September 01, 2009

Do you believe in ghost?

“Do you believe in ghost? … my schoolmate asked me while we were having our break at the school’s tuckshop when I was in 3rd year primary school. Honestly, my English vocabulary at that time wasn’t that great and I have absolutely no idea what ghost means. But not wanting to “lose face” and admit that I don’t know what he is talking about, I answered almost straight away: “Of course, I have three in my house”. From that day onwards, I noticed that he kept avoiding me. I only knew why some days later when I found out the meaning of ghost and that I actually scared the wits out of him. He really thought I lived with three ghosts.

So why am I talking about ghost? Well, it is the time of the year … the 7th month of the Chinese calendar, when the Chinese observe the Ghost Festival on the 14th day of this month (which falls on the 2nd of September). It is the day when the gates of hell will be opened and the beings of the netherworld will roam the streets for the night. If you have noticed, most channels on TV are already showing ghost movies and scary strange stories. I thought I might as well ride on the same band wagon and share my thoughts on these unearthly beings.

So do I believe in ghosts? I can’t say so. I believe there is something out there, whether one calls it a ghost, a soul, a spirit or whatever you want to call it. You may not necessary see them but sometimes you can feel them, smell them and sense that there are around. I believe there is something because I have actually experienced it once.

My one time experience with these things was in the early 90s when I was working with an American company. As I remember it, I have to stay back late in the office to finish up the work with my boss. I can’t remember if there was anyone else in the office besides the two of us. We were about to wrap things up when my boss walked pass my cubicle as he was going to the washroom. I was busy packing up things when my boss passed my cubicle again going back to his room. I then notice that there were two fair complexion guys wearing yellowish dothi (Indian clothing) type clothing following him. At a glance, the two guys seem a bit odd but I thought they were his friends and continue to pack up my things getting ready to leave the office. Later my boss came out from his room and asked me if I am ready to leave the office. I said I am ready to go and then I asked him what about his two friends. He was a bit startled and asked me what I was talking about. It was only then it struck me that something was not right. I told him I saw two guys followed him into his room. Immediately we knew there was something strange. Without further conversation, we left the office. I drove straight home. I did not know how I managed to do it with my legs trembling like crazy. It did not get any better until the next day.

So, did I see ghosts? Apparently not, I was told later that the two guys I saw were actually some sort of “soldiers”. They were summoned via a Chinese belief which is widely practised by many business entities to provide certain “services”. There was really nothing to be afraid of. Whatever it is, a ghost, a soul or a spirit, it is up to you to believe. Anyway, I didn’t stay late in the office anymore.

A friend of mine has what we call “yum yeong ngan” in Cantonese (yin and yang eyes). He is able to see these unearthly "things" or "beings". I heard a lot of very strange stories from him. He told me that if you really want to see these unearthly beings, you can. When you are alone, in a hotel room or a cinema toilet or some spooky places, you can sense, feel or smell that something is present. You may even catch a glimpse of it at the corner of your eyes. These beings will always avoid contact with human but if you are curious enough to seek them out, purposely look around and follow their trail, then they won’t avoid you. They will appear. So if you don’t want to see any of these beings, it is better to just ignore it, he advised.

I have heard a lot of ghost stories. If you ask me what is my view, I repeat what I said earlier … call it whatever you want … ghosts, ghouls, spirits, souls, demons or pontianaks, I believe there is something out there. Am I scared of them? Oh YES of course and I will avoid them. But then again I remember what my dad once said: "Why should you be scared of the things from the netherworld? Are they really trying to harm you? You should be more afraid of the living, smiling people of your own world who may be sitting next to you now, already scheming up something sinister".