Sunday, 14 July 2013

John Eng’s ghostly encounter


At the turn of the new millennium John Eng got himself so busy that he considered quitting altogether and retire to his home town in Northern Johore. At 50 something, the regular golfer entrepreneur was a pink of health and full of zeal for his work. How could he give up all what he have strived so hard for the last quarter century? John’s credential read like a page of Who’s Who of the country. He was managing director of an American owned electronic plant before he turned 30 and had his own property development firm in his early 30s. His had his first break into property market when he reaped economic success in sales and development of a block of condominium situated at the sea-side suburbia of Malacca. The completion of a few more apartment blocks followed in the final years of last century saw John Eng’s family more financially comfortable. One by one he sent all his four children to Australia for their tertiary education.  Being highly vigilant and alert, diligent and adventurous, John had been acquiring land and properties in Johore, Malacca and Kuala Lumpur regions. He made some quick gains in reselling the properties when he deemed too much of a hassle to develop the land. In some case he envisaged that it might not be financially feasible anymore if he were to cling to that particular piece of property he acquired recently. Still not satisfied, he began to explore property and trading markets of the northern region of the country by moving his office to Kuala Lumpur as his fortress of operation.

 One of the 5-star hotels in, Alor Setar, Kedah,
Northern Peninsula Malaysia.
One day John Eng found himself tired and lonely in a 5-star hotel suite in downtown Alor Setar, Kedah in Northern Malaysia Peninsula. He had then checked into the hotel suite after almost a whole day of driving in his BMW. An hour earlier he had tea-time with an unscrupulous and conniving industrialist cum small time politician. John was alert enough to realize that it was not going to be a smooth deal in a business joint-venture discussion as it was all cant talk and no serious matter was covered. John Eng likened the so-called Dato middle-aged man as a slippery eel. “He’s not getting me anywhere. All he wished was getting some quick money from me, and wanted me to have an earful of his bragging – his success story of his entry into the state political scene.” No sooner John ended his meeting with the local business small timer with an excuse he made up. He then headed towards the hotel where he could relax and catch up some sleep.

The comfort of the 5-star hotel is certain and
commendable. Guests do not want to receive
unexpected visitors in the middle of the night.

A light dinner followed after his short nap and John was very much his usual self as he chatted happily on the phone with his wife and children. Some Penang based business associates called him on his mobile, urging him to drop by Penang on his way back. They promised him sumptuous meals and fun-filled entertainment in their company. John Eng did not accept nor turn down the invitation as he was slightly blurry after consuming just one mug of beer. He was not sure that he would remember the appointment if he were to agree to meet them the next day.  He called the room service for a cup of Cappuccino coffee so that he could flip through the Business Time of the day before he slept.


The strong aroma of the coffee filled the room with fragrance of stimulant that kept John awake well past midnight. Then he suddenly remembered that this was the final night of the World Cup held in Japan between the top two football crazy counties viz. Brazil and Germany. John yelped softly in exaltation as he would not miss the big show-down. Being a staunch supporter for Brazilian football team, John was thrilled when his favorite team scored the first goal.


It was well past 2am when John Eng suddenly realized that he was not alone in the hotel suite. At the right side of the TV set there stood a female ghostly figure with long flowing hair in a white gown. It stared at John with icy cold eyes without expression. The sudden appearance of the apparition startled John so much that he almost jolted himself out of the bed, where he sat watching the World Cup on TV. Within a few moments of standoff with the haunting figure in midst of great fear, eager anguish and desperate anxiety, John finally came to his senses. He turned cool to analyse the delicate situation. Was anyone playing a joke on him? Was he seeing things, due to extreme tiredness and fatigue? Not so, he told himself. The ghostly figure appeared to be stationary from where it stood, albeit John could not see her feet. It had the face of a Chinese woman, pale and ghastly. John began to be disoriented; his mind was confused, he could not tell if he was dreaming, he was seeing thing alright. He was staring at a cold looking apparition with piercing fearsome eyes. It was too awful to come to face to face with such phenomenon. The ghost did not seem to be leaving. Under the softly-lit lights of the suite, John could make up what he saw; it was a female ghost alright. Its white gown was swaying by the blowing of the air-conditioning unit. Its four limbs were rather obscured that John was not sure whether it was floating or standing.

Japanese horror movies sometimes are real scary.

John Eng knew he must act fast to save himself from such delicate situation as he was losing the ability for concentration. Being a non-practicing Buddhist, he was rather bold to confront the apparition by gathering his inner strength to chant loudly “Namo Amithabhah” few times. He then garnered courage and spoke loudly in Hokkien: I have done you no harm, please go away to leave me in peace! He repeated his words few times, while still chanting “Namo Amithabha” in between. He then walked briskly past the haunting figure towards the window without looking at it. He stepped backwards after opening the glass window; what he saw next he would never forget. The ghost began to integrate and flew all its remnant of broken pieces out of the window, like being sucked away by a giant vacuum cleaner.

A pale shadow of an apparition appeared
on the steps of staircase in an old hotel
that one could walk through it..

“It was just like the scenes one saw in the movies.” John exclaimed when he came to his senses to be glad that the worst was over. He managed to clean himself of the cold sweat before he laid himself lamely on the bed. He made up his mind not to disturb the front office of the hotel. Slipping into the warmth of the bed spread and blanket, no sooner he was snoring in dreamland. With the visit of the haunting ghost ended without harming him, he deserved a good rest.

You will not want to encounter such
apparition when driving home
alone in the wee hours.

The next morning John Eng drove all the way back to his home in Malacca, with 3 stops at the rest lay-bys of the highway for toilet purpose and meals. At the comfort of his home in the company of his loved ones, he sighed: I need to slow down.

A faithful Christian always flips open the Holy Bible
and lay it on the table when checking into a hotel
 room for the night, just to prevent
 disturbance of the unholy kind.

A true story by
 Alan CY Kok


John Eng was my secondary school classmate 40 over years ago in Johore, Southern Peninsula Malaysia. He had since retired and joined his two doctor sons to reside in Brisbane, Australia. He narrated the true incident to me during one of our Old Boys’ meet.


1 comment:

  1. Jeremy Lim, comments on our former classmate’s encounter of the unholy kind vide an e-mail:

    Hi Alan,

    The ghostly encounter of John Eng at a hotel in Alor Setar's hotel is by far the most hair-raising narration I have read from you and from my own accounts.

    John was really brave enough to confront the lady ghost and that has brought out the very important chanting mantra of 'Namo Amitabha', if when chanted with pure heart and in times of emergency will often do wonders.

    I too have high respect for John for what he had done as a handsome-looking man achieved business coups since his '30s. He could compare to our another common friend, Ng Eng Sim, whom PP knows very well - a self-devloped multi-millionaire and a very ambitious man since I knew him in early '70s. He is now very active with the SAS Old Boys Association.

    FYI, the ghosts as we call them, are but a being similar to us except it does not have a physical body like us. We all belong to the universal beings that exist in different forms and shapes. However, we are connected in spiritual form, a streak of light once vibrated shall give rise to many forms that we saw in the universe.

    If we often project LOVE where we go, often than not we will meet with friendly response, even the so-called ghosts or spirits will not harm us. Hotels and hospitals are the places where we often heard many strange encounters of the many kinds. My wife used to have these similar experiences on her stay at the hotels when she went for out-of-town assignments. There are scientific reasons besides the spiritual explanation of such happenings.

    Having said, my conclusion is that John Eng's ghostly encounter and his powerful exorcism has shown ONE VERY POSITIVE TRAIT IN HIM - HE IS A BRAVE AND HE FACES CRISES BRAVELY. And this stands testimony of his success after success since leaving U in the '70s, right to his present business. Something for us to praise and emulate too.

    I was once a small-time ghost-buster but now a ghost-lover,
    Regards from Jeremy Lim.