Yes, apparently, according to my son we have a ghost. Only he failed to mention the fact for the first year. Let me tell you straight that Gweipo, despite being the devil hag, ghost woman, does not believe in ghosts. Or any other spiritual beings like angels etc. for that matter. So we're having our daily dog walk, and R asks me what I believe in, in that general conversational tone that kids have where half of your brain is wondering where this is going to.
I do my usual about not believing in particular religion, having semi-buddhist sympathies, and deflect it back to what he believes in. Ghosts. He declares. NO! I say, are you serious. Yes, he is serious. He refers back to a period a while ago when he had nightly nightmares for weeks on end, each time refusing to tell us what the matter was. Well, it turns out that he'd come face to face with the Ghost of a Japanese soldier in our garden.
So I'm like, well, pull the other one. But I ask how he knows it was a Japanese soldier. To which he disdainfully replies, "well I googled it of course". Touché. I ask for more details, and basically he can tell quite a lot, what he was wearing, what he looked like, that he had a gun thing with a spear on the end (I'm assuming bayonet, but that sounds WW1 to me, but then who am I on this). And he can tell details on how tall he was etc.
So, fast forward about 3 months, and I've given HBO permission to use "our" house to film an episode of Serangoon Road (looks like it could be quite interesting, so watch out for it) and the episode is about a flashback where one of the hero's thinks back to his childhood living in a B&W when he and his mother are taken by Japanese soldiers to Changi concentration camp.
So the soldiers arrive, need to have various bits and pieces adjusted on their uniforms, and I whisper to R, "is that what your ghost looked like?" - we are whispering, as he's only told me, and doesn't want his sister to know, as she's going through a rather nervous stage with her current UOI on conflict at school.
"no," he says, "definitely not, my ghost had a different coloured uniform and had medals and a different coloured hat. "
So at this point, I go and google it (privately of course), and it seems like "his" soldier looked like this whereas the film had one more like this one. I guess, it's the difference between an officer (who more likely would have taken over our house in the war) and a foot soldier.
So where does that leave us? Well, I still don't believe in ghosts, really. I have no idea why or how or what he saw. I don't know how much of it was informed by what he may have known (i.e. it's common knowledge that the houses in our road were occupied in WW2), how much he knew before he googled it vs. after etc. Just one of those mysterious things children have.
By the way, speaking of the occupation, I've just finished reading "Garden of the Evening Mist" which I thoroughly enjoyed. Beautifully written, and yes, it is a history lesson disguised as a novel to a certain extent as certain critics point out, but that doesn't detract at all.