Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Halloween Special: Sentosa Spooktacular 2012

Are you ready for Halloween yet?

In this festival of the dead akin to our Chinese 7th month Hungry Ghosts Festival, it's supposed to scare you, I suppose? Much more celebrated than the Hungry Ghosts Festival (we don't see people dressing up as "that kind" during that period do we?), Halloween is only a day. (So Christian ghosts only have 1 day to come scare people?) Thanks to commercialization, Halloween activities can be seen around our little island for almost half of every October.

In recent years we see more events surrounding this festival happening in Singapore at various attractions - iFly, *SCAPE, Universal Studios Singapore, Sentosa amongst many others. I've been to a couple, and I thought I'd share my reviews and experiences, in case you might be interested. ;)

Sentosa Spooktacular 2012

If you didn't know, Sentosa used to be known as Pulau Blakang Mati. Note: In Malay, Pulau Blakang Mati also means Island (pulau) of Death (mati) from Behind (belakang)
As to how Sentosa got its name, there are a few stories:

#1. Some said this island was once an island of the dead with graveyards and cemeteries. Being pirate-infested, it bore stories of epic battles between local inhabitants and pirates. In the end, pirates won (duh) and dominated this island. Gruesome murders fill the island's past, giving it the name Pulau Blakang Mati.

#2. The island was the material paradise of warrior spirits buried at Pulai Brani. Hence the name Pulau Blakang Mati.

#3. In the late 1840s, there was an epidemic of disease (Blakang Mati Fever) on the island which almost wiped out the original Bugis settlers on the island. 

Whichever way it got its name, we can conclude that many have died on the island. Which makes Sentosa Spooktacular a huge draw for me. How else do we blur the lines between reality and myth, right?





This is my 3rd year at Sentosa Spooktacular, and their 4th year anniversary. For some reason I didn't blog about the previous 2 years' Spooktaculars. -.-" 

Bummer. (This is why I should force myself to blog even at my most fatigued of days. So I remember what happened in my life.)

My 1st year was at Imbiah Lookout, if I didn't remember wrongly. And Images of Singapore. The 2nd year was at the Merlion Plaza and also Images of Singapore & to be honest I thought they were pretty good because it involved walks in the wax museum. This year, however, Sentosa had decided to hold its Spooktacular at Fort Siloso.

For those unaware, Fort Siloso has a dark history. It used to serve as a POW camp (prison) during the Japanese Occupation, which, in other words, meant that many had died there. Suspected rebels and supporters of anti-Japanese activities were brutally and mercilessly killed, mostly Chinese. They were rounded up and lined up against the beach of Pulau Blakang Mati (Sentosa) and were shot and bayonetted to death. British and Australian soldiers were also captured by the Japanese and thrown into the prison and tortured.

Personally, I've been to Fort Siloso a couple of years back, simply because I enjoy going to places of interest, even in Singapore. And I find that in certain areas of the attraction, one could actually feel something...different. Fort Siloso is never open after 6pm, and for good reason.

It has a reputation for being a haunting ground for paranormal sightings, which makes it somewhat different from the other huge Halloween events. Stories of Asian ghouls seen wandering around Fort Siloso's tunnels and colonial buildings have been around for years. Species such as the pontianak, orang minyak, headless ghosts among many others have been sighted to populate the island in the dead of the night, though there has never been evidence even when expert ghost seekers came looking. What better venue to hold the Spooktacular this year? Good effects, or are they real? You might see some of their residents. If you're that lucky.

That being said, it led to me being really curious about this year's Spooktacular showcase. Who knows, maybe I might spot something?


This year, they have 4 new additions to the ghostly crew family, and I have some of their (amusing) backgrounds given in my press release.

The Pontianak - spirit of a woman who died horribly while pregnant. She preys on young men, who often detect her presence by an overwhelming frangipani smell. Heard of folklore surrounding sudden pungent frangipani smells? Yeah there you have it. (happened to me before though I'm not a young man. -.-")


Dwelling only on banana trees (why the frangipani smell then?) their homes and sightings are becoming increasingly rare due to urbanization. They can take on their forms before death, usually looking like young pretty maidens. Comel (this particular pontianak) started a killing spree due to the shock of dying, losing her child plus the curse to feed on male blood.

It was said that her father stopped her rampage by driving a nail into the nape of her neck. (It was suspected that her dad died while trying to save her.) After her rage, shock and grief slipped away she regained control of her mental functions and emotions and she has since taken on a green movement to save the banana trees in Singapore from further urbanization initiatives. As long as the nail in her neck is not removed, she is not dangerous. Living with the guilt of her previous actions, she keeps herself from misusing her abilities. Obsessed with her hair and keeping up with appearances, she maintains her before-death look most times, though she slips into her death form without her knowing (it is draining for her to keep looking like her before-dead self) and behaves like she's still a chiobu. Play along if you see her in her unglamorous self.



The Chinese Ghost Bride. She is either a living woman engaged to a dead fiance, or a dead woman whose bones are offered to a living man as bride. In Samantha (the ghost at Spooktacular) she is a Wraith, an unfulfilled spirit who is unable to move on. Given a proper burial or getting to say goodbye to their loved ones can be closure for them.


Samantha is not essentially a ghost bride (she hates that term) though she is termed one. She just died while donning her wedding "kua". It was said that the night she was to be married to her beau whom she cohabited with, instead of presenting her with the 2-carat diamond ring she has been pestering him for months, he came home with news that he want to leave her for another man and that the diamond has been turned into a nipple stud (poor girl).

A typical 23-year-old Singaporean, she is classified as an SPG and speaks with an American, Australian, British, French, German, Italian, (possibly) Russian and Spanish accents with a splattering of local slang terms. It is quite hard to discern which accent is influencing her speech at any one time. Obsessed about diamonds (especially the one that was never hers) of at least "one-carat, better if more, at least F or better colour rating, clarity of VS2 and above, must be brilliant cut or maximum fire!"

She says"The only forever in this world are diamonds. Not love. Men are just so nasty, I swear! But I want diamonds, so I guess I need men. Haizzz~ Eh, you free tonight?"

It has been 8 years and she has not acquired a single diamond. So she might up her game this year...Affluent-looking men, be careful.



The Dead Soldier (*hair stand*). Could be Australian, British, Japanese or Chinese. This one is a gast, who is an old wraith suffering from acute amnesia to the effect that it has forgotten its Wraith Obsession. Forgot Wraith obsession means it can't fulfil its obsession, which also means it can never move on so it's stuck in this world, lost.

Gasts continue to evolve until they lose their forms (which can take up to a century), then they become shadows. John Doe (this particular ghost) has a love for all things Otaku, so he could have been a Japanese soldier.

His obsession might have been acquired even though he has been classified as a gast. Obsessed with manga, anime and cosplay, this gast (named John Doe) doesn't move on because he's afraid of missing the pleasures of his comic books. Possibly died of eating a long kang fish sashimi style.



The Chinese Vampire, or the Jiang Shi. It is a recently deceased person coming to life, or a buried corpse not decomposing. It can come to life because of a spirit possessing he dead body, or when it absorbs enough yang qi to return to life, or after being struck by lightning, or when a pregnant cat or black cat leaps across the coffin.


As the Jiang Shi's body ranges in different stages of decay, the body is so stiff that they generally move around by hopping. This one always cracks me up because I think the hopping looks silly. Plus the Spooktacular vampire's (named Fluffy Zhao) other identity apart from being a poet in the olden Imperial days, is also a one-year-old puppy who likes belly rubs. LOL!!!!

Killed by a crate of Chinese lettuce, he has an immense hate for the vegetable. But the merger with Fluffy the puppy whose spirit has possessed the body after finding the coffin has made this vampire harmless and with a soul. I'm guessing he no longer hates Chinese lettuce.

Interesting trivia about the ghosts huh? Funny how they don't seem so scary anymore after you understand them that little bit more,

These 4 will front the cohort of 200 crew who will be playing ghosts at Fort Siloso.  Click on the links to view their Facebook profiles and learn more about them.

I wouldn't count the 200 crew if I were you. In case I see a 201st one. Wah lao.

Mandatory survival kit includes:


Good friends whom you can push to the front of each haunted trail, or hold hands with when you are scared out of your wits;

& and an amulet for protection.

Notice how the logo kind of looks like an amulet. I wonder if there is any reason behind it.
Fort Siloso has a reputation for unusual activities and its associated "residents". We were briefed that necessary "actions" (rituals?) were taken to ensure the safety of everyone at Spooktacular this year at Fort Siloso, so it should be, erm, safe. But should you suspect that a ghost you encounter during your stay at Fort Siloso is not one of Spooktacular's 200-strong crew, do not disturb it. Just ignore, and walk on.

My hair on the nape of my neck was standing even as I typed that.

After getting off the shuttle bus that will take you from Beach Station, walk towards Fort Siloso, and you will see this:


Maybe it was the lights, but I thought Fort Siloso without all the Halloween decoration and "make-up" actually felt scarier. Maybe there were too many people which made the place feel less "yin"?

The beverages available.





Drink. If you dare...

(Actually given Singapore's humidly hot night, especially if it hasn't been raining, I doubt you would care so much. Thirsty? Just buy & drink.)

Very pose-y ghosts.
Most of them have the yellow "amulet" on them. I'm guessing it's their crew pass. 



The map of Fort Siloso. Please try not to wander into the non-Spooktacular places. U know like paths that are not lighted up, blocked, or something. 

There are altogether 5 trails this year, name the Ouija Board, Camp Berhantu, Deadly Doll Studio, The Land of Lost Souls, & The Last Sequel. A little background about these trails so you know what you're in for:

Ouija Board - Game for a round of Ouija? Ask the spirits anything.


Responsible for burying prisoners-of-war during WW2, the caretaker used to live in the dilapidated house atop Mount Siloso before he was also tortured to death by the soldiers. The house then became the favourite spot of occultists for dark rituals, and spirits were summoned for Ouija readings. No one has dared visit since one such game of Ouija went wrong, and people disappeared mysteriously.


Deadly Doll Studio - I swear I never liked dolls because they freak me out.
This trail was what it says - deadly dolls. The entrance totally gave me the creeps.

The Land of Lost Souls - Sawadee Airlines bring you to Dwng Wiyyan, where the only person alive is the blind monk. As you enter the dark alleys, be wary of this ghosts who will run out at you when it is smokiest. Scream all you want. Though I fear that the ghost might be hit for those who smack as a reflex. Lol. 

Camp Berhantu - Army horror. The ghost of a restless recruit re-enacts his fire mishap every Thursday night when spirits are at their most rowdy (according to Malay beliefs). Smell kerosene, and hear frantic poundings and unearthly shrieks. Best way to counter? Shriek back. 

The Last Sequel - Want to write your own destiny? Take time to go through the stories of an ill-fated author. What follows his novels - pieces of his sister sent to him in a crate, wife found gruesomely murdered and hung in walk-in freezer. Watch how the plot unfolds, but don't say I didn't warn you. Hold someone's hands, preferably a best friend's.




 
Ghoulies hanging off trees. I think those were a nice touch. We spotted a peacock on a tree too. Lol.
Note: If you see something on a tree that is not a peacock nor looks like a prop, look away. We don't want anything following you home when you go.


Some pictures so you know a bit of what to expect. 



This onion guy cracked me up. I kept feeling sympathetic for this guy because
1. His legs were tied up so he had to hop around Fort Siloso. 
2. He would have a hard time going to the toilet (ghosts need to relieve themselves too okay! Lol~)


She was sitting on a drain cover and behind her was just the woods and the darkness. I wouldn't sit there if I were her. Who knows what could be behind me. *shudders*



More ghostly drink stalls selling weird concoctions.





A Thai stewardess who, I guess, died in an air crash.



A very flamboyant bapok.



Getting in the mood.
Next year maybe I should go audition to go play as a ghost. ;)





For the weak hearted, ambulances were on standby. So just go all out and get scared! ^.^ 死不了的啦! (应该。。。)




Apart from the long queues at each Haunted Trail, I would say this is good. Queues can be boring so bring along a book, or install some games on your smartphone and bring along an external charger. Also, it might get really hot and humid so bring along your portable electric fan as well. Ladies, wear flats. There's going to be a lot of walking up and downhill (and stairs) and in case you need to run, flats go further. Lol. Oh, and bring along an umbrella in case it rains, since it has been raining an awful lot.

Game for Spooktacular at Fort Siloso? Watch this:



Tickets are available online at spooktacular.com.sg, or at Sentosa ticketing counters 
- Sentosa Station at Vivocity Lobby L, Level 3
- Beach Station
- Waterfront Station
- Imbiah Lookout
- Merlion Plaza
- Sentosa Visitor Centre, Fort Siloso

Dates: 26-28 October 2012
Opening Hours: 7-11pm (last entry at 10pm) - not advisable as you need to queue~~~

Prices - 
  • Standard Tickets:  $48
  • Islander: 15% discount (limited to 4 tickets per card. Not valid on event day.)
  • "Kia Gui" (afraid of ghosts) pass: $10 (Admission to Fort Siloso only, strictly no admission to haunted trails)
  • Fast Pass: $25 (not inclusive of event admission)


Not intended for below 12-year-olds. 13-15 year-olds must be accompanied by a parent or guadian aged 21 and above.



Remember: Bring your fun-loving friends too! 
(Or at least someone whom you can hold hands with when you're scared. *wink*)

Do check out the site before you go: www.spooktacular.com.sg

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