THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks
Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

Hermits, marigolds and prayer

CHIANG RAI: A hermit in tiger-print robes, animal sacrifice by hill-tribes and rounds of Buddhist prayer: the physical efforts to reach a teenage football team trapped in a flooded Thai cave were matched by a surge of Thai spirituality.

cultureSafetyreligion
By AFP

Thursday 5 July 2018, 03:50PM


A hermit stands beside the road leading to the cave, as practitioners of the nation’s complex and diverse belief systems converged on the area.  Photo: Lillian Suwanrumpha / AFP

A hermit stands beside the road leading to the cave, as practitioners of the nation’s complex and diverse belief systems converged on the area. Photo: Lillian Suwanrumpha / AFP

The saga, which on Wednesday (July 4) entered a ninth day, has stirred a deep response in a nation where Buddhist ritual and animist practice is cross-stitched into daily life.

On Monday (July 2), as divers edged through thick mud and water closer to a raised area where the stricken team were found alive, several colourfully-dressed ethnic minority Lisu tribespeople arrived near the entrance to the cave.

They chanted and sacrificed chickens and pigs in an offering to the river and forest spirits, imploring the safe return of the 12 boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach.

“We’re asking forgiveness for things we’ve done wrong, asking them (the spirits) to release the children,” said Anucha Poorirucha, 44, Lisu village leader from neighbouring province of Pai.

Later a hermit – known in Thai as "reusee" – was seen wrapped in a tiger print cloth standing motionless and silent on a nearby road, as practitioners of the nation’s complex and diverse belief systems converge on the cave.

Offerings have been made at homes, schools and temples across the country, while the Supreme Patriarch – the head of Buddhist clergy – urged Thailand to unite in prayer for the safe return of the team.

The fate of the young boys drew gospel-singing Christians to the teeming rescue site, while Muslims across the Buddhist-majority country were asked to dedicate Friday prayers to the missing footballers.

The “Tham Laung Khun Nam Nang Non” cave that holds the team captive, comes with its own mythology.

In a region where mountains and caves all possess spirits in need of appeasing, it is better known as the “sleeping woman” mountain.

EPL Prediction Competition 2018-2019

It is a name derived from the topography of the mountainside, which resembles the profile of a pregnant woman lying down.

Local lore runs that the cave is governed by the spirit of a pregnant princess, who killed herself with a hair pin after her commoner partner was executed, her blood forming the origins of the cave’s waters.

A shrine at the cave entrance now overflows with incense, candles and marigolds.

Belief has billowed out onto social media in Thailand, where the spiritual blends seamlessly with modernity – with shopping malls and new condos all decorated with elaborate spirit houses.

“Please, forest spirits, please protect the children,” one user wrote on Facebook, which has become a go-to source of information and inspiration during the desperate search.

Memes showing the team being led out of the darkness, arms aloft, pinballed around social media, with a twitter hashtag translated as “the strangers we want to see most” trending.

Musicians have also taken up the cause.

“We do not know who you are, what you look like, but where are you... are you cold or hungry?” famous Thai singer Kong Huayrai sings in a ballad penned for the team after they were trapped.

“Can the wind reach you to tell you there are people here waiting for you?”

 

 

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Safety measures ordered to reduce accidents at Chalong-Kata roadworks

Huh, 3months work for 1.5 km road resurfacing? This is a joke, yes? Can't be true. 1.5 km: 1 ...(Read More)


Police search for man missing at Phuket reservoir

... Thousands? Really? And all for free? Wow! My point is, taking care of water quality. Not about ...(Read More)


Police search for man missing at Phuket reservoir

"It should be a no-go area" Thousands of people like to visit those areas like Bang Wad Da...(Read More)


Phuket Opinion: A testament to life

Sure he was a good bloke but most readers wouldn't have known him, one story about his passing i...(Read More)


Police search for man missing at Phuket reservoir

This water reservoir is for housing water supply, right? Are private people allowed to be there, d...(Read More)


Six healthy movements to loosen your spine

OMG. Your neck in movement 2 looks terrible. Never do it like that! You should keep your neck in lin...(Read More)


Government readies handout of free SIM cards for the poor

The whole 'free internet exercise' confirm in a way that the government expects that the poo...(Read More)


New tax law to see online, bank transfers to be monitored

.... 'My' guests are 'non paying friends'. Arriving Phuket airport they hand over ...(Read More)


Thailand worst in Asean for road deaths

Anyone who has driven on Thai roads already knows this. Driving standards are abysmal, common sense ...(Read More)