Headline, June 19 2019/ ''' '' SPIRITS THAILAND SPECIAL '' ''' : RESPECTFULLY


SPECIAL '' ''' : 


SPIRIT HOUSES ARE COMMON THROUGHOUT THAILAND - MYANMAR AND CAMBODIA - although the architecture differs by country.

While not everyone believes, the practice is widely respected and the houses are an ordinary and integrated part of Thailand's cityscape. 

THESE SPIRITS WERE NOT WEARING FACEMASKS. They appeared well fed, untroubled by the hunger pangs that have afflicted some Thais during the lean times of a pandemic.

But despite the spirits being so coddled - or perhaps because of it - the spiritual adviser accompanying them looked nervous.

These spirits, or at least the pair of figurines representing them, were too tubby to fit through the door to their spirit house at the Bason Pitak condominium in Bangkok. For the next hour or so, incense and incantation swirled. A gong pierced the city's steamy air.

Then, holding his breath just a little, Kitsana Phattharasirisap, the spiritual adviser, rose to his tiptoes and nudged the statues through the intricately carved entry to their new abode. Magically, they fit. A diet of prayers had slimmed them down in under 60 minutes, he said.
''If you don't believe,'' Mr. Kitsana said, ''then it won't work.''

Many Thais do believe in such spirits, and Mr. Kitsana, 47, thinks this may help explain why the coronavirus pandemic has so far largely bypassed the country. Thailand, a nation of 70 million people, has recorded only 3,135 cases of the virus, with 58 deaths, despite having had the first confirmed case outside of China.

''Thai people respect ghosts and spirits,'' he said. ''Every day we pray and, you will notice our country has not had many cases of coronavirus. The spirits listen to our prayers.''

In every crowded corner of Bangkok, whether by a tin-roof shack, a glass plated skyscraper or a marble-pillared government hall, there are said to be spirits who need placating. A coronavirus lockdown is no excuse.

The spirits also require spirit houses, which look like dollhouses mounted on pedestals. These range from a few pieces of plywood hammered together to create a miniature bungalow to gilded structures with ornate spires that cost tens of thousands of dollars. The figurines, sized to live inside, typically fit easily in the palm of a hand.

All these spirits expect sustenance, like a bunch of bananas, a cooling coconut or a mound of sticky rice. The offerings are usually placed at the front of the spirit houses in the morning by home owners or building staff members, along with incense and garlands of marigold and jasmine. Ants or rats may raid in the afternoon.

The spirits are not unreasonable, said Nongrak Puwasawadi, a self-employed spirit communicator, who enters a trance and advises people on the spirits druthers. In times of economic crisis, they will scale back their expectations.

''Like now, with the coronavirus, they will be happy with a glass of water for refreshment,'' said Ms. Nongrak 75. ''But if it's a more fortunate time, Kuman Thong would like a remote-controlled car.

Kuman Thong, a young boy with a topknot and pantaloons, is one of the more popular spirits. Today, he is represented in spirit houses and on family altars by plastic dolls with cherubic features.

In an earlier era, his worship used to involve the preservation of stillborn babies with layers of lacquer. The practice of using fetuses in rituals has been outlawed but has still been seen in recent years.

Like many spirits, Kuman Thong favors certain brands, and he is especially fond of strawberry Fanta, according to Ms. Noingrak. ''Red is a nicer color than the brown of Pepsi,'' she said.

In their houses, many spirit figurines come with entourages of servants, dancers and bestiary. There are the elephants and tigers that are native Thailand, but also zebras.

No one seems to know for certain why zebras, although some theorize it has to do with the safety associated with zebra-stripped pedestrian crossings.

The Honor and Serving of respectful wishes for the spirits of Thailand, continues. The World Students Society thanks author, Hannah Beech.

With respectful dedication to the Spirits of Thailand, beautiful people of Thailand, Students, Professors and Teachers, and then the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011:

''' Spirits- Homes '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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