Borneo Bulletin last Sunday had a story about ghostly tales in Brunei - especially of ghosts and spirits moving into vacant houses. Tales about 'spirits wandering' at Kampung Perpindahan Lambak Kanan and in Rimba. Some of the more favoured spots - ghostly hot spots - are said to be the coastal highway road, banyan trees, fishing ponds, beaches and at a school. BB reported the usual claim to be a ghostly lady floating and dressed in a white cloth, or hovering and headless or appearing in black with red eyes.
I have never seen one and neither do I wish to see one either regardless of whether I believe in it or otherwise. But there are sometimes convincing arguments and I have to say that it maybe as equally hard trying to disprove them as it is to prove them. I have heard tales about the spirits and ghostly figures ever since I was a tiny little boy. Some of them told first hand by some of my relatives and friends and some I have come across but never really saw.
The coastal highway is a favourite place for sightings. One wonders whether it is due to the tricks of the eyes - eyes strained for driving too long - or whether there is something out there. In the older days before the highway, the road to Belait was just a small road passing through among others the Pasir Puteh area. My aunty told me that once when she, my uncle and her whole family was on the way back to Seria, quite late at night, they saw someone waved at the road side and by the time they got nearer, the figure (as usual ghostly white lady) stood in front of the road and they could not stop but went through her! When they looked back, that figure was no longer there.
Another famous road place is the Jalan Tutong in front of the Damuan Park. In fact, the Damuan Park itself especially the area towards the further end (where they put up all the tractors etc) is to be avoided once the sun has set. But the road in front of it has caused so many accidents. I personally once saw two cars suddenly swerving and ended up on top of the crash barrier. I could not see why the two cars swerved but if you were to asked the drivers, I would say they saw 'something' and they wanted to avoid 'it'. My uncle used to tell me stories that if you passed by that area in the older days especially during dusk, make sure you do not have any fresh meat in your car otherwise you will hear someone crunching on them.
My late grandfather used to tell me a story about one time when he went to the cemetery to read the yassin at my late grandmother's grave quite late one afternoon, he overheard voices that say 'ada orang datang' loosely translated as 'there is someone coming'. He could not find anyone but he said he definitely heard those voices. He said spirits talked in the nether world just like we do in the physical world and occassionally we hear them.
My driver told me a tale about a group of youths who went to have a pee near the Maragang Beach and they must have peed on something. Something came out and chase them all the way out to the car and followed the car even when the car was already on the highway and the people in the car racing away fearing for their lives.
There are many places and tales like these in Brunei. The Royal Brunei Golf and Country Club and the Empire Hotel Golf Club are two such places where balls have been known to be on the fairway disappeared when you get to where you saw them. Tales about golf clubs being 'borrowed' and returned to your bag or returned to a prominent place some holes away has also made the rounds. Last Monday night when I was playing there - even though I did not see anything, with the full moon, it was a bit unnerving playing in the open and with tall trees in the jungle next to you. Talk about trees - one famous tree is a tall tree at the end of the bailey bridge at Jalan Bebatik-Kilanas is said to be making life a bit harder to the contractor who is upgrading that bridge as it seems to have a 'protector'. Sometimes, one wonder about such stories. But I am sure that blogreaders would have mountains of stories to share.