THE PAVILIONS PHUKET EPL Prediction Competition 2018-2019 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.

QSI International School Phuket

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
Phuket boat mechanic dies after getting neck caught in engine

Engineer when down in engineroom on slippers, no anti slip engine room shoes? No 'observer' ...(Read More)


Civil action to be taken against shot Phuket driver’s family

Is there a possibility by thai laws you can sue family members for a wrong doing of another family m...(Read More)


Civil action to be taken against shot Phuket driver’s family

I hope these people sue the family of the idiot wannabe gangster. After seeing this video, are they ...(Read More)


Back to the drawing board for ‘Phoenix’ salvage

"He declined to mention what company was hired". That's because it is more than likely...(Read More)


Back to the drawing board for ‘Phoenix’ salvage

Not much drawing board, haha. Wrote yesterday about expecting failure, deliberately or due to foolis...(Read More)


Kata Rocks ends the use of plastic straws

"Don't you understand the article," yes we do, it's a free add for a resort, I was...(Read More)


Kata Rocks ends the use of plastic straws

"I am sorry hinny,but where did i defend Thailand and his environmental problems in my comments...(Read More)


Back to the drawing board for ‘Phoenix’ salvage

"“I will not reveal or explain more details,” he said," definately hiding something, i...(Read More)


Back to the drawing board for ‘Phoenix’ salvage

Classic!...So the best idea that they all agreed on was to tow it umpteen miles under water...Like a...(Read More)


Phuket police transferred amid extrajudicial killing probe

Excessive force or not is for the law to decide. But why these people are proudly claiming to be inv...(Read More)


 

Melbourne Cup 2018