Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Gods go hungry



Gods go hungry

Gods go hungry

Dear Editor,

A couple of nights ago, I had a nightmare that my house was on fire and

everything was burned to ashes. I woke up in the middle of the night

and told my wife my strange dream.

Deemed a bad omen for the family, my wife spontaneously warned me not

to forget to light three incense sticks and throw away a handful of

rice in the morning. As believed by many Cambodians, people think that

this practice will get rid of bad luck after a nightmare.

With a lackadaisical belief in superstitions, I told my wife that I was

not going to throw away more rice just because of a nightmare anymore.

“What if we all have nightmares everyday, how much expensive rice will be wasted?” I asked.

In fact, other Cambodians have also experienced a similar dilemma as to

how much food they should offer to appease the ghosts or do merit

making to please the gods.

In Cambodia, people observe several festivals and ceremonies such as

the Khmer New Year, Bon Phchum Ben for spirits of the dead,

merit-making Kathin processions, fundraising Bon Phkar, and numerous

other traditional and religious activities throughout the year.

During these occasions, the people would offer money and meals to the

monks and offer food to the spirits so that the dead can be born in a

happy world and the living can be blessed with happiness and prosperity

in return.

However, the rising food price has greatly affected these traditional and religious practices.

Monks at various monasteries throughout the country have also received

less food offered by followers who can not afford to buy as much good

food they used to do before.

During the recent grave raising ceremony, many Cambodians of Chinese

ancestry also reduced the size of roast pigs and the number of boiled

chickens they offered to the spirits due to the rising food price.

Because of the high food costs, many people have cut short their old practices or abandoned some of them altogether.

In the case of my nightmare, I decided to revise old people’s advice to young children in dealing with an unpleasant dream.

They told us to make a plea when we were dropping the calling card by

saying: “Oh s**t, please take away my nightmare and bad luck with you!”

Of course, there was no answer. But I would take it as a yes with a nod in response.

Moeun Chhean Nariddh

Phnom Penh

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • Hun Sen: Lakes filled in for national developments

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced continued operations to fill some lakes in Phnom Penh to create land for developments, though he is against the unrelated practice of damming rivers or blocking waterways. Speaking at the inauguration of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport

  • Koh Preus upgrades 70% complete

    Initial construction of a nearly $30 million tourism infrastructure project on Preah Sihanouk province’s Koh Preus Island is “about 70 per cent complete”, according to an official with the developer. Heng Thou, construction site manager of Angela Real Estate Co Ltd (ARE), told The Post that

  • Local media loses a giant, and The Post a great friend

    Cheang Sokha, a gifted and streetwise reporter who rose to the highest ranks of Cambodian media and was beloved for his sharp intelligence, world-class humour and endless generosity, died on Friday in his hometown of Phnom Penh. He was 42. His wife, Sok Sophorn, said he