Bus Ride to Malaysia
My uncle’s Malaysian – this meant that trips to Malaysia was very frequent and nothing to be fascinated about. A few ten dollars would land you a one-stop bus ride to Kuala Lumpur, and this happens quite often because our relatives live there and we work here in Singapore.
Last year, he decided to take a bus ride on the fourth day after the ‘Hell Gates’ opened in August. I would reiterate that this is commonplace, and that there were several rides to-and-fro every other day.
Of course, we’ve heard of life-threatening news and would always advise him to avoid night rides as much as possible – and he would likewise tell us that it’s the most economical and time-efficient. He was always rational and while it made sense, we agreed to disagree that it simply came with more risks. And he was okay with that.
He took a night-rider last year. And he said it was almost a full bus of passengers. He even sent a selfie before he fell asleep to our group chat. Most of us didn’t even see it till morning – it was 1.30am afterall.
The Bus Ride Was Fine… Until
At about 3.20am in the morning, the bus ran into the side roads and flipped over. My uncle sat in the middle, nearer to the lower deck of the bus. We believed this aided in his survival. But it wasn’t the case for many in the upper deck, he said. He shared with us that there were people in the back and front of him that did not make it as well.
My uncle had superficial scratches and a few, serious bruises. But he was largely fine from the impact somehow. He wasn’t certain where the accident happened exactly in Malaysia, or how it happened but he knew the roads were quiet, there were little lights and that the driver did not make it.
The hardest part wasn’t getting out of the bus, it was getting help to us.
Help didn’t arrive till close to an hour later. It was such a freak incident – there were people who were bleeding out and fatally injured. The inaccessibility to immediate life support cut so many lives short. And there were too many cars that slowed down, only to continue accelerating round the bends. They didn’t care – it wasn’t their problem. And they didn’t intend to make it theirs.
My Uncle Started Hearing Voices and Seeing Things
It’s safe to say my uncle was largely fine. He had a few injuries but he also started hearing whispers in his ears when he commutes to work. We only found out after we noticed that he picked up the habit of listening to music. When we asked, he said that he now hears voices out of the blue. It’s not 24/7. It’s not every bus ride or train he takes. But when it comes, it just does.
These voices ask him “why”. They come in small hisses that are sometimes inaudible. And he has tried praying – going to the temples – trying different religious beings and institutions. They never really stopped. Perhaps it’s psychological, or maybe it’s his subconscious, but he also starts to see figures at night. Such that he now tries to stay home anytime past 7pm.
To our knowledge, this hasn’t gone away, just yet anyways. It’s been a year and he jokes of it a little, but we see his little quirks and habits that he has accustomed to after the accident. He no longer takes the night-rider – that’s for sure. And he almost never turns out for evening plans at ours’ anymore – we take it to his place instead.
My siblings sometimes think it was blew up a little more than it was and that our uncle’s fine, but our father would tell us that he’s doing his best to put it together for our cousins. Which made perfect sense.
He’s Offering A Few Pieces of Advice This Ghost Festival
He’s become very spiritual and religious, and is now an avid Buddhist. He doesn’t force it upon anyone but has since found his own community of Buddhists who hold monthly ceremonies and prayer sessions together. And we’ve seen him come out of his shell a little since the accident.
Just last month, we celebrated his birthday together. And he warned us about the coming ‘Ghost Festival’ and told us to keep to ourselves this year. He shared that spirits roam our streets daily but are rampant this month. And there are things to specifically avoid if we want to keep safe. I’m now sharing them across with you:
- Refrain from Whistling or Singing: They like it, he says. And if they latch onto you, they might just join in.
- Don’t Wear Bright Red or Black Clothes: These are their favourite colours, and what they’ll first notice.
- Avoid Walking Alone at Night: Whenever possible, walk with others. It’s simply harder for them in groups.
- Avoid Showering at Night: He says many types of spirits lurk near water bodies, so it’s best to avoid them in general after dark.
- Refrain from Taking Photos at Night: Selfies included. It’s easier for them to make their ways into your photos, then your life.
These are some of the more relevant ones. It’s definitely spooky but I’ve always liked to play safe. I am definitely keeping to myself largely this ‘Ghost Festival’ – and I hope you do too.
Even if you’re not superstitious, I hope our community stays safe and respectful this month. My uncle has since started performing rituals for distressed people in Singapore as a side hustle. Stay tuned for my sharing on his encounters next week.
Have you ever been involved in any freak accidents? Share your story with us below.