At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Sunday, July 06, 2014


From Loyang Avenue to Changi Prison, where it becomes Tanah Merah Besar, Old Tampines Road inspires a minor amount of insanity. The reason being that it's supposed to be haunted. Which is not surprising, as years ago the area was very ulu, and of course a prison always has negative associations.

Except that Old Tampines Road isn't old Tampines road -- that's actually from Serangoon Road to Sungei Serangoon, near Hougang.
Also haunted, but different source stories.

Either way, koh tai and snack food, seventh month.

Eastern part of island.


Lam Lo-pak told me that Hoklo (Fujianese) and Malays were "all superstitious, lah, silly buggers", and his attitude was that intelligent people had nothing to fear. And those stories about spectral women passengers suddenly appearing in the back seat and scaring the bejazus out of motorists late at night were just the effect of bad liquor on weak minds.

Except for the Japanese head; that one was quite true. During the war, a Japanese army captain had studied black magic and acquired dangerous powers. When he was ambushed, his head was cut off. Which then flew into the sky and disappeared; for years afterwards it came in through open windows late at night, with long shreddy vestiges of internal organs dangling underneath leaving bloody specks on window sills and furniture as evidence of its visit, and tried sucking blood out of sleeping people. All over Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia there are stories about such creatures -- known as pontianak, usually women who died in childbirth, or witches who can leave their bodies sitting upright while their head travels long distances, and suwangi, who are flesh-eaters and vampires -- but most of them, almost all, were just stupid Malays and Hokkiens talking cock.
Captain Yurei, however, really existed.
Lam lo-pak had seen him.

He said that Captain Yurei was particularly associated with the intersection of Tanah Merah Besar and Upper Changi. Because, of course, the prison had been a very bad place during the war.

He didn't fear ghosts or returning spirits. But he would not go there.
Because it is best to avoid the undead.
Who are neither.

There used to be tall trunks and dense undergrowth along Old Tampines Road and at the eastern end of Singapore Island. Now there are housing developments, and rows of pretty trees planted for shade.
It has become densely populated.
No longer empty.

But there are still spirits hiding among the growths of Ironwood.
Occasionally they cause traffic accidents.
Or chop off heads.

I have no reason to believe that Lam Lo-pak was an alcoholic, or ever indulged in cheap liquor.
He was a very sober man, very rational.
With a straight face.

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