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It’s a religious ceremony and not a curse, says couple who set up ‘creepy’ altar under neighbour’s window in Ang Mo Kio

A makeshift ‘altar’ on which two effigies are placed together with a small coffin and joss sticks, bound together by a strip of yellow paper. Beside it are a pair of fruits with iron nails driven through their centres.

Creepy? That’s what one family in Ang Mo Kio thought when they discovered this hair-raising scene outside their window.

The resident, Madam Ho, 60, told Shin Min Daily News that she first discovered the setup below her window along the common corridor that they share with their neighbour. She was puzzled but did not question her neighbour.

It was only after her son-in-law found out about the situation and inquired about it at a temple that she realised the setup might be a “curse”. Ho said she immediately felt uneasy at the thought.

“I moved here for eight years and things have been peaceful with my neighbour. They pray at their doorstep, often accompanied by chanting and ringing of bells. Although I didn’t feel comfortable, but I didn’t say anything. But with this altar, it’s too much.”

Ho said she has called the police and lodged a complaint with the town council. However as it’s a religious matter, the situation has yet to be resolved. 

The situation got widespread attention online after a recent Facebook post made by a member of Ho’s family went viral. In the comments section, many netizens posited that the practice could be a form of “black magic”.

https://www.facebook.com/juncosplay/posts/10159557296519144

When approached by a reporter from the Chinese evening daily, the couple who live in the corner unit responded that the setup is a religious ceremony and not a curse.

The couple, who did not give their names, explained that they had been staying in their flat for 30 years, but after Ho and her family moved in, they kept “finding fault” with them.

“They complained when we placed a shoe rack outside our door, and they installed wooden boards above the rack to put plants and even installed CCTV cameras.”

Ho said they used to greet the couple when they first moved in, but their relations turned sour when the couple placed a cabinet outside their door and bowls to catch rain water, which bred mosquitos.

“I complained to the town council, and I believe because of that they were not happy and we stopped speaking to each other,” said Ho.

The couple explained that as they share a common corridor, the placement of the altar under their window was not intentional.

In retort, they alleged that Ho’s family are also guilty of bizarre acts in recent years, such hanging socks on their fan which blew in the direction of their incense, causing a safety hazard.

They added that when Ho’s husband returns home, he would put his hands together in prayer outside their door, which they believed was done with the intention to provoke.

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Shin Min Daily News spoke to fengshui master and numerologist Tan Khoon Yong for his thoughts on said ‘altar’. Tan stated that coffin and paper figurines are usually used in some ceremonies to invite wealth. He believed that the setup that the couple had placed is not a curse, but that people should still consider the feelings of others in their practices.

“From a fengshui standpoint, even if it’s a curse it wouldn’t be so obvious, but this method of inviting wealth is not often seen,” said Tan.

He added that others may not understand the meaning of such practices, and they may not believe in the person’s intent even when it’s explained.

Fengshui practitioner and folklore expert Xu Yiting also discouraged people from placing such altars in or outside their homes.

“In a home, it’s not advisable to place too many or too large of an altar, what more at the entrance. The unnatural energy may affect the entire home, and even if wealth is obtained it may not be safe,” said Xu.

candicecai@asiaone.com

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