The Hanging Chicken

During my Ns, I was posted to Sispec. After BSLC(basic course), I was posted to ASLC(advanced course) with another company in SISPEC in early 2000s. Luckily the warrant officers and sergeant were more forgiving than in BSLC and while we still had tekan sessions, the frequency was lesser as we were really more into the specifics of training rather than tekan sessions.

Nothing much happened at coy line during ASLC but we had an eventful overseas training in Meilin, Taiwan. The bunks in Meilin camp were ok, one whole platoon cramped into one bunk with double decker beds but nothing really happened in Meilin camp. Everything happened during the 9D8N summary exercise.

Story 1

I forgot it was the fourth or fifth day where we were supposed to do a dawn platoon deliberate attack (my memory not bad, still can remember the terms) on a small knoll (hill). So on the night before, we had a platoon briefing and my PC told us that instead of having a section on his left and another section on his right. Just for this attack, there would not be a section on his left as “there are dead chickens on the left”. Yes, you’ve read it right, “dead chickens”.

We were trainees so we didn’t dare to question much. The next day, we proceeded with our platoon attack as briefed and we realised that on the left, there was actually some trees with dense bushes but didn’t think too much about it. After the attack ended, we set up our platoon HQ on top of the knoll with 3 sections forming a triangle to protect our platoon HQ. In SISPEC, we had 4 sections per platoon so the 4th section was tasked to be in platoon HQ.

As it was a 9D8N summary exercise, the full 9D8N was back to back missions from morning till night and at night, we had to take turn to be on guard in case of surprise attacks (which my OC and instructors were fond of doing). As nightfall approached, we had our shifts detailed and we planned to have 2 trainees standing guard for a 2 hours shift all the way till morning.

There was only one single path up to the knoll and our OC and instructors loved to pay us surprise visits and if we didn’t challenge them with the password of the day, we would be in for tekan sessions. Thus, the location of our 2 sentries/guards was near the path and near the trees so that the sentries could have entire view of the path.

10pm-12am shift started and ended, nothing. My shift was 12am to 2am, also nothing. My buddy and me handed over the shift to the next shift (shift 3) 2am to 4am and proceeded to prepare to turn in for the night. We fell asleep for not long when suddenly my PC and instructors woke everyone up and asked our whole platoon including the 2 sentries to all gather and sleep at platoon HQ. OC and other instructors would not be bothering us that night. We didn’t think too much of it and thought it was welfare for us, and boy, we were wrong.

The next day, the 2 sentries told us what happened. They just took over the shift and suddenly, they heard the trees near them shaking and they thought instructors were playing a prank on them. Sentries had one pair of night vision goggles and both of them took turns to see the direction of the trees which were shaking. There was no wind at night at all so what could be shaking the trees?

That was when the first sentry saw a chicken which was tied upside down to a tree and that one single entire big tree was shaking violently. The rest of the trees were not shaking. He then passed the night vision goggles to his buddy and his buddy saw the same thing. So they went to inform our PC and PC made the decision to pull everyone back and stop sentry duties for the night. It appeared that he knew something.

The following was what he and our instructors told us when we completed our 9D8N exercise. It was common practice for Taiwanese farmers to hang live chickens upside down on tree branches as offerings for local spirits. The farmers told our instructors that everytime they offered the live chickens as offering, they would see the chickens dead the next day, with all blood drained from the chicken and no blood stains on the ground or the tree at all.

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