B For Bravo
During my younger days when I was still a secondary student I stayed in Bukit Merah area which has a lot of Chinese temple activities most of the time. I was a member of the Singapore Boy’s Brigade and therefore I was required to attend church service on every Sunday. Not only that, because my English was weaker, I chose bible study as my religion subject in school so that I could improve my English with more English lesson. Despite my rojak religious environment I never take religion seriously. Beside going to school, I spent most of my time with a group of pig friends dog mates. One of my dog mate was Jack, his home is a Chinese temple and his father is a medium. Sometimes when his temple needed manpower to play drum, we would be mobilized to take up the role. Among us, there were Muslim and catholic friends but they won’t really care. We were all doing it only out of fun and for companionship.
I’m closer to Jack because we attended the same secondary school. Because of his family back ground, Jack can see, hear and feel spiritual around him. He knew I can’t and therefore he never want to frighten me and would only tell me after we were away from the scene. I remember one incident happened inside the lift of his flat. Jack and I were on our way to his home after school to fold incense papers for his temple’s festival. Just when we were walking out of the lift, jack asked â??did you see something?â? I replied â??see what?â? Jack whispered this in my ear while walking towards his home â??a man wearing a white long sleeve shirt standing at the rear of the lift looking on the floor.â? Hmmmâ?¦I don’t remember seeing anyone inside the lift beside both of us. Anyway, I dare not to use that lift when I was going back from Jack’s home that night and I never use it alone again.
Coincidentally, Jack and I were enlisted to the same unit, same platoon and sharing the same bunk in the army. Our unit was 30th SCE and it was located in the Khatib Camp in Yishun before the unit was moved to Jurong later. Discipline was highly demanded even when we were just a recruit because we would be trained to handle explosive after we passed-out. And because of our tough training we were going through during the day, all the recruits were required to attend water parade, putting a mug full of plain water into our stomach before we go to bed. This is to prevent us from getting dehydration from the tough training the next day. However, due to the mug of water, we usually have to wake up in the middle of the night for the toilet. Because of our tough disciplinary training, we were not allowed to walk in the unit. We must jog to make us move with sense of urgency. Not only that, we were required to greet and ask permission before we passed every officer or corporal on our way. So one morning, as usual, i woke up in the middle of my sleep dragging my tired feet jogging toward the damn bloody far toilet situated right at the far end of the corridor. I passed through many other dark bunks with only sound of pig’s snoring like an orchestra along the corridor before I realized I came to an officer wearing a white shirt standing outside a bunk with his back facing me. Although I was very tight at that time, I still managed to stop to greet him and asked for permission to pass-by. He remain silent, no answer from him and he remain facing at the glass vision panel on the bunk’s door. I thought since he is not looking at me, why not I just run across him and most likely he won’t know was me. So, to save some time for sleeping, I simply run acrossed and went for my business. Few minutes later when I came out, he was gone from a long corridor that has only an exit staircase beside the toilet I was using. But I don’t remember I hear any foot step sound walking past the toilet while I was using. But anyway, I was too tired with the training and anything imaginative would not crossed my mind then. I thought – Whew! Lucky that the officer did not wait for me outside, if not I might be punished for not asking for permission to pass-by him.
The next day, while we were having a short break in between training out in the field, I broke the incident I came across in the morning to my platoon mates. I said â??hey hey, you guys better watch-out, I saw an officer standing outside section one’s bunk trying to catch some monkeys smoking when I was going to the toilet this morning?. Our conversation was later over heard by a corporal who was quite closed to us. He asked me â??did you remember any of our white shirts in our unit has no logo?â? Yes, all of our unit t-shirt comes with a polar bear logo behind except the one I saw this morning. Now, the corporal reminded me something. The corporal must have known something we don’t know. What the hell, how am I going to release my water from my bladder this morning after hearing this!!!!???
As usual, we went to bed after the water parade. But tonight, I have a deal with Jack, I will wake him up to go with me if I got the call from my bladder in the morning. I scare mah! So that morning, I wake him up to attend the call with me. The sound of pig’s snoring was business as usual but the officer in white shirt was not there. Anyway, this was going on for the next few days without anything strange happened.
One Sunday evening, while we were gathering around a table in our bunk after we had tidy up our cupboard from the weekend break. Jack suggested something very constructive. He suggested that we play – plate on the paper game â??Die Xianâ?? ç¢?ä»? inside the bunk to see if spiritual really exists in our company. Everyone in the platoon knows the background of Jack because sometime Jack ask to excuse for attending urgent matter in his temple (Geng One lah). We were not prepared for the game in advance therefore we didn’t prepare an original â??Die Xianâ?? ç¢?ä»? from the Chinese book store. However, we use a 50 cents coin and a piece of plain paper to draft words from A – Z and numbers 0 â?? 9 onto it. We have at least about 20 platoon mates inside our bunk now but only 4 players were required for the game. Jack, me, Ken and an Indian name Kuma. All 4 of us placed our middle finger on the 50 cents coin. We were then instructed by Jack to read our name out one by one while moving the coin with our fingers onto it in circular motion on the plain paper. After 4 of us had read out our name, Jack asked the first question. He asked â??any soul around â?? æ??çµé?å?¨å? ?â? The coin went round and round and suddenly it stopped at 2. Everybody start cursing at each other for moving the coin intentionally. Well whether was intentionally or not, nobody know but one thing for sure is Jack started to hear foot steps sound coming toward our direction but never reached. I was told by Jack later after the game that the sound of the foot step he heard was very strange. Why strange? Because it was sound of someone walking with a pair of boots, army boots! Who would wear an army boots on a Sunday evening? No, everyone was wearing slippers when we were playing that game in our bunk. With the unusual silent from all the spectators eyeing on the coin plus the weird questions, it does attribute some spooky atmosphere in the bunk. The second question Jack asked â??Male or female?â? The coin moved to – male. Jack asked â??How old are u?â? The coin moved to â?? B. Jack asked â??What is your name?â? The coin moved a round and come back to â?? B again. This thing went on with irrelevant answers for awhile before we decided to call off the game. By the way, up to this point we were not told of any strange thing from any of our senior pertaining to our unit. So, whether was there a spirit or 2 spirits was still a question mark to me and Jack. But Jack was convinced that there is at least a spirit in our company judging from the foot steps sound he heard earlier. So, Jack decided to make his own investigation. His own because I would not followed.
Anyway, the whole thing came to light after Jack met face to face with the spirit in the toilet that morning. Jack is a season ghost hunter and he believe doing thing like this is to help clear the resentment from a soul and is considered doing a good deed and since he is one of the few that can be closer to the spirits, he chose not to hide but extend his helping hand to the lost soul if he is needed. Well, the following was what happened to Jack on that fateful morning.
Although all of us have gone back to our own bed after the game, Jack’s mind was still lingering with the moment of the boot’s step sound. Just when he was about to take-off to his dreamland, he heard someone moaning very softly from outside the bunk. He walked out of the bunk to check the sound. He noticed that the sound was coming from the direction of the toilet. He walked along the dark corridor towards the toilet unarmed. He saw a man in white shirt with his back facing him standing at the corner inside the toilet. Jack walked to him and starts talking to him. Anyway, Jack already knew who he is at this point. Jack was told that he has no food, no shirt and has no â??moneyâ?? to use. So, out of sympathy and goodwill, Jack promised him that we will do something for him if only the unit allowed us to do our prayer inside the camp. And Jack also asked him not to come back after he got what he wanted.
Well, this piece of news was spread very fast like a SARS in our unit the next morning. Even officers from the other company came to see Jack for interview. Why? Because there was actually an accident happened to a man from Bravo Company about a year ago before our enlistment. Anyone from Bravo in 1985 â?? 1987 should know the story very well. I was from Charlie company. Remember the â??Die Xianâ?? ç¢?ä»? ? The coin was stopped twice at â?? B and once at 2? B is Bravo and 2 is the floor level for Bravo Company. Coincident or what, i dont know, you make your own judgment. Anyway, before Bravo Company go ORD, they were mobilized to take part in one of the few major exercises and it was to build a Battalion Command Post out in the field over night. Although excavators were used to do the dredger of the post but many other things which couldn’t be reached by the machine would have to be done by men. The fatal accident happened after the end of exercise when all the soldiers were already very exhausted with the training and the restless night in the next morning. Some of the soldiers were happily resting inside the already done 12 feet deep BCP while waiting for their breakfast that morning, one of the excavator operator had his breakfast before the other and thus he went and start his machine thinking that he can finish his job earlier so that he can rest earlier. He used his machine to doze a pile of soil into the BCP without first checking if any soldier inside. Unfortunately, 2 soldiers were dozing off below that spot. They were buddies. One was awaken by the small falling stones before the pile of soil and managed to jump out. He tried to pull his buddy by the SBO but was too late. His buddy was covered completely from the pile of soil. Everybody there starts using their hands to remove the covered soil furiously. By the time he was pulled out, he had died from suffocation inside the soil. This piece of news was been published on the news paper sometime in 1987.
Anyway, whether the spirit that Jack last spoken to in our toilet was that the Bravo man or not, no one know. And we would never know because we never see him again after we had done the prayer for him inside the camp. And Jack is still my good friend and for your info, he is a medium now.