Friday, June 20, 2008


Not going to talk much about politics or the economy. Depressing stuff. So how about a little ghost story…


I have been working in this industry for a long time. I have heard a lot of stories about strange happenings related to this industry. Some believe that this is so because spirits stay in isolated places like trees, abandoned houses etc and when these types of places are cleared for development, there’s when we encounter those from the other side. Whether this theory is true or not, I do not know, but I admit that I personally have experienced some things that is hard to explain.

Anyway, a client dropped by last night. After the usual moaning about the state of the construction industry, he related to me, the strange encounters he had in the site that he is working in.

He is currently working, renovating an old and large colonial bungalow near the border of Selangor and Negeri Sembilan. That place must have been abandoned for a long time as the garden was overgrown with weed the height of a man. Most of the paint on the structure has peeled off and what remained has turned mildew yellow. The wooden framing for doors and windows have long gone missing except for small decayed portions of the frame.

The present owners wanted to spruce up the place so that they can attempt to sell it. He managed to secured this project which was basically to fix that place up.

He stationed 3 of his Indonesians workers there including an old portable cabin placed within the compound. The cabin was intended for the workers to stay in and also to be used as a mini office.

However, two days after that, he received the desperate call from his workers’ that they do not want to work anymore. Fuming, he rushed down there from his Cheras office/house. His workers refused to say anything except that they do not want to stay there. As a compromise, he booked a room in a budget hotel at the nearest small town, a couple of km away. They were willing to work there during day time provided they leave by 6pm.

A few days after that, after dinner one night, he realized he left some drawings at the cabin which he needed for a meeting. He drove down there, and got there just before midnight. As he was exhausted he decided to spend the night there at the cabin.

He woke up in the middle of the night as he thought he heard some sound. However, after listening for a while and not hearing anything he decided to go back to sleep. Just as he was about to doze off, he again heard something, this time he barely but was sure he heard children crying. Puzzled he went out to check but the crying stopped and everything seemed normal. He finally managed to force himself to fall asleep.

Early the next morning, he met up with his workers to instruct them what to do that day. Just before leaving, he decided to climb up the scaffolding to the platform on the second floor to inspect on the work done. After he was on the platform, he noticed a few sets of footprint on the platform. Nothing really special about it except for 2 things. It was made by someone who was bare footed and it was about half the size of an adult foot print!

He quickly erased those foot prints thinking there must be some explanation. No point scaring his already jittery workers and jobs are so hard to come by come by.

On his way out, he stopped by a small roadside stall, at the “main” road. The stall was run by an old Malay lady in her sixties or seventies. As she brought over his drink she asked whether he is working at that old place. He briefly told her that he is renovating that place. The old lady nodded and said, “Jaga. Tempat kotor” (Be careful. Place is dirty). Further attempts to obtain further information was met with a smile and the shake of the head. Finally, when finally paying his bill he attempted one last question asking what the place was used for originally. With a sigh she sat down and told him that a long time ago, when she was just a little girl, that building was used as an orphanage. One night it caught fire…and most of the children were killed.

Coincidence or what? I don’t really know.

Steel Connection Design

I have written a little previously on bolt shear. I was going to was planning to write about plate bearing. However, on second thoughts, I think most of us had a tough and worrying week. So I won’t bore anyone with the technical stuff. I will continue with this the next time.

So have a good weekend and happy Engineering.

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