Malaysian Atheist

An avowed atheist living in Malaysia.

Friday, March 23, 2007

A Malaysian ghost story

I was having lunch with some friends the other day, when our conversation inadvertently turned to ghosts. My friends started telling me about their personal encounters with the paranormal. The most interesting one was my friend's own experience at Genting Ria Apartments, over at the Genting hilltop. Supposedly, those apartments are famous for being haunted.

Several years ago, he went there with some friends and they stayed at the Ria apartments. That night, he slept alone on the living room couch while his friends took the bedrooms. He then had a strange dream. A Chinese couple was there in the living room with him. They were trying to tell him something but they were speaking frantically in Cantonese. My friend can't speak Cantonese, so he was trying to tell them that he couldn't understand them. That itself is a bit unusual because when you dream, usually everyone in your dream is speaking a language you can understand. The next day, on the way home, his car brakes suddenly stopped working while going downhill. Miraculously, he was able to use the handbrake and steered the car safely to the nearest repair shop. Later when they developed the photos they took, all the photos taken in the apartment turned out funny in that, they had some bright, wavy imprints on them. So, my friend reasoned that the couple in his dream were asking for his help, but since he couldn't help them, they killed his brakes. Spooky...

Now, being an atheist does not mean one automatically does not believe in ghosts and spirits. By definition, atheists do not believe in God or gods but ghosts and spirits hardly qualify as gods. Nevertheless, I'm skeptical by nature, so I didn't quite know what to make of my friends' stories. I also have never experienced anything of this sort personally. Let me first say, though, that I know my friend didn't make up the story. There is absolutely no reason for him to cook up such a tale. Secondly, his is not the only case at the apartments. Many other people have experienced hauntings and disturbances there. From a broader perspective, every culture around the world has its share of ghost stories. Can that many people be wrong?

I suppose if you believe in ghosts, it means that you also believe in the spirit or the soul, and hence, you believe there is life after death. The soul is something that science cannot explain or detect. Life after death too, is a concept foreign to science. If it exists, it would mean that the purpose of life is the actualization of the spirit rather than the Darwinian purpose of propagating genes. If you do not gratify your spirit in life, you remain as a ghost in death. Then you realise there must be a greater being who transcends life and death and then bada bing, bada boom you end up believing in God or gods. So I guess, if one is an atheist, one also ought not to believe in ghosts and spirits.

Well, as for my friend's story, I think it's possible that the three events - the dream, the car and the photos - are totally unrelated. People have dreams all the time, cars break down all the time and photos turn out wrong all the time. Coincidences do happen and when they do, people tend to link the events together. If you ask a bomoh, definitely the bomoh will tell you that it's caused by evil spirits because that is all the bomoh knows. It could well be that those events occured randomly and people're fooled into thinking that they're caused by spirits. Of course, I could be wrong, and they could indeed have been caused by ghosts, but there is just no way of being sure. I can accept that strange things do happen - things that no one can explain. But I know that ghosts and spirits are NOT the only plausible explanation for these strangeness.

Technorati tags


At 7:53 PM, April 16, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You seemed very much in the middle-ground, dude.
But anyway, I've thought about ghosts a lot (it's a great way to kill time, you see) and I've found that it's quiet pointless to be afraid of them (that is, if they DO exist) because, by definition, ghosts are souls, or spirits, without bodies, and everyone supposedly has a soul, right? That kinda means you're technically a ghost too... or at least ghost-to-be. So the next time your friend goes to Genting and dreams weird again, tell him to tell whoever it was in his dreams "look, people, just wait. someday I'll join you. just wait."
OK, do i make sense? No?

At 10:05 PM, April 17, 2007, Anonymous mephis said...

He does seems to be in the middle, but seriously, atheists are justs people who don't believe in god(s). One is still entitled to have other believes I suppose. As for me, the concept of ghosts/spirits/souls just doesn't make any sense. Memories and feelings are justs some sparks in the brain. Where the hell do ghosts store those memories then? Plus if people have souls, why do we have things like amnesia, Alzheimer's Disease and go nuts under drugs influences,etc. I mean, couldn't the soul(if, it stores its own memory) just go like "Crap, the brain just went kaput, I should take over." Oh. And where does the soul goes every night when one sleeps? Okay. I think I'm confusing myself now. Maybe I should stop.

At 1:24 AM, April 19, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exactly, mephis,dude.
Though I actually thought (or still think) that atheists don't beleive in the supernatural.. cos that's what I am..

At 10:27 AM, April 21, 2007, Blogger Meursault said...

No, I'm not in the middle-ground at all. I don't believe in ghosts and spirits either.

It's just that all this while, I've been talking about belief in God and I never really gave this much thought. By applying more or less the same reasons for not believing in God, I've come to the conclusion that atheists also should not believe in ghosts. Meaning, if you ever meet an atheist who says he/she is afraid of ghosts, there's a contradiction right there!

At 8:05 AM, April 26, 2007, Anonymous mephis said...

Glad to hear that, Meursault. Some of my family and friends bought into this kind of things, and I feel afraid for them. The belief that ghosts/spirits can cause sickness etc and that a bomoh can cure that, when what one need is a proper treatment will likely cause only more trouble(as is the case with one of my aunt, luckily she changed her mind).

At 4:58 PM, May 17, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its kinda stupid.... if you believe in Ghosts and yet, don't believe in God. Reason? Ghosts can't be seen, so is God. Many people have claimed to have seen ghosts, so have many people claimed to have seen God. Ghosts are of the spiritual realm/something besides the physical realm. Ditto with God.

At 2:37 PM, March 01, 2009, Blogger Name: Jonny said...

I quote: "From a broader perspective, every culture around the world has its share of ghost stories. Can that many people be wrong?"

Hmm.. There are many people who has religions as well, can that many people be wrong? That's like a typical religious person's argument -_-;
In a sense, you're saying that the rest of the world are wrong? @_@

At 4:06 PM, March 04, 2009, Blogger Meursault said...

It's really just a rhetorical question because the answer is yes, that many people CAN be wrong. After all, the whole world used to think that the Earth is flat and so when we look back now, the whole world was wrong.

At 9:44 PM, April 06, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lot of people might not believe in ghost, until they experienced it them self. I for one are those. Trust me Ria apartment in Genting is definately haunted. We experienced it more than 10 yrs ago. And it is something you don't forget.

At 4:12 PM, April 08, 2009, Blogger Meursault said...

Hi, please do share your Ria apartment experience. Thanks!


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home