Friday the 13th

I have to admit that nothing untoward has ever happened to me on Friday the 13th. (Now I am challenging fate. Have to watch out the next time the 13th day of the month falls on a Friday.) It’s interesting that no matter where in the world I am, everyone talks about Friday the 13th. The superstition associated with Friday the 13th is truly an international phenomenon. There was a news piece on TV, where the head of some national traffic office gave a statement that the statistics show no increase in the number of accidents on Friday the 13th.

Are you superstitious? Do you believe in ghosts? Does a shiver run down your back when you think about Friday the 13th? I used to be very superstitious, probably influenced by my mother. Something bad is going to happen, if a black cat crossed my path. Once a huge butterfly flew into our apartment on the 16th floor and my mother was convinced that it was actually the spirit of some dead person (she hoped it was her dad) coming to visit us. If a dog howled in the dark, it was because it saw a ghost. Imagine my fear as a child vacationing with family friends in Malaysia in a rubber plantation, when the dogs started howling at night and I couldn’t even sleep with the lights on because the generator was turned off after 10pm! I was sure I smelled the jasmine perfume (don’t ask me why but its always jasmine) of a “hantu” (Ghost in Malay).

Ever since I live in Germany I am no longer superstitious at all. I have not had a ghost encounter and do not think of ghosts when I hear a dog howl at night. Initially I thought it was the change in societal environment that had changed my perception. However last year we spent 6 months in various S.E. Asian countries and my prior thoughts didn’t come back to haunt me. I guess I have simply outgrown my superstitions.

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