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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Face’ seen in tamarind sprout

A 10-centimetre tamarind tree that some say bears the likeness of a smiling face has inspired villagers in Phnom Penh
A 10-centimetre tamarind tree that some say bears the likeness of a smiling face has inspired villagers in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district to visit and make offerings to it for good luck. PHA LINA

‘Face’ seen in tamarind sprout

A tiny tamarind tree that sprouted from the ground on Tuesday has lit the superstitions of a growing network of residents in the capital’s Sen Sok district who believe it resembles a human face.

Phann Srey Phen, 31, discovered the tiny 10-centimetre “magic” tree in the corner of a room in her house in Teuk Thla commune.

“When I saw it, I felt it smile and dance at me, waving from side to side, so I called my neighbour to come see it,” Srey Phen said yesterday.

A fortune teller, Srey Phen added, had said a spirit known as “grandmother Dy” was embodying the tree and would bring good luck to her family.

The fortune teller instructed Srey Phen to buy sweets as an offering to the sprout, which would bring luck to the whole family, particularly her ailing son.

“We brought sweets and prayed to her. When the incense finally finished burning, my son got better,” Srey Phen said, noting that since the discovery of the tamarind sprout her addiction to wine has subsided and many villagers have been visiting the tree.

Being the owner of a “magic” tamarind tree in Phnom Penh is proving lucrative.

Srey Phen raked in about $30 during the first day and even more the second.

The tree, she told the Post yesterday, was the real deal.

Villager But Luy Sambour, 66, decided to check it out for herself before buying into the urban legend.

“I believe in the tamarind’s magic because it looks like a human being,” Sambour said, adding that she planned on taking some of the water, strategically placed in front of the sprout, and sprinkling it on her body to ward off illness.

Teuk Thla commune chief Tann Navin visited the tamarind tree but was not won over.

It was, however, everyone’s right to worship whatever they wished, he said.

“As I see it, it doesn’t look like a human being. But our people are always quick to believe.”

Discovery of the magical tamarind sprout is the second mystical story to alight this week with the discovery of a two-year-old boy in Kampong Cham, purported to have healing powers, extensively covered by Cambodian-language media.

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