Tekong Stories

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Singaporean
Age: 65
Occupation: Property Manager
Residence: Singapore
Date of Performance/Collection: 04/12/2021
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Context

Ghost stories or Tekong Stories as they are commonly known in Singapore are very often passed down in families or during military service. In Singapore, where there is mandatory national military service for every eligible male individual aged 18, ghost stories in the army camps are thus incredibly common and circulate widely around the community in Singapore. The following ghost story comes from my father recounting a ghost story he was told when he was serving the military in Singapore.

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Performance

The following is a story told to me by the interviewee.

“One of the Tekong stories is about a young girl and her grandmother that walk around the bunks and count the number of sleeping recruits. The grandmother is teaching the girl how to count. And they will count one… two… three… four… And as they come closer and closer to your bunk you’ll hear the number louder and louder five… six… seven… eight… And you cannot open your eyes because if you do they will take you away with them.”

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Analysis

Ghost stories are very common, but what specifically is unique about this one is that it is a military ghost story. Singapore practices mandatory military service for every eligible man, and thus military stories are much more widespread in the everyday community than it might be in other countries. Almost everyone knows of some kind of army camp ghost story, male or female. This ghost story in particular is given to new recruits. I belive it is meant to instil fear and make sure that the new recruits go to sleep instead of waking up in the middle of the night and trying to talk to each other.