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Haunted Homes

Ghosts are everywhere in Singapore. From the Malay pontianak, a female figure that haunts men, to Chinese festivals that burn offerings for the dead, the supernatural and the occult are integral to everyday life and have long fascinated Singaporeans. But what happens when a ghost is in your home? In this episode, Aisyah investigates when home no longer provides comfort, but instead causes fear. She interviews Dr. Irving Johnson, Associate Professor in the Department of Southeast Asian Studies at NUS, who thinks ghost stories offer a way to resist the discipline imposed by Singaporean institutions, such as schools, the military, and public housing. Aisyah also talks with her mother, a real estate agent whose job regularly places her in haunted houses. She shares the story of a Malay family who moved into a new home, only to find family of ghosts that refused to move out. In a country where housing blocks and highways are regularly built on former cemeteries, it’s not unusual to need an exorcist now and then.

Special thanks to Dr. Irving Johnson, Department of Southeast Asian Studies, National University of Singapore.

Original music by Huijin. Sound effects from Music from

Read the transcript

Bukit Brown Cemetery, where approximately 100,000 tombs are spread across a vast area of 0.86 square kilometres. Some claim that the cemetery is haunted.
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An exorcism being performed
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 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – References – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Faucher, C. (2004). As the wind blows and dew came down: Ghost stories and collective memory in Singapore. In J. Phillips, W.-W. Yeo, & R. Bishop, Beyond description: Singapore space historicity (pp. 190-203). New York: Routledge.

Heng, T. (2014). Hungry ghosts in urban spaces: A visual study of aesthetic markers and material anchoring. Visual Communication 13 (2), 147-162.

Laduni. (2013). Pontianak: Spiritual Science. Singapore: Trafford Publishing.

Lipman,C (2014). Co-habiting with Ghosts: knowledge, experience and belief and the domestic uncanny. London: Ashgate

Tan, K. P. (2010). Pontianaks, ghosts and the possessed: Female monstrosity and national anxiety in Singapore cinema. Asian Studies Review 34 (2), 151-170

 – – – – – – – – – – – – – Additional Reading – – – – – – – – – – – – –

CNN article on Ghostbuster 99, a ghost-evicting establishment that boasts multiple accolades:

Ghost Files SG, a Youtube channel run by Noel Boyd and Gabrielle Ferdinands, who create documentary-style videos on paranormal activities in Singapore: 

Hungzai, a website for Singaporeans to share ghost stories and sightings:

List of purported paranormal hot spots in Singapore:

Rituals and exorcisms conducted by Ghostbuster99





Published in Podcast Episodes S1


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