Ghostly Meanderings

I am terrified of ghosts,perhaps, because I have an imagination. I have never seen one. I avoid reading about them too. When I was a kid and someone wanted to tell a ghost story,I would put my fingers into my ears and shout, drowning all sounds…let me assure you a most effective way of shutting out anything you do not want to hear. Of course,if my sons dared do that, they would be given much to think about.
When I moved to Singapore, I thought I had left all ghostly things behind as it was such a new country…
But I was wrong.
Singapore has it’s own romance with ghosts. In August,Taoists burn paper to appease hungry ghosts.When we were house hunting,our house agent informed us quite seriously that roads are not built straight so that ghosts don’t find their way to homes. The conclusion being, there are ghosts and ghosts do not take meandering pathways. I noticed houses at the end of a straight road were priced lower. And, now,there is this vast majority of literature about ghosts, poems and stories, written and printed locally. It has the nomenclature of dark literature. I have never dared to touch it for the fear of the unknown.
When my son went into training for National Service,(every child born here needs to serve the nation for two years before going to university)we found out that the academy was next to a graveyard. Many trainee national servicemen had evidently noticed paranormal activities,I had heard.Though, we were assured in a talk given to parents that there are no ghosts. My friend’s friend’s son had professed to see some such paranormal stuff.Of course, the unimaginative and prosaic could dismiss it as “hallucination due to exhaustion and fear”.
Then one weekend my son came home and told us a “ghost” story.
He used to wake up at 4 am and get ready for the day by 5 am. It was his task to see people were up. One night, he had a bad dream…he dreamt he woke up at six in the morning and their whole platoon was given a zillion push ups for it as a punishment. He woke up in cold sweat and stumbled across the dark room in search of the clock. Suddenly,one of the boys sat up on his bed, closed his eyes and started praying. He prayed and prayed with his eyes closed till my son returned to his bed and fell asleep, reassured that it was still night and he had had a nightmare. The other trainee continued to pray.
The next morning, the trainee ,who spent a large part of the night praying,went up to the instructors and said he had had a sighting. For some absurd reason, the instructor asked my son if he had been walking around the room at night. When my son,responded in the affirmative, the instructors shook their heads and we had a laugh.
The boy,who had the sighting, however, continued to assert it was a ghost and not his batchmate!
To be or not to be, that is the question…as the great bard would say…
I continue to fear the paranormal…have no desire to meet, to greet or to eat with them…with all due respect to beings of the other world, I rest my pen….forever hoping to maintain a distance from them.

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