Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hantu Jepun!

While writing about my teachers in the previous entry, the image of 'White House' came to mind. 'White House' is Batu Pahat High School's administration block, built in 1919 and is quite an imposing building. I remember stories of ghostly footsteps and screams heard in the building. Now, IIRC the building was used as the Japanese Kempeitai office during World War 2 and there is evidence of a battle at the school ground at that time. The main flagpole bore the enter- and exit- holes from a bullet ( I guess the British .303 rather than the weaker 6.5mm rounds used in the Japanese Type 38 rifle).

White House was just one place of a number of places which were considered haunted by the ghosts of war. Nearly every town (schools especially) have tales of eerie sounds of moans, screams, battle sounds and spectral visions of headless and bloody soldiers be it the Japanese or the Allies. Places include all former Kempeitai offices, battlefield burial grounds and former battlefields like Muar-Bakri, Parit Sulong, Slim River and on Singapore Island.

Actually I find it curious that these 'battlefield ghosts' are mainly related to the Japanese occupation of South East Asia. There are plenty of such stories in Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia. I'm not sure whether similar stories are part of the folklore of the Marianas, Palau, Truk, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

On the other hand, my search on the internet finds virtually no mention of former battlefields haunted by ghosts - be it the Normandy beaches, Arnhem, Berlin, Stalingrad, Kursk or Dunkirk...However older battlefields such as Gettysburg, Antietam and Agincourt do have numerous ghost stories...I wonder why?

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