Carrying on with Puteri Kamariah’s spooky thread, where she narrates with the skills of a penglipur lara to an audience with spookier stories to tell, I would like to tell of my own story of ‘gangguan’, which coincidentally happened only yesterday.
It was to be an early morning call and after subuh, I braved the cold autumn wind to a studio I remember I had the pleasure of working in before. I remember very clearly, it was situated near the canal and quite close to a Muslim cemetery. These days, I take mental note of things like this.
After introducing myself to people that I had to work with, I settled down to prepare myself physically and mentally to do the task assigned by an agent.
In spite of the temperature dipping very fast outside, the small studio I was in was quite warm and I began to perspire. It was not like the usual studios that I am accustomed to – but good enough to do the job at hand.
Flipping through the scripts, I felt a strange feeling coming from the pit of my stomach, one that would engulf my whole being with an intensity that made me perspire even more. But time was ticking and time is money – for the agent and for the owner of the studio, who I could see from the glass panel dividing us.
This feeling would come and go. But I persevered as a professional should and would, leaping over the most difficult words and terms effortlessly, defying even those that would challenge my tongue into doing a trip that I am most notoriously known for….spoonerism. But every fifteen minutes or so, I could feel the strange feeling again. And most times, it would make its presence heard.
Beads of sweat started to appear on my forehead and I signalled to the studio manager to give me a five, which he kindly did. We were to do this several times as the ‘gangguan’ became very frequent.
“Don’t worry,” said the studio manager, eyeing the clock and calculating mentally the hours and pounds that he would get from the delay and extended studio time.
“Take your time,” he added, sounding somewhat eerily, like an accomplice in a bad horror movie.
Even after the fresh cup of tea that he made me, I still felt uncomfortable, but I soldiered on, pages after pages, and people who listened to this recording, would not have suspected anything.
During one of the breaks, the agent burst through the door and I intimated to her what I was experiencing. She looked at me sympathetically and whispered, “Don’t worry. The French voice over artiste in the next studio is experiencing the same thing.”
So, it wasn’t just me. But it still didn’t make me feel any better.
When the session was over, the studio manager and I sat down and checked the recording before I scooted off to another assignment.
And lo and behold, the strange feeling that had been disturbing me throughout the three-hour session was clear for all to hear.
“Yes, we get this a lot especially during early morning recording sessions. People coming in without or with little breakfast. The stomach growls and rumbles. So, there is nothing to worry about. It is quite natural”.
Kak Teh's strange encounters: