Cambodian farmers deploy scarecrows to ward off virus


Members of a Cambodian family prepare a scarecrow in front of their house (AFP)

Kampong Cham, Cambodia:

Armed with a stick, a flowery-shirted scarecrow with a plastic pot for its head stands guard outside a rural Cambodian house – a sentry erected by superstitious farmers to ward off the coronavirus.

Known as “Ting Mong” in Khmer, the creatively rendered scarecrows often appear in villages that have been hit hard by infectious diseases like dengue fever or waterborne diarrhea.

This time, “I put the Ting Mong in place to prevent the coronavirus from threatening my family,” says farmer Sok Chany, 45.

She has two stationed in front of her wooden stilt house in Kampong Cham province, about 110 kilometers (70 miles) northeast of the capital Phnom Penh.

The other is dressed in green camouflage and has a stick propped up like a gun to his chest stuffed with hay.

“It is our old superstition to create Ting Mongs when there is dangerous disease or to avoid evil,” she told AFP.

The predominantly Buddhist kingdom has a strong tension of animism incorporated into the daily life and rituals of Cambodians, with many believing that spirits are linked to places, animals and things.

The Ting Mongs are meant to ward off evil spirits who wish to harm an unsuspecting family by spreading disease.

In Sok Chany’s Trapeang Sla village, no chance is taken – an effigy is attached to the door of almost every house, although it was built with varying degrees of effort.

Some are elaborately dressed in military uniforms or floral pajamas, while others simply have stuffed bags with sunglasses perched on them for a head.

Farmer Ton Pheang tucks old clothes over the arm of his Ting Mong, who is dressed in a hot pink shirt and wears a helmet for his head.

“This is my second – the first has broken out,” the 55-year-old said, adding that his scarecrow had been standing guard in the sun and rain since April, when the epidemic began to spread rapidly in Asia. from the South East.

“We are doing well since the epidemic,” Ton Pheag told AFP. “I will continue to leave it in place as long as Covid still exists.

Cambodia appears to have escaped the height of the pandemic, registering just 283 infections and no deaths – though skeptics say the low toll could be due to a lack of testing.

(This story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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