It was 1815hrs in early 1996. The location Choa Chu Kang Muslim Cemetery – Pusara Aman 1. Though I realised that it was quite late to be there, my main priority was to pay respects to my deceased grandparents and close friend. The place was gloomy as I stepped out of Service 172 and walked into the cemetery. The stonemasons have already started packing up, enough for the day’s engraving of tombstones. I reached my grandmother’s deathbed and started reciting some prayers for her while cleaning up the weeds off the burial ground. I left 10 minutes later and walked deeper into the cemetery grounds 5 minutes away to visit my deceased grandfather and close friend. I paid my respects and recited prayers from them. By then it was already 1845hrs. The sun was setting into the horizon. Not a soul around and the dusk makes the eerie glow from the tombstones outstanding in the setting sun rays. Perfect for a photograph! Usually it would take approximately of 15 minutes of brisk walking from there to the 1st Cemetery bus-stop.
I did not reach the mainroad until 2000 hrs – a full 1 hour and 15 minutes of unprepared journey. As I walked down Cemetery Path 12, I was drifted by the sorrowful sight of the tombstones, wondering when my time will come. I came to a a big tombstone engraved Pak Zubir Said – the composer of Majulah Singapura (the country’s national anthem) who passes away in 1987. I did not realise that I had ventured away from my usual path deeper into the cemetery grounds. Soon I saw tombstones everywhere, the path had gradually disappeared from sight. I tried to find my way back but to no avail. There were no streetlamps in the cemetery (Who needs streetlamps anyway?) I had to grope my way around tripping over small drains. My eyes seem to look into the direction of a tombstone. The date 27th November 1983….the birthdate of my younger sibling! I walked on to stumble on 5 minutes away – the tombstone bearing the date of another younger sibling – February 19th 1978. Further on I found June 19th 1977…the birthdate of my girlfriend! WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?
I’M NOT PREPARED FOR ALL THESE! I walked on, trying to find my way out of the various tombstones. I found my way to Muslim Cemetery Path 3. There’s when I saw 10th September 1974 on a tombstone! MY BIRTHDATE! I AM SEEING SOMEONE WHO DIED ON THE DAY I WAS BORN! It was an old tombstone with years of aging engraved stone. Then I saw lights further up. It was the lights from the Cemetery Mosque. I walked briskly to the mosque and performed my prayers. It was already 2000hrs by then. No one was around. I took my ablution and performed my evening prayers. As I looked on I saw the eerie glow form on the tombstones in the background as a WARNING of this UNFORGETTABLE JOURNEY! THERE SEEMED TO BE A HIDDEN MESSAGE SOMEWHERE WITHIN. WHAT WAS IT?………
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