Horror stories that only Singaporeans understand
Singaporeans love horror stories. Whether it’s cursed chalets, ghostly children who play with marbles in the middle of the night, or the good old nenek keropok - we have a ghost story for everything. With the wild success of horror movies and events like Halloween Horror Nights, it’s no question that locals enjoy a good scare every now and then.
However, there are things in our everyday lives that are way worse than superstitions our mothers may have told us years ago. Because there is nothing scarier than seeing the woman in white slowly approach you… Yep.
Be it the parking wardens that terrify us or ridiculous taxi charges, here are 10 real things that never fail to send a chill down our spines.
1. Taxi surcharges
With the rising cost of transport these days, watching the taxi meter go up every what feels like 5 seconds is pretty daunting. Finally getting to your destination will feel like a relief, till you look at all the surcharges that amount to your final fare. Booking fee? Peak hour? ERP? You name it, they’ve got it.
And you start to wonder why you didn’t just take the bus in the first place.
2. ERP Gantries
True story time: I was leisurely cruising in the city when my friend alerted me of the ERP gantry ahead. That’s when I realised my Cashcard wasn’t in the IU.
Like any responsible driver, of course I had hidden my Cashcard securely. So secure, I had to do my best impression of a flailing octopus as the car inched its way to the gantry. But at least it was found. All was good. My troubles? Vanished. Until I saw my cashcard had only 38 cents.
Talk about GG…
3. MRT Track Fault Announcements
If there’s one thing regular commuters fear, it’s MRT breakdowns. As the train comes to a sudden halt and the speakers start to crackle, we all know what’s coming next: the dreaded announcement. We are currently experiencing a track fault. Train service will resume shortly.
It’s just like when printers stop working when we REALLY need them to. It must be some form of Murphy’s Law - why do breakdowns always happen when we’re rushing somewhere? Next on unexplained mysteries of the Universe…
4. The Summon Aunty
We’ve all heard of the Summon Aunty. No, she’s not an urban legend, but a very real person who never fails to shock us just as we sit down to enjoy a leisurely meal. Did I put coupon today? Nope. And suddenly, avoiding a parking fine is more important than our plate of chicken rice
An excuse is already bubbling in your head as you sprint to the car faster than you did during NAPFA: ‘Tolong la aunty! I got stomachache!’
5. Public Holidays on Saturdays
Living in a multiracial country that embraces different cultures has its perks. Of course, apart from being fortunate enough to live amongst people from diverse backgrounds, we also get to enjoy all the public holidays. Sleeping in on a weekday and lazing around with no work to do - what’s not to love?
Everything is fantastic till you look at your calendar and see that it falls on a Saturday. The weekends have never felt more sian.
Though epidemics like SARS and H1N1 have come and gone, there is one thing that Singaporeans will always have to deal with - mosquitoes.
Maybe it’s just us being kiasu or the fact that mosquitoes are terrifying, but dealing with them is like prepping for the apocalypse. Bug spray? Check. Repellent patches? Check. Hiding at home in fear of being bitten? Check.
And if there’s anything scarier than the mosquitoes themselves, it’s probably the increase in repellent prices afterwards.
7. The Pigeons of Orchard Road
Ah yes, the horrifying squawks of pigeons in the evenings. If you’ve been to Orchard Road after 5pm, you’ll know what I’m talking about. With hands full of shopping bags, it can be quite the struggle trying to shield yourself from being pelted with bird poo.
As the birds sit on trees and watch us with their evil beady eyes, someone lets out a bloodcurdling scream: ‘Jialat! My dress kena!’
Walking along the streets is truly a nightmare.
8. Tissue Packets
Trying to find a free table during lunch hour should be an Olympic sport. Finally spotting one will feel like you just won the gold medal - until you see the sinister tissue packets that only mean one thing: chope liao! And the search begins again.
9. Insurance Agents
Navigating through the bus interchange/MRT station is like being in a maze. One wrong turn and you may be stuck behind a slow walker, or even worse, be greeted by a swarm of insurance agents.
They might just be doing their job - but you can’t deny the awkwardness that comes with trying to dodge a conversation. Time to put on your best ‘I’m not interested’ face, and stare at your phone for a quick escape.
When you realize that you've been holding your ticket slip upside down the whole time.
Anyone who has tried their luck with TOTO would know the feeling of utter disappointment of finding out none of your numbers won. However, a rare few know the first hand horrors of the lottery, like missing first prize by a digit. And of course, there’s always someone who is unlucky enough to think they’ve won something, when really - they’re just seeing things wrong.
Surviving Singaporean horror stories
Congratulations! You made it to the end. These are just some of the things that creep Singaporeans out more than Russell Lee’s True Singapore Ghost Stories ever did.
So next time you decide to share horror stories, skip the haunted school corridors and remember some from this list for guaranteed screams.
All illustrations by Ra Krishnan.