Cambodian villagers trust magic scarecrows to ward off coronavirus

By Chantha Lach DECHO, Cambodia (Reuters) - Cambodian villager Ek Chan has avoided the novel coronavirus so far without masks or social distancing but rather the scarecrows she has made to keep the deadly virus at bay. Ek Chan's two scarecrows, known locally as 'Ting Mong', guard the gate of her house in Kandal province near the capital Phnom Penh, giving her peace of mind.

Reuters November 27, 2020 00:13:09 IST
Cambodian villagers trust magic scarecrows to ward off coronavirus

Cambodian villagers trust magic scarecrows to ward off coronavirus

By Chantha Lach

DECHO, Cambodia (Reuters) - Cambodian villager Ek Chan has avoided the novel coronavirus so far without masks or social distancing but rather the scarecrows she has made to keep the deadly virus at bay.

Ek Chan's two scarecrows, known locally as "Ting Mong", guard the gate of her house in Kandal province near the capital Phnom Penh, giving her peace of mind.

The practice has existed for more than a century in some Cambodian villages, where residents like 64-year-old Ek Chan trust their ability to fend off evil spirits and disease.

"Since I made these Ting Mongs, they helped to scare away any virus including the coronavirus and stop it spreading to my family," said Ek Chan, who has a male and a female scarecrow.

"I myself really believe in the magic of the scarecrows and I don't worry about catching the virus at all."

Cambodia is among the countries least affected by the coronavirus, with just 307 cases and no deaths reported, having contained minor outbreaks in March, July and August.

But many Cambodians are still wary of getting infected, with fears heightened earlier this month when Hungary's foreign minister visited the country and later tested positive.

That prompted the testing and isolation of hundreds of people potentially exposed, including Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, and temporary bans on gatherings.

The scarecrows are easy to make, typically comprised of rice hay, bamboo or wooden sticks and dressed in old clothes.

Some are even given motorcycle helmets and armed by their owners with sticks and knives.

Ek Chan said she knows little of the science of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and though she believes in the power of her scarecrows, she hopes a free vaccine will be available soon.

"That will kill this virus from our country," she added.

(Reporting by Chantha Lach; Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.