Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodian farmers deploy scarecrows to ward off virus



Cambodian farmers deploy scarecrows to ward off virus

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A woman sets up a scarecrow in front of her home in Cambodia’s Kampong Cham province. AFP

Cambodian farmers deploy scarecrows to ward off virus

Armed with a stick, a floral-shirted scarecrow with a plastic pot for a head stands guard in front of a rural Cambodian home – a sentry erected by superstitious farmers to ward off the coronavirus.

Known as “Ting Mong” in Khmer, the creatively rendered scarecrows often pop up in villages that have been hard-hit by infectious diseases like dengue or water-borne diarrhoea.

This time, “I’ve set up the Ting Mong to prevent the coronavirus from threatening my family,” says farmer Sok Chany, 45.

She has two posted in front of her wooden stilt home in Kampong Cham province, about 110km northeast of the capital Phnom Penh.

The other is dressed in camo-green and has a stick propped like a rifle across its hay-stuffed chest.

“It is our ancient superstition to set up Ting Mongs when there are dangerous diseases or to avert evil,” she tells AFP.

The majority-Buddhist kingdom has a strong strain of animism incorporated into the daily lives and rituals of Cambodians, with many believing that spirits are tied to places, animals and things.

The Ting Mongs are meant to ward off evil spirits wishing to bring harm on an unsuspecting family by spreading disease.

In Sok Chany’s Trapeang Sla village, no chances are taken – an effigy is tied to the gate of nearly every home, though constructed with varying degrees of effort.

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

Farmer Ton Pheang stuffs old clothing up the arm of his Ting Mong, which is dressed in a bright pink shirt and has a helmet for its head.

“This is my second one – the first one broke,” the 55-year-old says, adding that his scarecrow has been standing guard under sun and rain since April when the outbreak started spreading rapidly across Southeast Asia.

“We’ve been fine since the outbreak,” Ton Pheag tells AFP. “I’ll continue to leave it up as long as Covid still exists.”

Cambodia appears to escaped the brunt of the pandemic, registering just 283 infections and no deaths.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Hun Sen gets 4th Covid shot, urges compatriots to follow

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany on January 14 received their fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine and called on compatriots to follow suit as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in the community. This marks the launch of Cambodia's fourth-dose vaccination campaign,

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer

  • Singapore backs Cambodia's efforts on Myanmar

    Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong supports Cambodia in its efforts to seek a solution to the ongoing Myanmar crisis as the chair of ASEAN. Lee expressed his support during a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen via videoconference on January 14, with the talks focused