Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - A booming belt business

A booming belt business

A booming belt business

THE last twelve months has seen a boom in business for

Cambodian mystic and traditional healer Tep Pornan.

Three flights up the dark and impossibly narrow stairwell

of a tenement in the back blocks of the capital, the

59-year-old stays busy manufacturing belts which he

claims will protect the wearers from the evil intent of

wicked men.

"Many people come seeking protection now because

kidnapping and robbery is so common. So many come that it

is difficult to meet their demands," he said.

Lok Kru Pornan learned his skills from monks he met in

the forests of northern Cambodia while gathering food

during the famine which followed the ousting of the Khmer

Rouge by Vietnamese forces in 1979.

He stayed with the monks for several years and was taught

the 11th century mystic principles which are part and

parcel of the unique form of Buddhism practised in

Cambodia.

The technique involves teaching the basic principles of

non-violence and good intention, followed by ritual

bathing and the wearing of a t'seye thata a belt worn

under the shirt.

The t'seye thata can take many forms in this case it

consists of a

score or so of small squares of lead on which prayers and

incantations are etched in the ancient Pali script.

The sheets are then rolled into narrow tubes about the

diameter of a pencil before being inserted into a hollow

cotton chord which is then tied around the waist.

"The person wearing it can drink and smoke and can

sleep with women if the woman agrees. But if the wearer

commits bad deeds rape or murder or stealing the

protective power will be lost," Lok Pornan said.

"Several of my students have trodden on land mines,

but were not hurt.

"Others have been killed, but that is because they

did not behave well which is needed to ensure the

protection remains."

As he spoke a group of customers gathered in the dark,

smoke- filled workshop, among them 47- year-old Eng

Sereyvuthy who fled Cambodia for France in 1980 before

returning to his native land in 1993.

"Since returning I have been robbed many times.

"People have tried to kill me, so I promised the

Buddha to do good and now seek his protection," he

said.

"But I know I must have discipline. If I am weak and

do bad things, the good spirits will abandon me," he

said.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • Nestle’s debut may spur dairy market

    Leading confectionery manufacturer Nestle plans to invest in Cambodia by setting up an operation in the near future, a move majorly hailed by local dairy farmers as a means of boosting the fresh milk market in the Kingdom. During a visit by a delegation led

  • ACLEDA, WU to enable global money transfers

    Cambodia's largest commercial bank by total assets ACLEDA Bank Plc and global money transfer firm Western Union (WU) have partnered to offer customers cross-border money transfers to 200 countries via “ACLEDA mobile” app. In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA, said the June 22 agreement