. But when a kid ventured into the water trying to catch the fish, it would slowly move inch by inch into deeper water. At this point, the kid would seemingly be enchanted and slowly walks into the water until drowned. I lost a playmate who has lost his life while tempting to catch a betta fish while returning from school. His friends who followed at a distance away sworn that the drown kid suddenly jumped into the Gold Pond for no apparent reasons. They tried to save the poor kid but it seemed that the kid seemed to be pulled into the water by an invisible force.

The kid’s friends had to return to the village to call for help. When the help has finally arrived, they only managed to pull up the poor kid’s lifeless body. According to the rescuers, the kid’s mouth was stuffed with mud and weeds while finger marks were seen on both legs seemed that someone or something had grasped the decease’s feet tightly.

Many times, after my late pa returned from my uncle’s durian plantation situated on the opposite banks of the Gold Pond at dusks, he sworn that he could hear voices of kids laughing and splashing water in the pond. At times someone would whisper his name while he passed through the Gold Pond.

During one school holidays, my friends and I were fishing in the Gold Pond. We planned to spend the whole day there. While we were fishing, a friend known as Beng leaned on a boulder beside the pond to rest.

After an hour or so, I saw Beng waved his hands and I thought he was fooling around. But after a while, he waved his hands more vigorously at the same time, his body started to slide into the water as if being pulled by an invisible force. So I called my other companions hurried to Beng’s location and finally managed to pull him out from the water. According to Beng, while was sleeping; he saw a shadow pressed onto his body and he couldn’t move. Slowly there was a force pulling his legs into the water. Luckily both of his hands were free to wave at us; otherwise perhaps Beng had already become a member of the water ghost family by now.

In another case, a cousin of mine suddenly fell face down into the water while he squat himself to collect some water to water the young durian plants. Luckily, my uncle was not far away and managed to revive him. According to this cousin of mine, as he was squatting; he felt an invisible force pushed him from the back. As he was falling face down, another pair of invisible hands was trying to push his face into the water. The force suddenly vanished on the approach of my uncle and his hunting hounds.

Since those strange incidents, the adults have banned the kids to approach the Gold Pond without companions. I had not approach the Gold Pond since my family moved to Taiping and perhaps the poor souls still haunt the pond as of today. 

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