by Rachel Chan
Now a convert, the alumnus of a convent secondary school had dismissed this as a farce.
ONE moment, she was chatting with friends while she was on a swing; the next, she awoke, bewildered, to a crowd gathered for a seance in a temple nearby.
Friends told Miss Delia Sng, then 19, that she had been in a trance for 30 minutes, talking and acting like the deity Marshal Hong Fu, whom the Chwee Hean Keng temple in Zion Road venerated.
Regular temple-goers said that the Shang dynasty war hero picked her to replace the temple's former medium, who had died three months earlier.
At first, the alumnus of a convent secondary school dismissed this as a farce.
But, eight years on, the Taoist convert is the 102-year-old temple's resident medium, or dang kee, channelling the deity weekly to resolve disputes and heal ailments.
It is a far cry from her days as a rebellious teenager.
When Miss Sng had her first encounter with the deity, she resisted being "recruited" because she was sceptical.
But, six months later, she ran into trouble with the law for getting into fights, and struck a deal with the deity: she would turn over a new leaf and become his medium, in return for coming under his aegis.
Miss Sng, now 27, looks nothing like a medium, with cropped bleached hair and colourful tattoos. When she's not at the temple, she helps her mother at a food stall selling fish-head soup.
But those she has helped are so grateful that they treat her like a deity. Once, a diabetes patient fell to the ground, clasped her feet and said that he had seen her in his dreams, with light radiating from her head.
She said: "Knowing that I have a special ability to help people gives me a lot of satisfaction.