Journal – October 26-27

Journal - October 26-27




I’m so grateful for home cleaning services!

Scaredy Cat

Recently, I had the brilliant idea to read all of Stephen King’s novels in chronological order. I want to enjoy the rich connections amongst all his books, plus I love his characterisation.

I’ve finished Carrie and am now on ‘Salem’s Lot. And I’m having second thoughts. I seemed to have forgotten that I can’t deal with creepy haunted house horror!

So I don’t know what to do. I’m scared to read it now, and I know there are more titles like it. But I hate giving up the idea!

Ladybird Update

Ladybird update: (ref. Oct 21 / Oct 24)

(Friday) Ted the dad is missing!
(Saturday) Ted is back! So far I have yet to see the girls move.

Obviously I don’t know their gender so I’m making it up. The red ones are the girls and the black ones are the boys!

Today’s Exercise

Dan from the garage came looking for Piers and I had to leave him at the door and run all the way to the garden to get him. He was at the far end, too, trimming the hedge, so he couldn’t hear me shouting!


If you like my daily posts, consider following me on Instagram and Facebook. Thank you for reading!



An embarrassing purchase

Still in the spirit of nostalgia, I did something mildly embarrassing last night.

I went to Borders and bought three teenage novels.

Teenage novels

Well, in defence of my honour, I didn’t set out to buy these teen novels, or any teen novels, for the matter.

I was at Parkway Parade waiting for the Goonfather to show up for dinner. I had about 10 minutes to kill, so I decided to use a $20 Borders gift card which had been in my possession for 15 months. (I can’t even find a picture of the old card on the Internet anymore.)

Borders Gift Card

(To digress a bit, the reason I’d left the gift card sitting in my wallet for 15 months is because I seldom go to Borders; my bookstores of choice are Kinokuniya and Amazon. Plus the fact that $20 is, like, one book, which doesn’t exactly make me want to rush to the store immediately.)

I walked into Borders and checked out the “3 For 2” display shelves. They were filled to the brim with teenage novels.

Teenage novels

So, it’s not like it’s my fault I ended up with the books I did!

I browsed every title carefully, hoping to find an un-teenage novel hiding somewhere among the piles. And that was when I saw this book, which hit me with a thick blast of nostalgia.

Horror High - Toxic Beauty

I used to love reading teenage supernatural horror books. I even once tried writing one myself, when I was about 11. I didn’t get very far with that endeavour.

Smiling at the memory of my youthly folly, I turned the book over and read the blurb.

Starting a new school is hard enough, but Bethany has never felt more plain and ordinary. She’d give anything to be popular, beautiful and clever.

When a mysterious man offers to make all of Bethany’s wildest dreams come true, she jumps at the chance. But she doesn’t realize that beauty comes with a price…

Not exactly the most creative plot in the world but I love “deals with the devil” stories. I’ve always held a keen fascination for the occult and can’t get tired of reading all the different ways people get enticed by promises of fame, riches, talent and looks, never realising the doom that lurks before them.

On a whim, I decided to buy this book, even though it had all of 200 words in large fonts and double spacing, written in a language style that makes me and want roll my eyes and smile indulgently.

As I continued browsing, the next book hit me with its pinkness.

Princess Academy

It reminded me of The Princess Diaries, which I enjoyed maybe three books of and then outgrew before the further sequels were published.

Since I was in the mood to be nostalgic, I experienced a what-the-heck moment. Looking left and right furtively to make sure no one could see me trying to buy this childish pink book, I added it to the growing pile of embarrassment in my right hand.


One more book to find.

Because good things come in threes, and we must always be mindful of old, wise sayings, I didn’t doubt that the third book I was going to pick up would be a teenagely one.

Probably in anticipation of Halloween, the “3 For 2” shelves are now full of vampire books. Maybe, like many teenagers then and now, I used to wish a handsome vampire would bite me so I could rule the night with him eternally.


I kind of outgrew that some time back, but I recently watched Twilight and, suddenly, vampires became somewhat appealing again.

I considered buying the Twilight sequel, but watching the movie actually gave me heartache and I didn’t feel like dealing with heartache at the moment.

I picked this one, instead, the first in a series of currently four books.

Vampire Academy

Besides vampires and the occult, I also loved boarding school books. I practically read my Enid Blyton “The Naughtiest Girl in the School” series to death. Like about 20 times each.

Thinking about the books now gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling.

The Naughtiest Girl in the School

I love reading school stories. Doesn’t have to be boarding school. I guess I just love school. I hated growing up and not being able to go to school anymore.

I’ve always harboured this thought that, when I’m 50 or 60, I’d go back to university and learn all the things I still haven’t learned by then. It would be such a wondrous way to spend the rest of my life.

I was inspired to this thought by a charming granny who was in my Philosophy class at uni.


So, anyway, I bought the three books with a faint prickle on my cheeks (from embarrassment and, maybe, a bit of eager anticipation).

When the Goonfather arrived, I blamed him for making me spend money on stupid teenage novels. (After the $20 offset, I still had to pay $18. Freaking books are too expensive these days.)

The Goonfather gave me a WTF look as he always does when I blame him unreasonably.

And before I could extort money from him to cover for my impulse book purchases, I ended up paying for dinner ($76) because I had the right credit card to get a discount.


And all because I had played Sushido the night before and gotten a sushi craving.


But that’s another story, I guess.

Ghosts are in the air… this month

I never used to know (or care) when the Hungry Ghost Month came unless someone specifically bugged me about it.

“Be careful when you go home tonight, there are ghosts wandering about.”

“Be careful in the toilet, don’t talk to anyone in there in case they’re a… you know…”

“Don’t look now, but I think there’s someone behind you…”

I hate you people. Go scare someone else.

I’d been scared to death of ghosts since watching The Ring in 1999, refusing thereafter to watch another horror film or listen to anymore ghost stories.

But the good news is that I kind of lost this irrational fear after (ironically) starring in a horror short film last year.

My director Jon made me watch several Japanese and Korean horror films for research and I survived those and the filming. I felt reborn after that. I could watch horror films again!

Otherwise, I would not have attended the screening of A Month of Hungry Ghosts last night.

I’m really glad I did now. The screening was part of the Golden Village Blog Aloud series, in which audiences get to interact with film directors and ask them questions about the film.

Of course, I only found out during the show that A Month of Hungry Ghosts isn’t exactly a horror film. It’s a documentary of the rituals and lives of very interesting individuals for whom the seventh lunar month is particularly significant.

There’s a touching account of a woman who has lost both parents and a son, so she religiously burns offerings for them every year.

There’s a young and pretty getai singer who’s been performing for spirits during the seventh month since she was six, whose parents have turned her getai singing career into a family business.

There’s an old wayang (Chinese opera) matron who relates anecdotes of her profession and her encounters with spirits during the seventh month.

The film crew also followed SPI investigators into sinister discoveries.

In the 99-minute documentary, you will be touched by the tales of these people and you will develop a new respect for this age-old Chinese tradition which you’ve always conveniently brushed off as a silly and annoying superstition.

One tale which particularly haunted me was of this woman who unknowingly placed her infant son on a table used to offer food to spirits duing the ghost month.

The next day, the baby’s body turned black and he died. Apparently, the spirits thought that her son was a sacrifice. Actual documented photos of this are shown in the film.

I cannot recommend this film enough.

I didn’t find it scary. Some parts are maybe kind of eerie, but I would use the words interesting, shocking, touching, delightful and inspiring to describe the film.

I was at first disappointed because I was expecting to be scared, since we were watching it on the first day of the Hungry Ghost Month, the day when the gates of hell are opened and all manner of spirits are allowed to roam our land among us uncontested.

But then, I was quickly drawn into the colourful narratives which revealed a wealth of information and surprises that my mind hungrily feasted on.

The Goonfather was simliary impressed and fixated on the film, although that didn’t stop him from trying to scare me halfway through.

There was a scene in which wayang and getai professionals explain why they always leave the front-row seats empty during performances.

The seats are for the “good brothers”, they say earnestly.

Apparently, if the seats aren’t kept empty, things always go awry during the performance.

At this point of time, the Goonfather leaned over to whisper to me, “The seats in the front row are empty. Got ‘good brothers’ watching the movie with us.”

I peered over at the front-row seats and shot back, “No lah! There’s one guy sitting on the leftmost seat in the first row.”

“Uh oh, I think got something sitting on him.”


At the end of the film, though, when director Tony Kern and producer Genevieve Woo came in to the theatre to take questions from the audience, they confirmed that they had indeed deliberately left the front row empty for the “good brothers”.

I wonder who’s the brave guy who sat on the corner seat.

The director also shared with us his encounter during a jungle excursion for a spirit-invitation ritual, where he almost got possesed by spirits. You can read about it in this TODAY report.

A Month of Hungry Ghosts doesn’t have the most polished cinematography and editing which you’d expect of a, say, Discovery Channel documentary, and the film starts off a bit sluggish as it establishes Singapore as a “world-class centre of business and culture” (as cited by the wiki page for this film).

Foreigners might find this of interest, but Singaporeans will probably be wondering when the scary stuff is going to happen.

But once the film is done with the expounding, you get taken on a surprise ride from which you won’t return the same.

A Month of Hungry Ghosts premieres at Golden Village on August 7.

Also, check out the Golden Village website to find out more about the Blog Aloud series. Next up is Money No Enough 2 from August 5 to 7. Watch the film before the official premiere and meet director Jack Neo to find out more about the making of his movie.

Today is the second day of the Hungry Ghost Month. There are 28 more days to go. Be mindful.