Sunday, November 6, 2016

Midnight Ghost Talks (四人夜话)

Do you believe that when I say not only human beings like to listen to ghost stories; the ghosts too like to listen to ghost stories!

My old college mates and I altogether foul guys met for the first time after we left our college for almost 20 years. So we arranged for a small barbecue gathering in Chong’s banana plantation; nothing too formal suffice one night to catch up our lost times. There were only four of us, Chong, Lee, Roy and me attended that short gathering which started at about 7pm. After rounds of chatting, eating and drinking; almost everyone felt filled up to the throat. Sensing the eating was slowing down, Chong suggested we gather together to talk about our missing years.

That piece of banana plantation was our hideout during our college time where we slept and fish at a stream that flowed through the middle of the plantation. I once saw a banana spirit bathing in that stream but that was a long time ago. So said, we started to talk amongst ourselves about our individual developments, ups and downs. Soon, it approached midnight and perhaps we have talked what we need to talk; there was a long silence…

Since we all made a pledge that no one should leave the banana plantation which was just behind Chong’s house, Roy suggested that each of us start talking ghost stories. First was to chill out hot tropical night in May, then and again; all of us knew that we all liked hearing ghost stories ourselves. Before we begun, Chong laid down a rule: no one should talk about the beautiful banana spirit in his plantation since we all heard the story being told and retold many times.

Lee started the ball rolling:

“My dad owned an old saw mill in Kampar and I used to help him managed the saw mill. Prior to Chinese New Year, it was a customary practice for traditional Chinese company to pay the workers two month’s pay in advance for the workers to celebrate their new year. After the pay day, the saw mill shall normally be shut for half a month or so until the last day of Chinese New Year.

A supervisor, Hock received his pay and instead of returning to his family, he went to Genting Highland casino to gamble until he was penniless. Felling shameful, Hock returned to the saw mill and hung himself there. Unfortunately speaking, due to the extremely long holiday, when everyone returned to the saw mill to resume working; Hock highly decayed decapitated body was found on the floor. Apparently, his head was separated along with the decay of his flesh.

The saw mill started to be haunted by Hock’s restless ghost and workers were afraid of returning to work. Soon, my dad had to close the saw mill down and moved the operation to Sabah. Later, a youth sneaked into the saw mill but he never came out. His parents came to my dad to open the saw mill gate to look for the lad. And, that lad too was found hung himself at the same spot where Hock was once hung there…”

Roy continued:

“My old house back in Matang was the battlefield between two underground society: Yee Hin and Hai Shan more than a century ago. The old temple behind my house was built by Yee Hin group and that place was the execution area for Hai Shan prisoners. The Yee Hin group had a very cruel way of killing their prisoners at that time: first, the Yee Hin flag would be put on the ground and those Hai Shan followers to be executed would be asked to kneel down facing the Yee Hin flag, then the Yee Hin executioners would use a piece of sharpened bamboo to pierce into the throat of Hai Shan people and let their blood flow onto the Yee Hin flag. This was called ‘flag sacrificial’.

I don’t know how many casualties were there during the Larut Matang Civil War, but during full moon; those restless spirits of Hai Shan followers would roam around the old datuk shrine. Witnesses claimed to have seen those spirits appeared with a piece of bamboo stuck at their throats…”

Chong said:

“There was no datuk shrine at the back of my house as you all probably know. One evening, my Myanmar worker passed through the back of my house and he suddenly saw a tall old man with long beard in white looking at him and said that he wanted a shrine to be built at that location. While the tall old man was speaking, he used his long index finger to point at the location where the current shrine is. Or else bad thing will occur.

The worker was a brave man and he wasn’t too superstitious either, so he shouted four letter words at the old man and the figure suddenly disappeared. My worker did tell me the incident and I thought I would set up the shrine later since my mom also saw the same white figure at night.

Normally my workers don’t work on Sunday, the bad thing is that when they don’t work; they like to drink. And when a few of them got drunk, you could almost smell trouble. Likewise, on that day, a few of my workers got drunk and involved in a fight. And, that particular Burmese worker was killed over $5.

Though people said the worker asked for it, I believed that it was the doing of the old man in white. So, I quickly set up the shrine and no more strange things happened ever since.

Finally, it was my turn. When I was saying: “You know there is a way to put a banana spirit into a bottle…” A disembodied voice came from a far: “LIEW, YOU SHOULD NOT SPEAK ABOUT THIS!!”

All of us looked at each other and we all decided to retreat into the house and spent the night. No one wanted to venture outside until day breaks…

As we were hurried into the house, I said: “If you want to know my ghost stories, please check out my MagicSEA blog!!”

I can assure you that the voice was heard by all four of us and my story was voted the best, just a joke of course.

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