Built about 150 years ago, MacRitchie reservoir is the oldest reservoir in Singapore. Before it was built, the area was a very scenic hill. And who can guess that there is an eerie tomb where most people shun away nowadays was once a romantic alcove? It was a protruding lookout point in the middle of a hiking track along the slope of a hill. From there the view was spectacular as it over looked a lush hilly landscape like a flowery meadow over the valley. Birds and wild monkeys over the hills sang in orchestra and the nature sounds filled the air.
The above mentioned romantic alcove was a meeting place for Fann and Lok (both are not real names). The alcove witnessed the most drastic emotions of mankind, put up by this couple, through life and death, joy, romance, betrayal, grief and tragedy.
The story happened near the end of 18th century. Fann was a sole daughter of a rich and famous family who run an import trading business with the British. Fann grew up in Britain and always loved nature. Her grew-up environment shaped her to be a bold and open-minded person. That was somewhat opposite to her father that was very traditional and rigorous – a typical Chinese business man who calculates gain and loss more than anything else. Since Fann was young, her family had arranged a marriage for her, that was common in the old days, with a son of a tycoon called Tai. Obviously building a marriage with a tycoon’s son would benefit lifting Fann’s family business to a new height.
However, Fann never wanted to submit to her fate. Being a girl of 20 years ago, she was autonomous enough to manage her own life. She left home from time to time and she would like to hang out at the scenic walks in MacRitchie reservoir (that wasn’t a reservoir in those days). That was a perfect place for some quiet moments, away from troubles. It became Fann’s favourite sanctuary whenever she felt depressed.
Fann met her Mr. right at the reservoir one day. That was Lok. We didn’t know much about Lok, not even our informant. We were told that Lok was a charismatic communist, a leader of some political group before the war who regularly organized gatherings near MacRitchie reservoir area. It is their destiny that they bumped, they clicked and fell in love though they came from quite a different background.
Their dating at MacRitchie reservoir lasted for some period of time. This couple always met there, fell in love and they vow to get married there with the witness of heaven and earth (the sky and the valley in MacRitchie reservoir). They courted each other more and more often, until one day Fann’s family got wind about this. As expected, Fann’s father was very angry about this affair because her daughter was disobeying him, let alone the fact that Lok was a communist clan leader that was a natural enemy to a Pro-British business man. Fann’s father and Tai’s father plotted to do something patching up the situation. The arranged marriage had to proceed in only few months time anyway. They wouldn’t allow Lok to interrupt about it.
On one fateful evening, as usual, Fann was expecting to meet Lok at their favorite spot in MacRitchie reservoir. Instead of Lok, his fellow came and delivered her a letter. Nobody knows what was the content of the letter and who had actually written it. However, on the next morning, Fann’s body was found dead at the bottom of the valley, just right under the lookout point where Fann always hanged out. Again, nobody knows whether she jumped down, pushed down or fell down by accident.
After Fann’s death, the wedding arranged between the two families of course had to be cancelled. Hence, Fann’s family business, without the help of tycoon Tai, plunged down very soon and eventually got bankrupt.
But still, the tycoon’s son, Tai loves Fann very much. That was what the public could have seen about. He spent a lot of money and took Fann to be buried at the lookout point with a splendid tomb. The grand tomb had a very superb facing, overseeing the hills across the valley. Many years later, however, MacRitchie reservoir was developed into a water catchments area, and the valley turned into a water reservoir as it is of today. Water filled up the valley, to the level of the tomb, flooding even the lower part of it. This is how the name water tomb came about.
How do I know about this story? I know a friend who was a relative to Tai. He also said that Tai’s family had done something to intervene into Fann’s relationship with Lok, but not with any intent to have her killed.
Most people would think that Tai so loved Fann (although it was one way) that he had been so nice to build her a posh tomb. The truth was otherwise.
Lok was actually murdered in the same year after Fann died, and Fann’s body was found to be pregnant by the doctors in hospital. People know that Lok was killed too in a riot but it was actually a plot arranged in purpose. Here is the most intriguing thing. Lok’s body was buried in Bukit Brown cemetery (aka Kopi Hill cemetery). That was the idea by his dialect clan leader who in turn was controlled by Tai’s family. And Fann’s body was offered to be buried at the lookout point that happened to be on the opposite site of the hill.
In other words, Fann and Lok were buried between and separate by a hill, back-to-back. So they never face each other. All these were arranged by Tai! You can see how jealousy turned into hatred, and into revenge.
Since then, Fann’s grave was nicked as water tomb. Even more frightening, people believe that is very haunted. Sightings of a female apparition emerging from water are common at night. Some call it Shui Gui (water ghost).
Nowadays the decedents of Tai’s family realized what their grandfather had done is tremendously wrong. They feel guilty about it, especially after they heard that the Shui Gui which is believed to be Fann’s spirit was haunting the reservoir. They used to invite monks to perform rituals trying to appease the soul but that doesn’t help. Till now, Tai’s family has been funding a contractor to come and sweep the tomb regularly. Every year they will bring offerings by themselves to the tomb during festivals like Ching Ming and July Hungry Ghost Month.
This is a fair world, when planting a good deed, you will receive a good reward. Likewise a crime will invite mishap. God knows what they have done. Tai’s family seems to be cursed. The grandfather and the father were both drown to death, though not in MacRitchie reservoir. It wasn’t long ago. The father at his late age had developed some mental problem. He was kept at home all the time. But for some unknown reason, one day he sneaked away alone, and found drown in a sewage drain mysteriously. It was classified as an unnatural death by the police, and was reported on news several years ago.
Share with you guys a secret. If you want to know whether Fann’s spirit is around, just throw a coconut into the water. If it floats, that means no spirit. If it sinks, that shows Fann’s spirit is around!
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