Everyone has a horror story at work. This one time in the office, I split my pants right down the middle of the inseam and spent the rest of the day walking around looking like the baby’s head was crowning. It was an alarming day for everyone in the neighbourhood.
Some people, however, have literal horror stories at work, starring things that go bump in the night. Or, in the case of Justin Ang – host of Muttons In The Morning along with longtime radio partner Vernon A, over at Class 95 – go shuffling in the morning.
LISTEN: House Party For 2: I got Class 95’s Justin Ang drunk and almost beaten up at Zouk when he was 18
“I don’t have that many stories because I’ve been generally lucky, in that sense. But our good friend Vernon can see. He’s got ‘the eye’,” said Justin, during our House Party For 2 conversation – a CNA Lifestyle podcast recorded in the profoundly professional company of my cats while snacking on char siew and roast pork.
I’ve never had a colleague who could point out the paranormal, I thought to myself, but I did once work with someone who let me use his 35-per-cent discount privileges at Mr Porter. That was pretty useful.
“There was one morning, we were walking from the carpark to the studio. We were just walking, taking our time, as usual," said Justin, recounting an incident that happened about 13 or 14 years ago. "And he was like, ‘Walk faster, walk faster,’"
“I was like, ‘Why?’
‘Walk faster, walk faster.’”
The two bottle blond buddies picked up the pace and made it into the elevator. Vernon stayed quiet the entire ride up. When the door finally, ‘ding-ed’ open, Vernon continued to rush Justin away to the radio studio.
“‘Quick, walk faster, walk faster.’”
When they finally made it inside, Justin had to ask what on earth was going on. Vernon then casually replied: “Ah… There was someone behind us. But I didn’t want to tell you until we got to the studio.”
“I was like, ‘What?! What do you mean there was someone behind us?!’” said Justin. “Apparently, there was someone walking behind us the whole time until we got into the studio.”
But why didn’t the “someone” follow them into the studio? “I don’t know,” said Justin, laughing at the spooky memory. “Maybe this spirit respected the [on-air sign].”
Maybe the visitor didn’t have the security ID card to beep in, I offered. Ghostly plans foiled yet again by the good people at Mediacorp’s security counter.
That was the closest he’s come to experiencing the creepy, said Justin. But Vernon with “the eye” hasn’t been so fortunate.
“The scariest story that he ever told me was before I even knew him. He was in the basement studios – they were the scariest. One day, he was just putting on his headphones and the music was playing. He was singing aloud to Level 42 or something. And then he heard [in a soft voice], ‘Hello…’”
It was not Adele checking in from the outside.
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According to Justin, Vernon’s first thought was that someone was playing a prank on him using the talkback button from a connecting studio. So he got up and investigated, just like those doomed characters do in horror movies when they say out loud: “Hello? Is anybody there? This isn’t funny. My boyfriend’s in a football team and he’ll be back any minute now!” You know, just before the cat jumps out.
Of course, Vernon discovered no one was around. And went back to work like the Employee of the Month that he is.
“At that time, they had to arrange their own CDs – this was way back,” said Justin. “He had arranged his CDs [in a stack] for the next hour. He turned around, turned on the mic, spoke. He turned back – and all the CDs were back on the shelf.”
Chills ran up my spine as Justin told the story. I might have spilled a little prosecco on my couch.
“And so he was like, ‘I’m done for the day’, took off his headphones and walked out of the building,” said Justin. “Like, with an hour of his shift to go!”
While Justin has been spared the gifts of his friend Vernon, there is something else that made his blood run cold at the old Caldecott campus we both spent many years in: Automatic toilet lights that turn off on their own.
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“When you do your thing, you don’t move – and the lights would go off! And it’s at night, and you’re on the toilet level alone,” he said, laughing. “You’re just waving your arms like an idiot while your poo is coming out, just to get the light to come on!”
If, dear reader, you can relate to the terror that accompanies long toilet breaks in automated lighting, Justin’s colleague has hacked the system.
“She actually took her [employee security] pass and she threw it at the light sensor! She was so panicked, she didn’t know what to do,” said Justin, laughing. “And it worked! The light came back on!”
Listen to the full House Party For 2 podcast to find out how yours truly was personally involved in making Justin’s 18th birthday at Zouk a night(mare) to remember, and how he “gave” Vernon diabetes.
New episodes of House Party For 2 are published every Sunday at cna.asia/podcasts. This podcast was recorded in mid-February. Both House Party For 2 host and guest are now hibernating safely in their respective homes.