Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Ghost Club Expedition 3 (Part 3) - Old Brunei Hostel, Labrador Park, Tanglin Barracks

14th November 2008 (Friday)
GHOST CLUB SG's Expedition 3 (Part 2) takes us to 2 very interesting places: Tanglin Barracks and Old Abandoned Place off Tanglin Road. Because of the nature of these 2 places, we had the week before, held Part 1 of expedition 3, because we will probably spend alot of time exploring these 2 huge places. It was an exciting night, but it also posed alot of risks.


Our first location takes us to the exclusive neighbourhood of Tanglin Hill, where the rich and famous, some of Singapore's millionaires and possibly billionaires, reside in. At such a time where land is scarce and expensive especially in the Central Orchard district, lies a big abandoned place, almost forgotten in time. We gathered information from one of our friends who tipped us off about the place, and indeed, the place was indeed abandoned. Nearby, just opposite this abandoned place, there is an extravagant private house that is guarded by Cisco police. We started our investigation by going through the front gate, which was opened and unlocked. Locked gates are a sign telling us no entry, and we would not have ventured in if the gates were locked. Trespassing is NOT our game.

Even as we walked through the place, there were no signs or clues indicated what this place was in the past and why it was abandoned. Judging by the huge compound and the existence of various blocks and buildings inside the place, we concluded that this was not a private residence but possibly an embassy or government kind of office/building. The place easily looked like it was abandoned for about 10-15 years, and the architecture suggests that it is that belonging in the eighties era. We continued to search on for clues. Still no idea as we walked further down the little road that led to other parts of the place. It is a very huge compound!

Just then, Agent MaXx spotted a power area that had a typical bluish Singaporean sign indicating the name of the place. It wrote "Brunei Hostel". Wow! We got it! This place used to be a hostel and one reason why it is still here untouched is because it belongs to Brunei! Amazing. We were very curious what happened to this place and what is the history behind the building, and couldn't wait to research on it.


After our exploration that night, Agent GQ and myself excitedly proceeded to do some research on the history of the "Brunei Hostel", and we uncovered some very interesting information!

(picture adapted from http://www.bt.com.bn).

Brunei was a very poor nation in the early 20th century, and formal education only started in 1914. By the beginning of World War II, Brunei had a total of only 23 Malay schools in the nation. Due to a shortage of teachers, many students were being sent overseas by the 1950s as part of the nation's effort to educate its young. This included a stream of students being posted to Singapore in the mid 1950s. The first groups of students stayed at Jalan Haji Salam off Bedok Road, and some of the earlier Islamic students stayed individually at houses around the Geylang areas. It was not until 1958 that the Tanglin Hill hostel was used by the Islamic students. The hostel was eventually called AKBS or Asrama Kerajaan Brunei di Singapura.

Picture of Brunei students in the Tanglin Hill Hostel in the late 1950s. The architecture of the place is exactly the same one we captured and hence confirms the place we were exploring was indeed the Brunei Hostel! By 1983, Brunei had developed its own elite Secondary Schools and the country stopped sending students to Singapore. Counting the years back, this place has been abandoned for more than 25 years! Amazing!

Of course we did not have the luxury of real time Internet access, therefore we could only proceed on to explore the place that night. But at least we knew that this was a hostel for students. We pondered if there was a possibility of a disease epidemic (i.e.,SARS) that could have drove everyone away, or a gruesome murder that took place within the grounds that was too horrific to allow the place to carry on. We took several moments to get a feel and general orientation of the place....

Them whole area seem to be divided into different sections. The main building nearest to the entrance seemed to be that of probably some admin or reception area, and the main students' hostel was behind, as taken from the pictures above. In between there seem to be another area like that of a hall, and another area that looked higher classed than the students rooms, possibly a lecturer's dormintory or lounge area.

Other smaller buildings surround the hostel, probably functioning as admin or for store purposes. It would definitely take some time for us to explore the whole place. The slightly run down state of the hostel added to the risks that we potentially face as structures become unstable. And of course, the mosquitoes were out in full force, rare to find humans in these compounds! We moved around the outside trying get a better feel of the place where it is safe.

Is that a shadow of a human figure standing on a flight of steps that lead to the school hostel? We cannot tell but if you look closely, it does resemble a human shadow. Over imagination perhaps, because we were still feeling apprehensive about the place...Otherwise, overall it was silent and peaceful. We oriented ourselves as well as our minds to tune in to the feel of the place. Initially our hearts were racing as we realized how big the place is and the risks we faced. We kind of felt a little apprehensive. This is by far GhostClub's first exploration at night at a place of this magnitude. But once our hearts were calmed down, I suggested that we take a tour inside the place proper. And so we recced the place to see where is a good spot to move into the building.

We decided to take the cue from the safest entry structure of the place: the staircase of course! It looked pretty solid, thankfully made of concrete and not wood or metal. The walls though, looked faded and run down. I took the lead, armed with my video camera, as the rest of the guys followed closely behind me.

We entered the compound slowly. The place was littered with debris and some of the structures inside were torn and tattered. As expected, wooden structures were a common find inside, typical of materials used in the 70s. Parts of the wooden ceiling threatened to fall off or had already fallen off, nearby wooden cupboards had disintegrated as well. It was quiet but generally peaceful.

As we entered the building, we realized the whole place was filled with many rooms and places to go to. Not surprising as this was a hostel in the past. But it was probably interesting to know what the areas we explore were used for.

More doors, openings and areas. Which to explore first we wondered as we slowly moved along....

Some places were locked, what lies inside the locked door? Trapped for more than 25 years, it may contain hidden treasures, human remains or another secret trap door? We wouldn't know for sure...But as we carried on, we entered a bigger hall-like room.

The side grills typically transforms the place back to the early 1970s. It was as if we had stumbled upon a lost world, a forgotten part of history, a place nesting with life and activities more than 25 years ago.

At another section of the side grill, we captured an orb appearing! Closer examination of the orb seem to reveal a human face within it. But it looked more like a harmless face than a sinister one. We certainly did not feel threatened in anyway. Perhaps the spirit of the old Bruneian hostel caretaker? Or an administrative staff of the past 'processing' us in as we visited the place? We carried on exploring...

It could be a central/admin area or dining area of some sort, as the side grills gave a good view of the outside garden and an entry point from the other parts of the building outside. But of course in the wee hours of the morning, the view outside sure looks very spooky and eerie! As we moved on to another side of the area, we saw that it overlooked a big spacious place, something evident of a hall/assembly section of the hostel.

A closer picture of the area overlooking what appeared a hall/assembly area. It would be interesting to head down to the hall to check out the place. The various columns in the hall area certainly makes darting shadows a real possibility, especially in the extreme dark. We opened our eyes and kept our vigiliance as we looked from the 2nd storey down to the hall.

We proceeded down to the hall area by climbing a flight of steps down from the 2nd storey. There was a mini stage at the front of this area, again confirming that it could indeed be some sort of hall. The place was littered with orbs. Sometimes we can hear faint strange noises as we stood still in the area. What appeared to be footsteps at times, scattered moving sounds and just a strange atmosphere.
Suddenly Agent Goatie said he heard a strange woman's voice/cry. He could not make out what it was but he was adamant that he had heard the ladylike voice. We stopped fora moment to listen but could not hear any. Strange encounter. Compared to the upper floors we had explored so far, this place gave the most 'feeling'. Perhaps because it used to be filled with the most human activity, this place resided alot of memories and vibes from the past.
From the hall area we noticed another section of the building that led to the actual hostel rooms. So we turned back to find that linkway to that section of the building.
We exited the hall area and found the passageway that led to the hostel rooms! The exit sign certainly looks very retro!

Camera shot of the passageway where students used to stay in one of the many rooms here. It is quite a narrow passageway and we had to walk a single file along this path that was again littered with debris. Certainly will fail a fire safety inspection. Imagine if there was a fire, the narrow passageway will become a hotbed for stampede! We were curious to explore some of the rooms to see how it looked liked. We decided to randomly explore the rooms and we chose room number 7!

Knock knock! Anyone in? May we come in to take a look? We anxiously looked into the room for signs of movement or activity. Thankfully it looked peaceful...
Anyone sleeping on the bed? Hope not! Sorry for 'disturbing your sleep' this late at night!

Old wooden cupboard. Again, very retro 70s like. Nowadays not in fashion as it invites termites and it is not that durable.

For each room, there was an attached toilet cum bathroom. There was even a bathtub in the toilet! Bubble bath anyone? Quite welfare compared to army life where we have to share a mass toilet cum bathroom. But come to think of it, probably it is expected because being a conservative country in the past, the students probably will not be allowed to shower in a mass area together.

Spooky looking mirror where we decided to take a shot and see if anything appeared on the 'other side'. Nothing much except for myself and Agent MaXx being blinded by the reflected flashlight.

Each room was roughly the size of a HDB master bedroom and each room on this side of the building overlooked into a area of lush greenary and trees. Probably can imagine waking up to the sounds of birds chirping and warm sunshine peering in. Nice thought indeed....We exited the relatively peaceful room and continued walking along the narrow passageway. From here, we can still see the hall that we had been to just now. Somehow the hall still looks creepy to me.

Above the hall area it appeared to be more hostel rooms for students. Looking from over here, it seems that the structure of this side of the building looks more unstable as some of the passageway ceilings are collapsing, so we decided not to venture up there. We finished exploring the hostel rooms and proceeded down to the main ground floor area. We spotted a pit or pond of some sort that was filled with dark murky water. NEA, this is a tip for mosquito breeding! Unless perhaps there are some hidden crocodiles inside that lives here! Yucks, both thoughts makes our hair stand.
We proceeded on to other sections of the place, and noticed this area on the right that resembled some sort of lounge area. It looked 'higher classed' than other parts of the buildings. Possibly for teachers or perhaps students to relax in.

There was also a staircase that leads to a 2nd storey. There was even aircon on the 2nd story area which confirms that this place is of higher importance compared to the rest of the buildings. Wait! Is that a shadow of a person that seems to be looking out of the 2nd window from the right? Both windows by the side are slightly ajar except for this window with the human figure. Distorted vision or a teacher curious about our arrival?

We would love to have gone up to the 2nd storey to explore more but the poor state of the place posed too much of a physical risk for us to satisfy our curiosity.

We continued walking around the ground level. The moon was bright today but yet it was partially hidden by a thick mass of clouds. The shot below showed the moon clearly. It also showed how dark the place was for the camera to capture the shape of the moon so well. Of course, orbs also appeared together with the picture.

These pictures below showed how dark the place was, despite the presence of the moonlight. Orbs appeared, and we sometimes could still feel some light uneasiness and weird sounds here and there. But we were unable to trace the source or make anything more out.

Shot of one of the places we heard strange noises, but nothing much was captured except for a faint orb on the right side of the picture where the wall ends off. A student trying to play hide and seek with us?

Back view of the other section of hostel room that was on top of the hall area that we did not explore due to the unstable structures we had seen from the other side just now.

Any student looking out towards us from the balcony of their hostel room? Thankfully no....With this, we concluded our exploration of the Brunei Hostel.
Overall, this place is certainly huge and one filled with alot of residue activity and memories of the past more than anything violent or sinister. We had some strange encounters, feelings and experiences in scattered forms, and certain parts of the building yielded more spooks than others, overall this place is certainly worthy to be rated mildly haunted, but under the category of residual haunting rather than intelligent haunting. Memories of the past certainly glittered over here.


Our next location takes us to the beautiful and scenic Labrador Park. Located along Pasir Panjang Road, this park offers a great place to barbeque, take a stroll, capture wedding shots and have family outings together. Overlooking the sea and with a side view of Sentosa, Labrador Park is a great place to be, especially in the evenings as the sunsets are known to be captivating!
(Picture adapted from pasirpanjangheritage.blogspot.com)
Apart from the place being a park, the area of Labrador is also a historical place as it was one of Singapore's costal defence line when the British occupied our lands in the 19th century. Gun batteries and ammunition depots are common and can still be found at sections of the park. The famous Labrador Underground Tunnel is also a unique tourist attraction nowadays, offering people a chance to walk into the forgotten tunnels that once existed in the past.

(Picture adapted from www.nparks.gov.sg)

Unlike our neighbour Kent Ridge Park, Labrador Park had never tasted the action of war as the Japanese never came by the sea, therefore, Labrador Park holds slightly more historical value than paranormal incidents.


Nonetheless, we were tipped off that along the road leading to Labrador Park lies an old colonial house, and this itself warrants an exploration! Further in we also wanted to explore the long rumoured existence of an underground tunnel that links Labrador Park to Sentosa. But first up, the colonial house. We found it quite easily as the roads leading to Labrador Park are quite easy to navigate.

First impressions of the colonial house looks quite interesting and held some potential. Old winding weeds overwhelm the gates, the house looks old from the outside and it also looks pretty big. The old architecture suggests that it is indeed a colonial house with at least 70 years of history attached to it. With some wits we crawled through the metal gate into the compound. No signs indicating illegal trespassing, so we are good to go in. As we approached the main house, suddenly we were greeted by...........

Rubbish......rubbish.....and more rubbish! It was like a place filled with junk, typical of a garang guni man, and the place seemed to have been evolved into a storage place. There were old bicycle tyres, tables, chairs, old wooden structure, decoratives, even a lantern!

And the place was also riddled with vandalism and graffiti, a sign that others have also ventured into the place and left their art behind. Overall this place reeks of civilization and modern day junk. It was definitely short of being haunted. Perhaps someone is sleeping upstairs, as we looked up to the 2nd storey of the building. The windows were left opened.

Garang Guni man upstairs? Possibly sound asleep. We kept quiet and tried to listen to any snoring, nothing of that sort though....We continued checking around the area. Nearby we even saw a few old looking power generators. Agent MaXx said that these 'babies' are possibly the most expensive items of the junk here.

Towards the main porch of the building we saw a graffiti that says 'God Bless Our Mansion'. Bless the mansion from what? Is there something more to this historical house? To further add to the sentence, we noticed a red chinese religious paper burning bin nearby....

Followed by an altar to its left side. This is a typical setup for praying and offering of joss sticks to the God of Heaven. But the offerings on this particular table included tools like spanner, brush, an unusual bouquet of sunflowers and even a spray can. Very interesting indeed. Offering to who?

We continued on this exploration which has turned up into an exploration of junk rather than paranormal. It is indeed quite amazing to find all kinds of things and junk here. Just like the paranormal, you never know what you will find....

This garang guni man is also a carpenter! A typical technical work station is found nearby at the entrance of the house, complete with hammer and saw. Reminds me of my own technical study days when in secondary school. Overall this place is definitely debunked as being haunted. Except for the scary extent of the junk here, nothing else seems to spook us out!

SPOOK FACTOR: 1/10 (scary extent of junk!)

Somewhere near to the main park overlooking the sea and Sentosa, there lies another rumoured underground tunnel that links the park to Sentosa. We decided to explore a little bit. The base of the park also has several bunkers and gun positions. We wonder if there are any links to the secret tunnel from these positions. We decided to check out the inside of the bunkers. Unfortunately, the door leading to the bunkers were locked. And the bunkers were designed to just allow for a machine gun to be placed through a small gap so that the gunners inside will be well protected by bullets. We could not peep inside to see how the inner bunker look like.

Not wanting to give up so easily and using some ingenuity, we decided to stretch our hand into the bunker and take some pictures of the inside! Smart isn't it! And the following shots reveal how the inside of the bunker looks like. Pretty interesting!

Seem to be more compartments and channels that may possibly lead to other areas, judging by the looks of the inside. But from another angle taken from the back of the bunker, it became clearer. The bunker was a self-contained area probably allowing 1-2 gunners a position to fire their machine guns. Their only entrance was from the back door and that was their only way to leave too. Poor gunners, its either they kill all their enemies or get overpowered and die at the end since there is no other escapes. A tough job indeed.

We continued along the pathway that led to a little red lighthouse that overlooks Sentosa. Along this stretch of waterline on Friday evenings, you will see the grand Star Cruise Aquarius sail by as it starts its cruise tour, and it is one of the most majestic sights you will experience, seeing a huge Titanic-like cruise ship sail by and towering above you as it is so near to the shoreline....*back to reality! As we explored the area, we found what could be the start of the underground tunnel! Hidden by rocks and with an area cemented, this tunnel has forever sealed its fate. No one will ever know what lies hidden behind the cement. But the sight of this tunnel certainly makes things very intriguing. Perhaps there was some truth in the rumoured link to Sentosa!

Nearby on the grass patch that we were on as we explored the underground link tunnel, we saw a very gruesome and scary sight. Ants, lots of them, dark reddish in colour and with big pincer heads, were busy walking along a designated route. They looked focused and busy, but we are sure if we disrupt their walk route, they will certainly attack us. Wow, ants certainly work more overtime than social workers.

Near to where the tunnel and ants were, there is actually a big structure/building on the top of a small hill to the side of the park. The history and purpose of this place is uncertain. It looks old, but nearby a radar satelite station is in operation and probably means that the place up there may be protected by the Singapore Police. We are also unable to find the route that will lead up to the building. Hence we are unable to ascertain if the place up there held any paranormal activities.

One of the many signs along the park illustrating the history of the park and how this place used to be in the past. The interesting names associated with this waterline was also explained. The channel between Labrador Park and Sentosa, where I mention that Star Cruise would sail through, used to be called Dragon Teeth Gate! We continued on to the inside of the park, concluding that the underground tunnel is still a question mark as we are unable to explore the inside.
SPOOK FACTOR: unable to ascertain
Finally we moved to the inner park itself to explore the dark areas that is filled with relics from the past, gun positions and ammunition storage facilities. The main entrance to the park is through the narrow slope that is flanked by two tall fortress-like brick walls. A soldier on sentry in the form of a bluish orb appeared to greet us. 'Halt! Who goes there?!'

The inside of the park is pretty peaceful and the figurines as well as gun positions, although looking a little spooky and freaky at night, does not pose much of a paranormal threat.

The only threatening stuff were probably the mosquitoes that were biting us like buffet supper.

Looking at the date that is engraved onto the wall if this ammunition storage area, it dates back 116 years! Wow this is how old the place is.

The freaky figurines that seem to still be 'working' this late at night....If any one of them started moving, turn his head or give out commands, I am sure we will all scurry for our lives!

Dark and history filled, if there were any paranormal activities, it will be highly likely one of a residual nature and not anything sinister. But today we definitely did not feel anything here to suggest even a residual haunting. As a white elephant gun position, Labrador Park certainly pales in shadow of its counterpart Kent Ridge Park. We decided to debunk this place and move on to our next location!

Finally, we decided to save the best for last as we headed for the Old Tanglin Camp, off Dempsey Road opposite the Botanical Gardens. This place was illustrated in our earlier entry as we made a recce day trip there, the sheer size of the compound and the many experiences of army personnels there made it a dangerous and risky place to explore. But one of the most challenging situation we were up against as we headed there was the fact that Tanglin Camp is a security protected place, armed with video cameras as we had discovered in our day recce. Frequent patrolling by the Singapore Police Force in their dark blue land rover is also a common sight, especially at night. We decided to go there only at about 4 plus in the morning as we thought it would be the safest time, nearer to dawn and people being fast alseep
We quietly pulled up along a road opposite to the slope that led to the old Tanglin Camp, it was the place we had spotted policemen the other time at night. We were sure they remembered our orange car that night as we certainly looked suspicious. The color orange certainly did not help our course. But tonight, as we kept our eyes opened for any police presence, there wasn't any. Perhaps they are really napping! Agent Goatie and Agent Gilson decided to stay in the car while the 3 of us will explore the camp. In case of policemen being spotted, they will tip us off.

All was peaceful and but a little spooky. Our hearts were racing as we climbed up the slope that will lead to a side of the fence surrounding the camp that had a hole big enough for us to go through. From halfway up the slope, we already could see Old Tanglin Camp slowly presenting itself to us. Wow. It was a really exciting prospect!

I sneaked through the hole first, and made my way into the camp. All was very quiet and the place reeked of a certain kind of heaviness. We were a little tensed up as we walked up the first flight of steps that will bring us to the upper level of the camp. It was super dark and our hearts were racing. But so far we did not hear or experience anything yet.

We managed to climb up the flight of steps towards where an area of banana trees were. From that point, we could actually see our mandarin orange car parked opposite the camp. Just when we wanted to carry on our exciting exploration, we heard a vehicle engine sound. We froze to see what emerges from the road below. We saw a police land rover slowly driving past our car.
Immediately, we decided it was time to leave! Go Go Go! Retreat! We have somehow been detected and the police had sent its patrol team out. We scurried back down to the hole, trying to be swift and yet quiet. Thankfully the police did not see us in the camp but probably noticed our orange car instead. Within 2 minutes, we were out of the camp and slowly trying to be calm while walking back to the car. The land rover was parked further down to where our car was. We abandoned our mega torches in the bushes, because the police will definitely see them if we came to the car. We started the car, went to collect the torches, and left the place.
What an adventure! But unfortunately, the conclusion for Old Tanglin Camp reminds a mystery. The police did not help in enabling us to do a proper investigation. And therefore it left us quite disappointed, especially considering the huge potential this place has for paranormal activities.
SPOOK FACTOR: unable to conclude

And with this, it ends GHOST Club's 3rd Expedition. This expedition certainly included some very interesting areas and locations, including the majestic Brunei Hostel and Tanglin Camp itself. Unfortunately some places were ruined by humans (garang guni man, policemen) but overall it had been a fun, challenging and intriguing experience for all of us!

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