BY: DANA TAN
Professional photographer Kwok Tuck Loong is not afraid of the paranormal, instead he calls a visit to the Old Brunei Hostel a worthwhile experience.
“Just go for one midnight walk at the Old Brunei Hostel with your friends – it’ll be worth it,” he insists. “You have to be there to experience the eeriely dark and quiet atmosphere.”
While there are those who avoids abandoned buildings due to the fear of meeting the paranormal, Tuck Loong has a few stories to share:
Among stories he has heard from his friends are raucous sounds of boys playing in the grass field and women wailing in the Old Brunei Hostel, perhaps haunted by the remnants of the history the Old Brunei Hostel once had.
A colleague of his, Miss Angel Gwee, 33 calls her visit to the Old Brunei Hostel “an eerie experience”.
A makeup artiste, she was on a photoshoot assignment with Tuck Loong for Alexis Magazine with a group of seven. Tuck Loong had found the location appealing for the theme of the fashion shoot, and had decided to hold the shoot there.
Initially, all had went well. “We just shot as per normal,” said Miss Angel. They took shots in a former boy’s room and also near the infamous “Dark Pond” within the compound, where she have heard stories of dead bodies being thrown into the pond. “Some of the team had felt the chills, but apart from the mosquitoes, the shoot was progressing smoothly,” she said.
When they moved onto one of the rooms in the deeper blocks, things started becoming eerie.
“When I was at the left side of the room, you could feel that it was hot – normal Singapore weather,” she recalled. “But when you’re on the other side, it was like being in an air-conditioned room, about 19 degree Celsius.”
But the paranormal experiences that followed, literally, was not what she was in for.
“I had wanted to go into the next room for the shoot, but I suddenly had a bad feeling,” she said. “I could feel that something was staring at us, from the staircase.”
She then backed out of the room where the shoot was held. “A few seconds later Tuck Loong and my colleagues came out as well, at almost the same time,” she said. Quietly, they had moved away from the area before realising that some of them had felt a similar sinister force from the staircase near the classroom.
“I’m quite positive of what I felt (that day),” Miss Angel said. When asked if she would go back to the Old Brunei Hostel, Miss Angel gave a resolute “No.”
However, she admits that night-time visitors to the Old Brunei Hostel were more likely to meet other unfriendly figures there. “I think that there are teenagers who are doing drugs there and doing all kinds of funny stuff, you can tell from the graffiti they draw on the walls.”
“The whole place is pretty dirty, you can see rubbish everywhere, cockroaches running around,” she said.
Despite the Old Brunei Hostel’s appearance, Miss Angel had clients who have done wedding photo shoots there, liking it as it is different from usual boring photo scenes. “The place is actually quite nice, and it has history,” she added.
For Miss Angel Gwee’s full interview, click here.
To date, there is no known serious crimes or murders held at the Old Brunei Hostel, however, such stories of the paranormal have created curiosity among those who have knowledge of the place. The Ghost Club S.G. concluded that it has the Old Brunei Hostel is “certainly worthy to be rated mildly haunted”. Among those who have tried it out is the local television channel, Vasantham, who investigated the place jointly with the Singapore Paranormal Investigators. (Disclaimer: Watch it only if you dare.)