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Spooky Singlit Spotlight: Spine-Chilling Hantu Reads For Halloween

With Halloween coming up this Monday, there’s no better time to indulge in some supernatural lore. You can visit a haunted site, or hit up the Hell’s Museum, but if you’d rather stay home this season, then why not curl up with a book about Singapore’s very own ghosts and ghouls?


The Minorities, by Suffian Hakim

Suffian Hakim’s 2018 novel depicts the lives of four housemates: a Malay-Jew attempting to summon his father back as a ghost; a Bangladeshi artist fleeing a construction company; an Chinese illegal immigrant obsessed with Forest Gump; and a talented Indian lab technician escaping her abusive spouse. And as if life weren’t hard enough, a vampiric new occupant has just started squatting in their abode.

Blurb: “Meet the four misfits living in one HDB flat…. When a forlorn pontianak begins haunting them, the four friends find themselves embroiled in a surreal showdown that may just upend the world, or at least Singapore.”

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The Formidable Miss Cassidy, by Meihan Boey

Moving across the world can be overwhelming. On top of adapting to a new culture, you need to try new food, learn a new language, meet new people, and er, acquaint yourself with new spirits. Packed with ghouls but laden with charm, Meihan Boey’s historical novel is a must-read for those of us who enjoy supernatural stories, but who still want to sleep in peace.

Blurb: “In 1890s Singapore, the formidable Miss Leda Cassidy arrives as paid companion to Sarah Jane Bendemeer, whose family suffers under the thrall of Southeast Asia's most terrifying hantu. But there's more to Miss Cassidy than meets the eye, and she's faced down worse in her life than a pontianak.”

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A Mosque in the Jungle: Classic Ghost Stories by Othman Wok, edited by Ng Yi-Sheng

Othman Wok might be best known as a politician, but did you know that he was also a prolific writer of horror fiction? During his time as a writer for Utasan Melayu and Mustika magazine between 1952 and 1956, he penned down dozens of folksy ghost stories, which have since been translated into English.

Blurb: “A Mosque in the Jungle assembles two dozen of the best stories from his three fiction collections in English: Malayan Horror (1991), The Disused Well (1995) and Unseen Occupants (2006). Curated by award-winning poet and fictionist Ng Yi-Sheng, this book provides an entry point into Othman’s fiction, and a window into the work of a 'literary genius'" (Farouk A. Peru, Malay Mail Online).

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The New Singapore Horror Collection, by S.J. Huang

If this book’s contents page – which includes titles like 'The Office', 'Lights', and 'Taken For A Ride' – is anything to go by, then perhaps the average Singaporean has more to fear from their workplace than they do from a haunted house.

Blurb: "Tales of horror have long been an integral part of Singapore’s storytelling culture, and they continue to dominate the imagination in the 21st century. But even as the horror folklore of yesteryear—along with its creatures, the pontianak and the jiangshi—recedes from collective memory, new fears have risen to take its place."

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True Singapore Ghost Stories, by Russell Lee

How could we not include the O.G., which launched in 1989, and now has 26 installments? The latest volume, which was released in 2020, includes Chinese Hell, legendary princess Walinong Sari, and yes – a pontianak.

Blurb: "A family down on their luck takes a holiday in Kuantan. An unexpected series of events turn their world upside down. The Silat Princess, a benevolent being, intervenes to help. But the warrior goddess has epic battles of her own to fight. Must-read stories include Old Habits Die Hard, V For Vigilante, Revenge Of The Pontianak, The Old Man Of Lavender, Heavenly Anthems, Delivery By Hand, Coney Island Escapade."

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